Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

The ballad of Jed Clampet

That’s the sad part. @BanjoBen is welcome to teach my songs, as they aren’t officially copyrighted. I should probably get them copyrighted though. This world is so complicated.


Check out the lesson on Hannah’s song, it’s a Ben original


Anyway,how long is a tune protected by copyrights in the US ?


“Anyway,how long is a tune protected by copyrights in the US ?”

@Mark_Rocka would be the best source for that info.


I wish it were an easy answer, but we all know that’s not how lawyers work. Hopefully this will explain it.


Opps that page is not available

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Thanks Ben and y’all for the detailed insight into why it is so troublesome to deliver music that is copyrighted and i can agree why that maybe being a songwriter myself. It is a minefield and yes… you should take precautions to protect yourself especially from jealous competitors and the like.

You are the best for sure at what you do and i bet its really frustrating navigating this issue


It is not just today, that is how it is all along… :wink: The bible says so!

Maybe the warning is to establish motive, that you knowingly do it, without which there might not be much chance for winning in a federal court. Also I do not see the punishment fit the crime. For example, how one is supposed to know Scruggs stuff is copyrighted. One might get it from an audio or video, now do they explicitly say they are copyrighted? Or is there a e-verification or such things for copyright? If not, it is unreasonable to punish someone without proper and prior warning. In such cases, imo, it is against natural law, and hence a possible constitutional violation, therefore must be defend-able if there will be any honest lawyers.


Well, the ones that do, are risking lawsuits. I can say that Bill Nesbitt’s version is different than the actual Scruggs version; I’m not sure if that has any impact on the situation.

It comes down to the question, does an artist have the rights to his own work and is he entitled to keep earning an income on his own creations? I think yes. Even though Earl has passed, his body of work is still owned by his estate, his family. Are they entitled to protect that property? Sure, why not?

To clarify though, I think I’m correct in saying that @BanjoBen’s limitation is in “teaching” the song. There are plenty of tabs available from various sources and you certainly could ask Ben if he has a particular tab and if he could send it to you. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.


The question is, did Earl protect his works by copyright when he was alive? If not, it is no longer private property, it is public property, and no further work upon involving this his works should be allowed to be protected by copyright, imo. Is that not fair expectation??


Oh he did, yes. But, if he hadn’t, you probably have a point.


Earl’s Book containing the TABs (Which it is my understanding Earl didn’t actually create himself) was Published by Hal Leonard as I mentioned earlier I do believe Hal Leonard is one publisher that’s seeks to recover royalties due on any of their published materials.

And as @MissMaggie rightly points out Earl’s work, money and property passed to the benefactors contained in his will.


Archie/Maggie/Anyone, a question if you think you can answer it.

So Earl copyrights his work, leaves it to his family, and the family sells it to a publisher, and the publisher uses it “as is” or builds upon it for their business revenue. Now the publisher, the one who holds the copyright, uses a computer/software for their publishing work. Now can the rights be allowed to be automatically transferred to or taken up by the computer/software firm for no charge from an simple acceptance to computer/software use agreement??

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Hi John, I don’t know all the legal stuff. But here’s what I believe. Earl certainly had ownership of his music, the person who created the TAB may or may not have a stake in ownership. The publisher would also have some kind of stake in it. Earl’s wife was his manager and she would have had some kind of contract drawn up to protect Earls assets. Each of these stock holders would be entitled to some form of royalties income.

Sometimes artists do sell their copyrights and the owner of the copyright is entitled to recover income from the sale and public performance of the works so long as the copyright remains valid.

Not so long ago Warner/Chappell Music owner of the copyright to the song Happy Birthday tried to recover royalties from schools etc but a US Judge ruled the copyright invalid.

Check this out

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Archie, thanks for the info on copyright, I’ll check it out. I’ll also wait if anyone else answers my question.

Uhhhhhhhmmmm… Lawyer :cold_sweat:

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I guess then @MissMaggie you’ve understood my line of questioning and where I’m getting at!

OK, when copyrighted material is in private circulation, I have a no knowledge about it, therefore I have no business with it. I can’t be in violation. Like for example, Ben’s lessons. Except for those who pay for it, it is not available to common public. Common public cannot possibly violate copyright as they have no knowledge unless another violation happens from a distribution by those who have access to Ben’s materials.

But when copyrighted material is in public, I have knowledge of those materials but am I still expected to observe copyrights?? OK that’s fine too. It is the owner’s or the acquirer’s stuff. They should have the rights. Fair enough.

But here is where my issue…

I speak, I share my knowledge with somebody, I do things, I go to places etc etc. It is individual’s data - private or public. Now, in the same token of owner’s having copyright for their work, should there be not an implicit copyright for an individual’s data?? I spend time and money for all these things. Why is it allowed to be used by third parties??

When Ben’s using a computer/software package cannot transfer his material rights to the software company, how does my using a computer/software package can transfer the rights of my own individual data to a third party??

John, you’ve moved waaaaay beyond me. I suggest you consult a lawyer to get these answers. Sorry bud.


Hi Maggie, I wish the government (the people) frames laws to make knowledge, collection and storage of individual’s data - personal, private or public - by companies unlawful, except certain data by certain companies for operational or security purposes, regardless whether the data was volunteered or not. Big data would become tiny data then. I know it will not be allowed to happen. But I’m just pointing out the unfairness in the world. And if felt unfair, true Christians cannot be agreeing to such dual standards in principle.

But take it easy Maggie! :slight_smile:

The verdict in the “Happy B’Day” makes sense to me!