Posted in : Forum : Members Loops & Acapella Uploads Info
If you have uploaded loops or acapellas then let us know here.
Good day/evening. I hope someone can help me. I have found one user who downloaded my vocals for a song he did. A Record label released it for sale on Beatport, iTunes, etc without my permission. The user contacted me via private email to let me know they had a label interested, but that was it. They posted the announcement on Facebook, tagging me, after the fact, that the song was available for purchase. I still have yet to see any contract and honestly, I don't know what to do. I have several sneaky fellas out there who take my vocals and submit to a label without my permission. They tell me after. Although I have tried to be fair and wanted to help the general public who can't afford to buy vocals, but I think I am being fooled. Is there a way to register my acapellas somewhere so that no one can use commercially or submit to a label without my permission. I don't really want to copyright my vocals, so is there another way. Someone who tried to help me, laughed at me, telling me if I post on looperman, no one follows the rules and everyone can do what they want as it is a free download. Before I cancel my account altogether, I wanted to see what this forum, or better yet, Looperman, has to offer for advise or opinion. I wish the world wasn't such a greedy one. Hoping for some great answers or directions without being mocked or argued with.
Long post again. Here's Part I
Very sorry to hear that somebody has treated you so badly, eSoreni. You have posted a lot of very good acapellas. Behaviour like this by even one member harms us all, particularly if you decide that you need to terminate you membership and remove your vocals. Using any of your acapellas for commercial gain without your permission and without some agreement on sharing any revenue is disgraceful, a violation of your copyright, and absolutely contrary to Looperman terms and conditions for use of this site.
Looperman's explanation of the rights reserved to members who post acapellas is very clear. https://www.looperman.com/help/terms
You retain copyright in the media you upload to the acapellas section of the website. Moreover, acapellas cannot be used for commercial purposes without your permission. You do not abrogate your legal rights in the material by posting it to Looperman.
Whoever did this to you should be kicked off the site by Looperman, although I suspect they could just get back on by creating a new member identity.
Note that the Looperman Copyright Policy (https://www.looperman.com/help/copyright) deals with situations where content (e.g., an acapella, loop, or a track) that constitutes a copyright infringement is posted on Looperman. It does not deal with your situation where the offending material is posted someplace else. (Cases of copyright disputed content not hosted on our servers are to be dealt with by the respective hosts.)
Not sure how things work in the U.S., but here in Canada, simply posting your work to Looperman would establish your copyright in law and, technically, you could sue to block unauthorized use and for damages. (Not worth the bother unless the track produced significant revenues and you could afford the cost of the legal fees, or find attorneys who would take the case on a contingency fee basis.)
It wasn't clear from your post, but it is possible that the label is not aware that your acapella was used without permission (I assume that they have to rely on assurances from the person submitting the track that it does contain any content that constitutes a copyright violation.) Alternatively, it is also possible that they were purposely misled by the Looperman member who essentially "stole" your work.
So, you might start by contacting the label and demanding that the tracks be withdrawn from sale until a suitable arrangement is established between you and the label. If the label refuses or does not respond, then I think you should proceed on the assumption that they did know about the unauthorized use of your acapella or that they don't care.
In that event, I would notify Looperman directly of the violation so that he can take action for violation of the sites Terms and Conditions of use. (You might want to do this even if the label is cooperative.)
Additionally, again if the label is not cooperative, I would notify Beatport, iTunes, etc., of the copyright violation and demand (1) that the track containing your work be removed from sale and (2) that they account to you for all sales and related revenues that have occurred prior to removal.
