[PlanetCCRMA] Fwd: [music-dsp] Official posistion of Roland Corp. about Copyrights.

Jan Depner eviltwin69@cableone.net
Wed Feb 15 14:28:01 2006

On Wed, 2006-02-15 at 10:22 -0500, Gregory Maxwell wrote:
> More reason why free software for making music is so very important...
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: nikko@nikkoid.com <nikko@nikkoid.com>
> Date: Feb 15, 2006 5:01 AM
> Subject: [music-dsp] Official posistion of Roland Corp. about Copyrights.
> To: music-dsp <music-dsp@ceait.calarts.edu>
> Hi,
> I've been in contact with the Roland's Corp lawyer and I've asked some
> questions about :
> - the use of sampling made from Roland synths
> - the use of picture of Roland synth (when doing a 'clone')
> - the fact that some Roland synth are +30 years old and so are
> supposed to be in public domain.

    Nope, they're claiming copyright not patent.  You've got quite a
long wait for these to be in the public domain.  If Disney has anything
to say about it they'll never be in the public domain.

> - the use of Roland Band to advertise a clone (TB-303, TR-808, SH-101 etc)
> - the use of the name of the synth in a virtual clone.
> This is Roland position, the laws are different in every country, but
> the Roland position is very strict. Also the response is very clear.
> Anyone who plan to release a Roland clone should read this...
> Roland response :
> "I am writing to you in order to respond to the questions you
> presented to us last week. First, copying Roland's sounds constitutes
> copyright infringement regardless of the process for copying the
> sounds. It therefore makes no difference that DREAM ripped Roland's
> ROMs, while you are recording the sounds manually with a microphone;
> both actions constitute copyright infringement. It also does not
> matter that you copy Roland's sounds and put them into a "virtual
> sampler" which is a different format than the original. Regardless of
> how you might subsequently process or present the sounds, copying
> Roland's sounds for use in any competing product infringes Roland's
> copyrights. Finally, Roland infringes no copyrights when it samples
> acoustic instruments for playback in its products, because acoustic
> instruments enjoy no copyright protection in the sounds they produce.
> Copyright protection is only afforded once the sound is captured in a
> "tangible medium of expression," for example, a recording of an
> acoustic instrument captured into a .wav file. So your assertion that
> Roland would be liable for copyright infringement if you are liable to
> Roland, is entirely incorrect and without basis in law.
> Second, you may not use Roland's trademarks or trade dress in your
> products or in conjunction with the sale of your products. The
> distinctive look of Roland's famous products are protected under
> trademark law as "trade dress." This includes a photograph or other
> image or likeness of the Roland SH-09. Therefore, your use of the name
> SH-09 and images of the SH-09 constitute trademark infringement, as
> well as unfair competition.
> I hope this answers all your questions. Once again, Roland very much
> appreciates your willingness to cooperate in the protection of
> Roland's intellectual property. Only by protecting its intellectual
> property will Roland be in a position to continue to design and
> manufacture its innovative products for many generation to come.

    I have no problem with the position of Roland with respect to the
above paragraphs.  They own the trademarks and they did the work to
sample and digitize the sounds that they are providing.  See below for
what really bothers me.

> Best wishes,
> Greg Gabriel"
> Also another exerpt :
> Here is another extract of the conversation I got :
> "It is not a violation of Roland's copyrights to play a Roland
> instrument in a musical recording and sell the music created.  Roland
> grants the users of its products an implied license to use its sounds
> in such a manner.  However, using Roland's copyrighted sounds in
> competing products is a direct infringement of Roland's copyrights.
> This applies even if you are "creating programs" which alter the
> original sounds, because these "programs" would constitute derivative
> works which would also infringe Roland's copyrights.  Finally, using
> Roland's trademarks, including the look of its products, in
> conjunction with any product or service without Roland's authorization
> is a violation of trademark law.  Therefore, using the brand name
> "Roland," or the names or images of any Roland product in conjunction
> with the sale of your products is prohibited.  I hope this answers
> your questions.

    An implied license is only as good as the paper it is written on ;-)
Theirs is probably at least as good as the "implied" license to use mp3,
GIF, or JPEG that we had prior to the submarine patent attack.  I have
been seriously thinking lately about getting a Roland guitar synth to
provide horn, key, and string sounds for some of the songs I do with the
bands I play with.  Until I see a written license to record I won't be
purchasing one.  A guitar synth hardly appears on the radar for a
company like Roland but bad press is another thing entirely.  So spread
the word, Roland doesn't give you an explicit license to record anything
that you play on "their" equipment.  Because of this they can, at any
time, claim that you are violating their copyright by recording their
synth sounds.  I seriously doubt that that would stand up in court but I
couldn't afford to fight it ;-)

    Another point springs to mind - if their "implied" license is
actually good, what happens if I record a song with *my* Roland synth
and then later sample parts of it for another song?  Is that copyright
infringement as defined in paragraph 1 above?  It is, after all, a
"tangible medium of expression".

    If someone has Mr. Gabriel's email address please forward this to
him and see if he has reasonable answers for the above questions.

Jan 'Evil Twin' Depner
The Fuzzy Dice

"As we enjoy great advantages from the invention of others, we should be 
glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and 
this we should do freely and generously."

Benjamin Franklin, on declining patents offered by the governor of 
Pennsylvania for his "Pennsylvania Fireplace", c. 1744