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Thread: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS




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    Established BHUZzer Serpentine's Avatar
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    Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    This article by Horacio Cifuentes created quite a stir when it was first posted about how well-known Egyptian stars were pirating their music:
    Gilded Serpent, Belly Dance News & Events ,

    Raqia Hassan has just weighed in with 2 comments that are very interesting. Please scroll down to the bottom of the article and look at the comments.

    I have a lot to say about this from a legal standpoint but I would like to hear your comments first. This whole situation is an EXCELLENT learning opportunity for anyone using music to perform to.

    Can we open a discussion?
    Yasmin
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    I've seen the discussion Raqia started on Facebook about this topic. Did you read it? People argued H & B certainly bought a licence to make their records...


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    Advanced BHUZzer nikkiraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Yes lets!

    Now I think Raqia is a genius and a complete living legend BUT...

    I asked Dr Samy Farag about his song Gawaher, and about the re-recorded version of it used on one of Raqia's CD's as I wanted to know who composed it.

    Dr Farag told me himself that and I quote directly "i did compose the music myself and unfourtauntalyRakia hassan stole that music and put it in one of her taching CDs and called Masriya something like that , i contacted her by emial she never responded, but all my music are copyright in the United Staes Congres Library,I am a memeber of the American Society or Compser and Publisher,what can i do , so i let it go".

    ETA if anyone wants to discuss this with Dr Farag, he can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sphinxmusic
    Last edited by nikkiraqs; 11-05-2011 at 12:29 PM.


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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by ANA_bellydancer View Post
    I've seen the discussion Raqia started on Facebook about this topic. Did you read it? People argued H & B certainly bought a licence to make their records...
    Could you link to it, please? I would rather keep this discussion here among us, if that's OK.

    The question is whether H & B went to SACEM and paid for the rights (mechanical) to the original compositions. In Raqia's reply, she is accusing them of not having paid for the rights to use the songs. It may be helpful for this discussion to review the article I wrote about music copyright. She is also implying that they did not register their versions with a copyright authority - either in the USA, Germany or Egypt. This is where it all gets very sticky.

    Yasmin writes of copyright law for the Gilded Serpent

    What do you think?


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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by nikkiraqs View Post
    I asked Dr Samy Farag about his song Gawaher, and about the re-recorded version of it used on one of Raqia's CD's as I wanted to know who composed it.

    Dr Farag told me himself that and I quote directly "i did compose the music myself and unfourtauntalyRakia hassan stole that music and put it in one of her taching CDs and called Masriya something like that ...".[/url]
    ... people throwing stones who live in glass houses

    I have heard that H&B are cracking down on the illegal use of their music after they posted the GS article. Perhaps that is why Raqia is speaking out now? Did she use their music on one of her DVDs? Synchronizing music on a DVD is a DIFFERENT right, that also requires a license from the original composer + the owner of the actual recording. Whether or not H&B paid the composers, it is clear they own the rights to their master recording.

    Dr. Farag HAD a very good case against Raqia, as US copyright registration is strong. BUT - there is a 5 year statute of limitations to bring a law suit ... If she released his music over 5 years ago he can do nothing about it now.


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    Master BHUZzer ANA_bellydancer's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Could you link to it, please? I would rather keep this discussion here among us, if that's OK.
    It's on her wall. I don't know if the link works:

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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    The discussion starts below (see "older posts"). Lynette replied with the link to H&B's response on Gilded Serpent.


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    Master BHUZzer norma's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    I can't wait to spend some more time to follow this thread more closely. However, I would like to point out that as much as I love H & B for some of their CD's, I think they are calling the kettle black as they have "stolen" many songs, and have changed the names. Example: Gala Oriental is really, Leilet el Hob.

    So I'm really curious to read the Raqia Hassan article.
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    I think it doesn't matter whether Raqia is right about H&B "stealing" from Egyptian composers.

    It doesn't make her bootlegging of their albums right. Even if she was turning around and giving her profits to the families of Mohamed Abdel Wahab or whomever (which she probably isn't), it isn't her place.

    She's rationalizing. Plain and simple.
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    I don't know which reflects more negatively on these people--that they had to have a conversation about who stole whose music, or that they are sniping at each other on the Internet.

    I am willing to believe that it is possible in Egypt to think you are obtaining legal rights from someone who doesn't actually own them. (OMG, people in Egypt lie to make money or because they think these details aren't particularly important? I can't imagine such a thing! ) Even in my teeny, faraway experience, I've come across ME shop owners who can tell you with a straight face and major commitment that it's totally legal for them to sell you an obviously bootlegged CD. It's not always easy to determine whether some guy is a pathological liar or just more interested in closing a deal than putting ducks in rows.

    I can accept that information may be misunderstood when negotiating business. You're focused on what you want, and they're focused on what they want, and sometimes both sides fail to notice those two objectives aren't the same, especially if you are conversing through a language barrier.

    I assume most musicians in Egypt do not moonlight as intellectual property lawyers, and it would appear that the people at the forefront of Egypt's music licensing field do not make legal enforcement of copyright laws the same priority that ASCAP and BMI do.

    And yet, none of these points address the ethics of accusing another professional of lying or stealing in public.
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by nikkiraqs View Post
    Yes lets!

    Now I think Raqia is a genius and a complete living legend BUT...

    I asked Dr Samy Farag about his song Gawaher, and about the re-recorded version of it used on one of Raqia's CD's as I wanted to know who composed it.