I would also demand that, in light of what appears to be either a pattern of copyright violation by the label, or failure by the label to exercise due diligence to ensure that their releases do not include unauthorized use of copyrighted material, that Beatport, iTunes, etc. refuse to accept (i.e., block) any further tracks that the label (or any associated labels) might submit in the future. I dont know whether this would actually affect their legal position, but Im pretty sure that, just like Looperman, neither Beatport nor iTunes have any interest in distributing material that constitutes copyright violations.
think that at least some of these services have some kind of automated system for dealing with these alleged copyright violations, but I have no details on how they work. I do know that some other Looperman members are familiar with them and hopefully they will also respond to your post. My understanding is that, in a few cases, Youtube removed some tracks/videos that contained loops that had been downloaded from Looperman.
When somebody joins Looperman, they agree to abide by the sites Terms and Conditions. Both commercial and non-commercial use of Looperman loops is explicitly allowed in the Looperman Terms and Conditions. So, when a member posts a loop, they are consenting to both non-commercial and commercial use of their work. So, inclusion of the Looperman loops in those tracks was not a copyright violation and the loops should not have been removed by Youtube.
Note that the copyright situation for tracks uploaded to Looperman is different from both acapellas and loops. Under Looperman Terms and Conditions, all media uploaded to the tracks section remains the copyright of its creator and may not be distributed, mixed, edited or used in any way without their prior consent. This means that it is a copyright violation to modify, distribute, or use a Looperman track without permission of the creator.
So, for example, if I downloaded somebodys track and added a vocal to it, and then posted it without their permission, I would have violated Loopermans Terms and Conditions and would have violated the rights of the member who uploaded the original version of the track.
On the other hand, if a member posted a track and invited members to re-mix it and post their new tracks to Looperman, then prior consent (for non-commercial use) would have been given and the re-mixes would be OK, copyright-wise. Prior consent for commercial use would not be authorized, however.
So, just to summarize for anybody else reading this:
Loops: Creators retain copyright, but anybody can use for commercial or non-commercial purposes without prior consent.
Acapellas: Creators retain copyright. Anybody can use for non-commercial purposes, but prior consent of the creator is required for commercial use.
Tracks: Creators retain copyright. No use, distribution, modification, mixing, or editing without prior consent of the creator.
I think I have all this right. If not, Im sure Looperman himself, or some more experienced member will post to this thread and correct anything Ive misunderstood.
eSoreni, first I saw and heard your material on your website. IMPRESSIVE! Sorry you got jacked, that's typically par for the course on many sites these days and not exclusively to LOOPERMAN.COM. Unfortunately you will not get any legal protection from this site but like Eric suggested you may need to file a complaint for a takedown on all of those sites. Also try to request royalties as well, it's worth a try. Getting a lawyer may place a heavy burden on you, but only explore that option if you have the finances. Hey, you are right, you played fair but others have not. I would not cancel my account here if I were you, but since you do have your own website, I would takedown all of the acapella's right now on this site except for one of your choosing. This site is still quite useful for exposure and promotion but you should dramatically limit your free material here and place more effort into your own website which you will have more control over your own material. Let's face it, you are not going to be able to fully stop those who cheat and steal by hosting acapellas here because people will continue to thumb their nose to the rules and make money off of you, but with that said you must report them to the Admin, Looperman immediately. We owe you a big thank you, THANK YOU eSoreni!
Sorry to hear about your dilemma eSoreni, in the end as an individual it's very time consuming, frustrating and costly to take (legal) action against copyright transgressions and you can't expect Looperman himself to take up the issue for you his purview is the site not individual members, so what can you productively do, there's been a few good suggestion put forward, but as an artist you really need to join your particular country's performing rights union, in my case it's APRA AMCOS The Australian Performing Right Association Limited linked with The Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society...being a member protects all your performance, communications, royalties, and any copyright infringements and gives you the necessary legal help locally and internationally....hope you sort it out.
Long story short...contact the label and/or the producer and ask them to remove the song from any publishing platforms or reach a 50/50 agreement with them. If that doesn't work, contact the publishing platforms and report the copyright violation. It should be taken down pretty quickly.
