Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Charles Ives Fair Use?

Dear Rich: Here's a question for you regarding published music. Charles Ives Variation on America is a piece of music arranged for band and protected through copyright with the Theodore Presser company. I would like to take 11 measures of the Trumpet 1 part to post in a small Facebook group (private) of trumpet players that will be discussing this excerpt to prepare for future auditions and performances. Do you believe that for this educational purpose, I can post this small excerpt and not have to worry about copyright? Reproducing short excerpts of a work for purposes of commentary, criticism, scholarship, or research is often considered a fair use. So, it's possible you will prevail in a legal dispute. But only courts can determine fair use standards and we assume you don't want to get involved in a fair use battle (just as we assume you don't want to be the recipient of a DMCA takedown notice at Facebook).
Your previous contact with the publisher. We note that you've contacted the music publisher and asked for permission -- a good first step according to the Copyright Office. On the other hand, that puts the publisher on notice of your intended use. Because the response from the publisher was so reasonable (the proposed permission fee was reduced to a token payment), we think it's worth accepting the publisher's offer ... even if its just to put some spare change into the Charles Ives tip jar.