Covers/folk songs, yay or nay?

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  • @glasscrow Feb 14

    It's my third year, but I'm not really clear on whether or not covers are allowed? There seems to be some gray area. A dance/club version of Scarborough Faire is on my to-do list, but I wasn't sure if it was ok to do it for FAWM or not.

    I guess it wouldn't really be a cover so much as a folk song? I was going to partially re-write the lyrics as well. I think this is why I'm confused. I don't mean covers of copyrighted songs by popular bands. That seems obviously off-limits to me, unless it's reworked somehow (like a Weird Al thing).

  • @metalfoot  Feb 14

    If it's a true reworking-- you adding new words to an old tune or new tune to old words, it's certainly in bounds for FAWM. The Public Domain Challenge is something I know that @johnstaples has organized in the past here. But if it's a mild updating but mostly the original everyone knows, it's very grey-area, I'd say.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 14

    So, the rules say,
    If you feel a fawmer has "cheated" (posting covers, recycling old songs, etc.), don't make a scene. Maybe it is against the ethos of FAWM (maybe not?), but that does not undermine your own achievements!
    I don't understand the "logic" of adding that "maybe not?" as it invalidates what has already been said in the rules about this.

    So, my personal rule is simple: No Covers!

    Where I deviate somewhat from this is in adding music to poetry that is now in the public domain. I don't consider those covers as they never had music in the first place. And because they are in the public domain there is zero risk to me or the site owners here.

    As for a cover of a popular song like Scarborough Faire I would personally consider that off-limits here or pretty much anywhere unless you purchase the rights to cover it in a recording. And the FAWM site owners might remove the "maybe not?" from the rules pretty quick if they got sued by whoever owns rights to this song!

  • @nancyrost  Feb 14

    From the Terms of Service:
    5. What else do you swear to us?
    1. That for anything you post on FAWM.ORG (we’ll just call it all “Material”), you have obtained and hold all rights, approvals, consents, licenses and permissions, in proper legal form. We’re not kidding: if you don’t hold the rights, don’t post the Material.

    2. That no Material you post on FAWM.ORG violates any third party’s rights: of any nature, under any law, anywhere.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 14

    @nancyrost Thanks! The section I quoted causes unnecessary ambiguity. Any chance that could be cleaned up?

  • @burrsettles  Feb 14

    @johnstaples the “maybe not?” Is just acknowledging that FAWM is really about just meeting you where you’re at as a musician... be it in your growth or in your mindset.

    I personally think covers are against the ethos (and technically both illegal and against the terms of service unless they're in the public domain or creative commons or somesuch, as @nancyrost points out), but speaking as someone who has been struggling with lyrics for years and am currently more interested in orchestration and sound design than “songwriting” right now, it’s tempting.

    For someone else, covers might be the best they can do at the moment, and maybe that’s OK? I expect others may disagree with me here, and that’s OK too. 😀

  • @tcelliott  Feb 14

    There are plenty of songs that are in the public domain (U.S.) and you could use or rework etc., But unless you write a new song for FAWM then it shouldn't be posted. You determine what a new song means to you (reworking old ideas etc.,) but it's a pretty safe bet that using something recognizable wouldn't be counted by most Fawmers.

  • @ustaknow Feb 14

    Additionally, there may be a difference in a challenge and what I've done and have done every year. I've never heard any objection. Some years it's engaged, some not. People, stuff changes every year here. Basically if folks don't like what you're doing, they simply ignore you. If you push it, they ignore you some more 😀 There is a line just like in real life.

    I think if you had a heart felt "cover" (?) (so to speak), you really wanted to do of a "Traditional", "Folks", "Public Domain" Song, well, - some are so old the actual music is unknown. I think you'd get a few atta-boys for it even. I would likely see if for what it is 😀 - good work effort.

    There two comprehensive books (at least) out there that documents this by J. A. Lomax. He was granted, amont other, travel scholarships, e.g., circa 1910, and etc., other to save, salvage this stuff. Many were just aluminum, wax recordings and many didn't make it.

    So, to "cover" a folk song, means what? How many revisions is it in already and to what? melody? music? Who knows.

    Feel free to engage my thread; when I'm here, I usually get around to posting it and prior to all the writ'n an stuff 😀

  • @wylddandelyon Feb 15

    I think the answer is clearly implied by the name: FAWM is February Album _Writing_ month. The goal here is to make something new, something of your own.

    Covering other people's songs and traditional material is a wonderful thing (for instance, I'm always excited to hear someone has sung one of my songs in a song circle), but it's not what we have gathered to do and to share with each other.

    At least, that's my opinion.

  • @ustaknow Feb 15

    - Just in flow of thought, I was writing and the other was not there, now it is 😀 hahhh. Rocktober comes to mind. But, that's a diff franchise I guess, post 5090.

    My can-o-worms, only has one, so..., just a fleeting thought and why I held off on RT, and mark them as I do.


    - Happy valentines and much love to all 😀

  • @johnstaples  Feb 15

    Thanks @burrsettles !!

    "For someone else, covers might be the best they can do at the moment, and maybe that’s OK?"

    "OK" but still definitely against the TOS, right?

  • @glasscrow Feb 15

    Oops, I've been busy making music and forgot about my thread!

    @johnstaples Exactly! The "maybe not" confused me, too! Now that it's been cleared up I get it, though.

    Guys, is Scarborough Faire not public domain?! I thought it was a folk song 😞

  • @dzdandcunfsd  Feb 15

    @glasscrow the song itself is, just not Simon and Garfunk's arrangement the one that everyone knows.... That's copyrighted

  • @tseaver  Feb 15

    @glasscrow Because you asked, on for no other reason: No, covering another's song is not within the ethos of FAWM.

    Lots of wiggle-room exists for those who set public-domain texts to music, or public-domain tunes to text, but "cover" doesn't suit either of those cases: a "cover," explicitly, is another's recognizable rendition of the originator's song.

  • @sadloaf Feb 17

    Personally, doing challenges like this and song-a-week over the years, I've learned important things that keep me from getting sick of them. One of them is to not let the challenge get in the way of something that I want to do. Were I to get invested in doing a cover to the point that I dreaded putting it down to work on FAWM, I would do the cover instead (and probably not post it here).

    It is important to remember that this challenge is for YOUR edification and treat it accordingly.

  • @wylddandelyon Feb 17

    Of course, covering a song you love is worthwhile and valid. I've learned a lot from covering songs, as well a introducing songs I love to people who never heard the original artist.

    But the fact that it's a wonderful thing to do doesn't make it a FAWM song, because no part of it was written by you for and as a part of FAWM.

  • @nightwing521  Feb 21

    @johnstaples I think your example is not a good choice.
    Scatborough Faire is almost certainly in the public domain. The currently popular lyrics are documented from the mid-19th Century, versions VERY similar appeared in the late 18th Century, and the earliest known recording is from 1939. I'm pretty sure that moves it into the public domain. I suspect that Simon and Garfunkel's claim of a copyright would only stand for their specific version, including the "Canticle" counterpoint. Especially since Dylan's use of the tune and some/much of the lyrics in his song "Girl From the North Country" predates their work by three years.
    That said, I agree 100% with your general rule of "No Covers".

  • @johnstaples  Feb 21

    @nightwing521 it wasn't my example; the OP suggested it. And of course any of it in the PD would be fine here but if you stray into anything that sounds like the S&G version that is when you've crossed the line IMHO. Now, as a practical matter, no one is likely to ever discover our stuff here anyway so...

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