I'm so sorry this happened to you. This is just my opinion, but a copyright is your friend, though I understand not wanting to file one. However, you can file one copyright grouping your work, and that way if you're asked to show proof, you can present it.
Generally, the US copyright office wants a copy of your song, and since you also write the lyrics, you're not only being ripped off for your melody, but your writing.Just make a recording of your acapellas and name them separately. The fee is nominal, considering the royalties you stand to lose.
Some companies will only accept a copyright as proof. And please understand, there are a number of high profile acts who've done something like this, and tried to pass off others work as their own.
If you live in the US, please consider filing a copyright, and do so soon. If you don't, what's stopping someone from downloading your acapellas and filing their own copyright?
Sorry to sound so bleak, but I've been burned before also.
Just to add my voice here. as its already been mentioned its not my role to police what people do outside of this site.
As for our terms you should only go by what is written on the terms page and not by anything that anyone else says, writes anywhere else, rephrases etc as it turns into Chinese whispers.
As for your situation all sites worth their salt will have a simple procedure for claims of copyright infringement. This is most often in the form of a DMCA notice. Do that and then see if there is an agreement to be made.
Hope that helps
I forgot to add, don't take down your acapellas, because you may need their date stamp as proof.
You may need to use this site to show that your work has been housed here for awhile, and what the regulations are (EricMulligan listed them nicely). This site is still proof, but I've dealt with an agency that wanted me to produce a copyright.
@Wikkid Thank you!!!What does it cost to copyright multiple works? You are awesome!!! Thank you!
Its cheaper doing it all online (register, fill out form, upload work, make payment).
For a group of songs $55It's worth the peace of mind. Fees do change, but by the end of the process they let you know what's owed. I've never paid more that $55 though.
More fees are listed here: https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ04.pdf
And they have a toll free # you can call on the weekdays with any questions: 1-877-476-0778
Thank you Wikkid again!!!
Eric!!!! You took so much time to write such an amazing response. I will print this out and really go into it in detail, highlighting the points I should work on. I knew I went to the right place for answers. Thank you so much Eric.
JosephFunk I agree with you on everything, including the part about promoting ourselves. I grew trememdously since May of last year and it was all because of Looperman, so I am forever grateful. Sometimes these little guys aren't worth the sweat. Thank you very much!
Mahloo13 Thank you so much! I contacted the label, but after going back and forth. It seemed like they had no idea. Just some young guy trying to make a name for himself, and I hadn't the nerve to take away his glory. I'm not desperate for the attention as he is, but I did find it a bit unfair to me. Thank you so much for your response.
Looperman, You are awesome!!! I didn't want to get you involved, because I imagine having to deal with all of us, would be a time consuming task. I just needed some direction, and now from you and all who responded, I do. I am very grateful. My goal is to help all the music producers I can, but not in a sneaky, cheating way, so this event did bother me. I really hate dishonesty, especially when I find out. I love this site and have raved about it tremendously, and will continue to do so, but I needed to hear from fellow Loopsters what I should do. Thank you very much for this amazing site and for allowing us all to share our talents here.
If you join your local copyright/publishing company in your country then it should be free to list your works for copyright.
In Australia we use APRA/AMCOS, pretty sure its ASCAP in the states.
Before I upload anything online I get it listed within the local copyright agency...that way your works/acappellas/beats/loops or full songs are protected globally as all copyright agencies work with each other.
Protect your IP (intellectual property) at all costs, as there are so many crooks online that will try to make a dollar nevermind who they hurt in the process.
Rule of thumb; Copyright everything you intend to put up even if you are allowing others to use certain parts.
I agree with all that has been said but will add my bit.
We are lucky in Australia with APRA/AMCOS but the copyright procedures vary per nation. Some require a written score and substantial money - which APRA/AMCOS does not. I am guessing that USA has some reasonable legal procedures to go through. I have met lawyers that only specialise in music, these might be worth considering. Pro Bono
Like has been said, those sites mentioned Beatport, Bandcamp, Itunes etc have a reputation to uphold and should remove them asap.
