What If You Could Recreate Live Performances By Dead Artists On A Computer?
from the helloooooo-copyright-fight dept
Via Shocklee comes this story of a company that claims to have created software that can recreate live performances by famous musicians (even dead ones). Basically, the software learns (or so its creators claim) exactly how certain musicians played, and then can mimic that style exactly. Here’s how Pocket Lint describes it:
Zenph Studio’s approach is to work out how the musician and the instrument acts and responds, then get a computer to play that track again as a real-time, real-life performance, which in turn can be recorded using modern techniques. The new track isn’t a re-mastering, but a re-performance, as if the musician was actually playing it even though the artist may or may not be dead.
The technology works by ascertaining how an artist strikes a note and then recreating that note again. For the piano, the company takes into account everything from how an artist strikes a note to their hand movement, how they play when tired (yes, it can recreate fatigue) and even, as for the case of Jerry Lee Lewis, how they play with their feet. For the guitar there is even more to take into account, like pad placement, fingernails, and bending of the strings, the list goes on.
The result is that songs recorded 100 years ago can and will be able to be re-recorded with modern recording equipment, allowing old songs to be revitalised and enjoyed once more “in surround sound or headphone listening”.
And, of course, the technology goes well beyond just remastering. In theory, you could create entirely new recordings by long-dead artists, matching their exact styles. As the article suggests, you could toss John Lennon into a Rolling Stones song.
Of course, if this sounds sorta familiar, that’s because we were just talking about the legal mess associated with Bluebeat.com’s claims that the music it offers from its site for sale are not the original works by bands like the Beatles, but an entirely new recording through a “psycho-acoustic simulation.”
So, now, take this software that supposedly can perfectly mimic a certain musician’s playing, and have it record a song. Say it’s a new song. Who owns the copyright? What if it’s adding John Lennon to a Rolling Stone’s song? Who owns the copyright? What if it’s an old song, updated in some slight way? Who owns the copyright? What if it’s just the same song but “remastered”? Who owns the copyright? The legal questions raised by this kind of software are going to keep copyright lawyers busy for a long, long time.