Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

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Neil Parsons
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Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Neil Parsons »

I've already known of a programmer who isn't very happy having realised AY/mp3 files ripped from his game being available for download from Spectrum Computing and other site like ZX-Art, without his permission. Having released his game about 1 year ago, he doesn't understand the meaning of this.

I quote some of his posts: "This, in turn, is causing them (his music archives) to be used in other games without any type of control."

"Just because the game is free does not mean that it can be fragmented into parts and used indiscriminately."

Thus, in fact, may happen with more recent ZX Spectrum games, from which any music in 48 or 128k being ripped from them, should count at least with the corresponding licence or permission from their respective owners. If his/their authors doesn't give any permission over a part of their developments, except allowing free distribution of their games, why's the use of releasing their ZX music elsewhere?

This is an interesting discussion. Where are the limits to release AY/mp3 files, in this site and others, from past and recent videogames? Let's read other opinions, even from developers (programmers and musicians, indeed).
Last edited by Neil Parsons on Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PeterJ
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by PeterJ »

Hi @Neil Parsons,

If you hear of anyone who wants anything removed from this site, please ask them to contact me.

Peter
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Neil Parsons
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Neil Parsons »

Okay. Thanks
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Einar Saukas
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Einar Saukas »

You raised a very good point.

Right now, our rules only prevent distributing files for denied titles. I never realized we may need to block certain types of files for allowed titles.

On the other hand, we inherited a large library of AY files that was available from Martijn's old WoS. I hope we won't need to block them.

Perhaps we should automatically block all AY files for games released in the last N years (10? 15?) and keep the others available, unless the author declares otherwise.
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Einar Saukas
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Einar Saukas »

Neil Parsons wrote: Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:05 pm "Just because the game is free does not mean that it can be fragmented into parts and used indiscriminately."
Another option is, perhaps we can simply add a short message in the "downloads" section stating the obvious: that files freely available for download are usually copyrighted.

Or something even more direct, like this: by downloading these files, you agree to respect the author's copyright.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by AndyC »

I think a message stating they are only for personal use and not to be reused in your own software without permission etc (as well as respecting authors who do not want them separate) should really be enough.

Ultimately there is a long history of people ripping AY tunes and using them elsewhere and it's something that's hard to police. If they're available in any form (including in a game) there is always the chance someone will swipe them and use them without permission and I don't think SC can prevent that.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Timmy »

Einar Saukas wrote: Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:34 pm Perhaps we should automatically block all AY files for games released in the last N years (10? 15?) and keep the others available, unless the author declares otherwise.
I feel that N is perhaps still too flexible. My current preference is to have a cut off date like the year 2000, (unless the author/musician...), as most of them are probably still using these songs.

Sometimes music can carry licenses that say that it can only be distributed inside a game (this is more common in modern PC gamedev), so if a site decides to rip and distribute an AY file alone might not be a good idea...
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by filipe.veiga »

I'm also a bit surprised that I see a lot of scanned materials, like complete manuals or inlays from Teknamic physical releases, without asking for permission from me (and the game authors) or even letting me know. I'm not sure what to think about it.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by filipe.veiga »

You put me in the wrong position because the manuals of several authors (like Clive Townsend) contain copyrighted material in the manual that you don't have the permission to distribute. Teknamic is a trademark of my company, not a hobby. These productions are costly, and I have a trustworthy relationship with the authors. As a collaborator of Planeta Sinclair, we are very careful about these issues. We always ask Portuguese authors' permission.
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Lee Bee
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Lee Bee »

For what it's worth here are my own feelings about this…

You might call me an "upcoming" AY musician. I've got my music in a couple of games already, plus 7 more in development, plus I'm hoping to become extremely prolific in the future, with a large amount of music already lined up that I'd love to share with the community.

So, on one hand, I love people to hear my music and have no problem with it being distributed and played. I particularly love the ZX Art site and think it's a wonderful resource. In fact, I personally submitted my latest soundtrack to that site (knowing it would end up on there anyway).

I only have two concerns…

1. Respecting composers' wishes
First, I think sites should host music in good faith toward composers. I worry that sites such as ZX Art feel entitled to rip music with no respect for the wishes of active composers. For example, I'm hoping to launch my own YouTube channel soon - a home to all my music, but when I asked ZX Art if I could add a link on my profile, they said no.

2. Copyright
Second, I'm very happy for my original music to be freely distributed and played, but it must be understood/assumed that the musician (especially an active musician) retains the copyright to his music and it's not public domain. This legal distinction may not seem very important in terms of the small Speccy community, since we're (mostly) all friends and it's more of a hobby than business. But if someone like Nintendo wanted to come along and use one of my tunes in their game without my permission and make millions from the game—no, they would not be allowed.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by Ralf »

Copyrights are difficult stuff.

Personally I used in several of my games tunes written by other people, without asking them directly for permission.

They were mostly modules created in the Russian demoscene in the 90s. Quite often the demoscene authors themselves did covers of popular
pop songs without asking the original authors. But does it change anything?

I would say that it's morally acceptable to use someone's work in your game if:

- you mention the tune's author directly in your work
- you earn no money or minimal amount of money from it

I also believe that the author should feel "flattered" if someone uses his work because it means that it's good.

On the other hand I respect that someone may wish not to share it, even without giving any reason. If some author contacted me
asking to remove his tune from my game, I would apologize and do so. Fortunately it never happened.

But still I believe the default option should be sharing or using the tunes without asking and apologising if someone gets angry with it
in some particular case. All the retroscene is about sharing stuff, it's our culture from the very beginnings. It collides with the law sometimes
(or maybe quite often) but I'd say the law is imperfect here. Without sharing the files the retro communties which we know wouldn't simply exist
and a lot of rare stuff would be lost forever.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by PeterJ »

I'm closing this thread.

On every database entry we have contact details if anyone wants things removed. Some items can be removed instantly, other bits need to wait until the next update. We can only remove files from the SC website.

Please just remember (and I'm quoting another member of the team here): Here we are all volunteers donating our time in a free non-profitable software preservation effort. None of us make a penny out of this. The website doesn't have banners, adverts or sponsorship (We have turned this down many times), we also maintain an open database that's integrated with dozens of others and also distributed freely. We do all this work just because we think it's important to preserve the ZX Spectrum history (not just playable games but all information about each of them too) for everyone's benefit.
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Re: Music files in SC and other sites. Permission affair.

Post by PeterJ »

The ZXDB and SC admin team have been reviewing the comments in this thread. As a result we have decided the following actions:

* Block the download of AY files for any title released after 2000
* Block the download of some additional material (manuals, inlays, media scans, RZX recordings) for any "distribution denied - still for sale" title

All previous restrictions still apply (blocked most downloads of distribution denied titles, etc).

We appreciate that this a rather 'broad brush' approach, but it gives us the time to review all the titles in the above categories. There are many publishers of denied titles who have no issues with scans being on the site. In one case the company even scanned them for us!

This topic will remain locked, but if you have any questions please send me a PM.
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