I also think it is a great chance for publicity. Write to Rollin Stone magazine, your local newspaper, Beatport forums, anywhere that will listen on the Internet. Bleed your heart to them so they have a story.
Yes, in the US we have ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. ASCAP charges a fee but BMI is free to join. SESAC is by invitation. However, for purposes of going to court, having a copyright is the best protection for a writer. When you sign with a major label, they will usually file the copyright as a work for hire.
It's best to google and get info on BMI and ASCAP to see which one is a better fit for a songwriter. Even if I lived outside the US, I'd still register with one of these companies (you can't do both).
In the US, a person is innocent until proven guilty, which also goes to accusing someone of taking your musical creation. You (the songwriter) must prove that you've been wronged. The best protection is a copyright. And I'm not talking about mailing an unopened letter to yourself, as some still do, thinking because its not opened and date stamped, its good enough. I know a guy who tried this while he was working for a top R&B/funk artist.
To have a legal leg to stand on, file a copyright. If there are enough similarities in the content (melody, chorus, lyrics) a writer can prevail or even reach a settlement if you have to go to court.
The thing is to prove that your work is not generic, its not an "idea" but a unique creation that the defendant has taken core elements of and passed it off as their own.
Famous cases: Robin Thick, Pharell vs Marvin Gaye's estate for Blurred Lines. Gaye's estate was able to show that enough similarities existed, so the jury sided with them. That's copyright infringement.
Sam Smith vs Tom Petty. Sam and his co-writer settled, because there were enough similarities between the chorus of the song "Stay With Me" and Petty's. Petty is now credited as a co-writer of "Stay with Me" and he also has a Grammy for best song :)
Hope this helps. If not, someone else will join in to clarify further.
I have not read all the comments in this thread, but you might want to look into an outfit Called Sound Exchange.
I know for certain that by uploading our vocal here, you have some degree of protection as far as copyright laws in the U.S. are concerned. Uploads are essentially published recordings. When you upload to sites like Looperman you should have a record of exactly when the upload was processed. So, in your case, the date of your upload precedes the date this unsavory person "published" his/her version of your song.
At any rate, check out Sound Exchange; it is government run and they collect and dispense digital royalties. Registering costs you nothing.
As far as physical copies of your song, I am sure someone at Sound Exchange can direct you to resources that could possibly be of help. Good Luck!
Contact Volunteer Lawyers for The Arts. Here is their URL.
They've helped me before. If you're in California, PM me and I'll give you a personal reference to a good lawyer at their chapter here in Los Angeles. Make sure you've got all documents and evidence ready to go. It saves time. Also, personal experience here: be willing to settle. I failed to do this and wanted revenge. I wound up losing in small claims court by doing that. Judges are a crapshoot. So if you can arbitrate outside the courtroom, try for it. Court can be risky. But the loop and the voice are yours: defend them. Good luck.
Oops, if this is resolved, never mind. But next time and for everyone's reference reading this, VLA will protect artists' rights pro bono. If in need, give them a call.
In my experience, all major reputable websites have a well structured violation claim. My advice is to try and contact two or three people in the label and send them a cease and desist right away, you have the right to enforce that or not unless your material is signed to a label. That gets things moving at the offending label. Then only contact beatport, itunes etc if the label won't correct the situation.The main problem with song stealers is that they make product codes and credits before you even know about it usually, so you don't ever really get properly credited after that. 3 different tracks I've made labels pull the tracks bc they were not interested in compensating or refused to credit. Don't undervalue your work! If they stole it, that's because they needed to. Remind them of that if they insult your original mix as indie trash (or whatever) and claim to have "saved" your song and done you a favor. (by stealing it)lol.
oops!"all major reputable websites have a well structured violation claim PROCESS"
there were some tracks released with your vocals and my vocals together. i already took legal action and the releases involved are taken down!
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