Graduate Student in Technical and Professional Communication at Auburn University

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    Covers, Creativity, and Copyright: The Implications of Copyright on YouTube Covers

    An entire YouTube industry runs on musicians and artists creating covers of popular songs. As an avid listener of many such artists, I enjoy their covers; however, I have often wondered about the copyright implications. Since music/lyrics are the creative products of the original artist, are they technically protected from being remade into "covers"? Or is a cover seen as symbiotic with the original work, increasing the original work’s popularity/renown?

    I’d love to see an article delineate the copyright implications of YouTube covers and/or the relationships between the original artists and the artists producing covers.

    • It might be interesting also to compare the music/covers industry (which I believe is relatively restrictive) to other Art forms! Also I would love to know how different songwriters (both successful and emerging) view Copyright... As a songwriter I can't imagine most successful artists having a problem with emerging artists using their music to develop their audience/sound, CF their labels/managers shutting Youtube videos down.... – NedMortimer 3 years ago
    • We seem to be in a wild west period of YouTube copyright rules right now! An article discussing fair use of music covers would be a good read. It would also be interesting to see how other types of videos(gaming, edits, etc.) are similar or differ from music covers. – MattWalker 3 years ago
    • It is not uncommon to find other YouTubers using cover versions of original songs, I assume this is a loophole to avoid copyright issues. However, this practice creates a demand for song covers. This might be worth exploring within this article. – BoluBello 3 years ago
    • Great topic. I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that the answer to both answers would be "yes." Songs are protected by copyright laws, and covers do help a song stay alive and relevant. My second guess (I'm not a lawyer) is that copyright laws might need to be looked at closely. It's possible that covered songs on YouTube fall in the category of "fair use," especially if they're not done for profit. – JamesBKelley 3 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    This was a good read, and I think it’s an interesting idea to ponder. I faced the same question after watching The Greatest Showman because the storytelling was on point but the accuracy was not necessarily there. Your question “Does history matter if the movie is awesome?” encapsulates my inner debate. I still haven’t fully made up my mind one way or another, but it’s a great topic to discuss!

    How Important is Historical Accuracy in Films?

    This article is really interesting, and it documents some things I’ve noticed in my own reading. In one of my creative writing classes in college, the professor asked us to bring an opening line to one of our favorite books, and many brought contemporary first lines that were short and “punchy.” I brought the opening line of Oliver Twist, which is a solid paragraph. It was likely lengthier than all the others combined, yet it has a richness and depth to it that gently invites the readers into the book (as opposed to reaching out and “grabbing” them). I may have received some strange looks that day in class, but I can’t help but wonder, are we losing something valuable when we try only to appease our short reading spans instead of letting our writing gently unfold?

    How time and readers' expectations have affected opening sentences

    I love this article’s point; passion and perseverance can take a drop of creative talent (no matter how large or small) and make it flourish. If exceedingly talented writers ignore their gift of writing, their talent will atrophy, but if a novice perseveres, their talent will blossom. Everyone has the ability to create incredible thingsā€”if they have but the inclination, passion, and perseverance.

    Are Creative Writers Taught or Talented?