Woke up today and went down a Google rabbit hole this morning (don’t ask what I came across because my brain literally hurts at how much back and forth I was doing while not really getting anywhere) and somehow stumbled upon music copyright laws and the differences between edits, remixes, bootlegs, etc.
I figured I should put together my findings so I don’t feel as bad for all the time that disappeared since I woke up 5 hours ago:
- A remix is only considered legal if you buy a copy of the song AND also get permission from the copyright holders.
- Generally, remixes are released from the original artist and NOT the remixers
- Remixes can be sold and you can get paid for them
- Interestingly enough, even if you have permission to create a remix from the copyright holders, you aren’t legally allowed to play the remix in public, online, or on the radio without performance rights
- Luckily, performance royalties generally falls on the club owner or venue and not the DJ
- Another thing I found interesting is that there is more freedom when it comes to live DJing at a show vs. creating in the studio
- DJing is considered a ‘non-fixed medium of expression’ which basically means that a live set is not directly reproducible and distributable, which therefore grants more flexibility to the DJ to be creative with copyright material during a live set
- However, if that live set was released online (therefore, no longer a ‘non-fixed medium’), it can still potentially breach copyright laws
- A bootleg, or unofficial remix, is when you have not obtained the rights to the song from the copyright holders. Bootlegs are illegal.
- Even if you create a bootleg for yourself with no intention of financial gain and you’re the only person who hears it, it’s technically still illegal
- If you try to make money off a bootleg, you can get sued (duh)
- Edits are changes made to a song that will not be played
- ie: Removing a long intro or outro for a song for the radio
- Generally, edits are very minor
- VIP is a remix done by the song’s original artist, usually taken in a dramatically different direction
- It stands for Variation In Production (I totally thought it meant Very Important Person this whole time lol)
- They’re usually not officially released to the mass and are generally made to be played as a DJ set
- The point of them only being played live is meant to be as a treat to the fans that came out to see the DJ perform
- A flip is taking a sample of a song and using it in another way
- Samples, just like remixes, require permission from the owner to be used
- A rework in a sense is like a remix. Generally, a rework is released several years after the original and is considered a completely new version of the original song. In a way, it ‘overrides’ the original and the rework is now considered the ‘main’ version.
Questions I have:
- I’ve seen the word ‘respray’ tagged onto songs (here I’m thinking of ‘No One On Earth’ by Above and Beyond respray of Gabriel and Dresdan’s remix). Is respray another word for rework?
Disclaimer: obviously I’m not an expert at this and am NOT a lawyer of any sort. There are a lot of gray areas regarding music copyright laws and even the terms themselves so please consult with an actual lawyer if needed, blah blah blah. I think it’s dumb I even need to say this but here we are.