    Dr Farag told me himself that and I quote directly "i did compose the music myself and unfourtauntalyRakia hassan stole that music and put it in one of her taching CDs and called Masriya something like that , i contacted her by emial she never responded, but all my music are copyright in the United Staes Congres Library,I am a memeber of the American Society or Compser and Publisher,what can i do , so i let it go".

    ETA if anyone wants to discuss this with Dr Farag, he can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sphinxmusic
    I love the fact that you posted this on the GS article! Because Raqia saw it and replied:

    Raqia Hassan

    Nov 5, 2011 - 05:11:42

    I found this song in Cairo at the street! Some people were playing it! I will contact Mr. Farag.


    So if anything this discussion has had positive results by pushing her to contact Dr. Farag. Composers need help protecting themselves. I'm sure he could use the money.

    This is why sometimes it is a good idea to air dirty laundry in public ... wrongs get righted, abuse is brought to light (the judge in Texas beating his cerebral palsy daughter with a belt). If more of the big players get called on their illegal behavior they may actually stop doing it.

    I do believe that on one of H&B's album is a reworked version of the intro "Hani" (what we used to call it because it was composed by Hani Mahanna). They changed the name. In my opinion, any time a producer changes the name of a song it is to hide the content of the CD. Legally, it is one right to "cover" a song - make your version of it - and another to create a derivative work of the composition - change the composition - sampling is a good example of this. Did B&H go to SACEM and pay the cover rights to Hani Mahanna to do this? Somehow I doubt it.

    Raqia said "she heard the music on the street ..." and she just took it without a thought of who actually wrote it. Now if the song had been composed by a nobody, she wouldn't have to worry about it. But things are changing in Egypt. I was talking to the people who run the Smithsonian Folkways label and they told me great strides are being made by the people running Makan. I will put a link up to them when I get to my other computer. Things are on the right road. And by having discussions like these and educating people in our profession, the musicians and composers will benefit. We all will because they will be freer to reap the rewards of their creativity.

    Good job Nikkiraqs! Go tell Dr. Farag to expect an email from Raqia.
    Last edited by Serpentine; 11-06-2011 at 10:53 AM.
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    This is why sometimes it is a good idea to air dirty laundry in public ... wrongs get righted, abuse is brought to light (the judge in Texas beating his cerebral palsy daughter with a belt). If more of the big players get called on their illegal behavior they may actually stop doing it.
    That's a valid point, but I'm still in favor of tact whenever possible--at least initially. If someone's being an obnoxious blockhead after you've tried the polite approach, then they've waived their right to discretion and feel free to haul them out into the harsh light of day. On the other hand, if someone expects me to respect them as an eminent teacher, then I expect them to set a comparably eminent example of mature, ethical conduct, too, not to go around harrumphing about pots calling kettles black.

    Raqia said "she heard the music on the street ..." and she just took it without a thought of who actually wrote it. Now if the song had been composed by a nobody, she wouldn't have to worry about it.
    Why is that? Because the average nobody can't afford to sue? Not that this is a glib thing to say, but stealing is stealing, whether you get prosecuted or not. Doesn't Article 156 of Law No. 82 of 2002 (File:Egyptian Intellectual Property Law 82 of 2002 (English).pdf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) seem to imply that if you're a no-name singer with a homemade recording of an original performance, it's still not fair game for some dancer to come along and sell your record without appropriate negotiations/compensation?


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    Advanced BHUZzer nikkiraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Thanks Serpentine! That was very interesting reading Raqia's reply....


    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post


    If more of the big players get called on their illegal behavior they may actually stop doing it.
    I'd hope that would be true and that actually happens. But there a helluva lot of greedy, unethical people out there.


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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Why is that? Because the average nobody can't afford to sue? Not that this is a glib thing to say, but stealing is stealing, whether you get prosecuted or not. Doesn't Article 156 of Law No. 82 of 2002 (File:Egyptian Intellectual Property Law 82 of 2002 (English).pdf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) seem to imply that if you're a no-name singer with a homemade recording of an original performance, it's still not fair game for some dancer to come along and sell your record without appropriate negotiations/compensation?
    Hi Tourbeau,
    I think Yasmin would agree with you. I think you mis-read the sarcasm present in the original:
    "Raqia said "she heard the music on the street ..." and she just took it without a thought of who actually wrote it. Now if the song had been composed by a nobody, she wouldn't have to worry about it. But things are changing in Egypt."

    Just wanted to call for a group hug. I think we all agree.


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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    I'm just a teensy-weensy bit more in the mix of things than all of you... here is what I know...

    There is an organization here in Germany that does yearly festivals and produces DVDs from these festivals showcasing the different talent as well as winners from the competitions. One or 2 of the dancers happened to choose music from B&H CDs to perform to and the performances were included in the DVD.

    The organization received notification from B&H that the organization did not obtain permission to use their music on the DVD production and therefore B&H states that the organization must pay a huge amount of money for this (think many multiple thousands of euros here).

    The organization then turned to Egyptian friends to help them prove that B&H aren't the original 'owners' of the music pieces used in the DVD. Raqia is one of the sources tapped, and I believe that's how and why she entered into this discussion.

    From this point on, I know as much as all of you... if there's been a resolution, I'm not aware of it yet.

    It's difficult with Egyptian music to say who has the rights and so on and so forth because of the arguments already stated in this thread. There are so many different arrangements to the same compositions that it can be difficult to keep up with them... and many of them are classics that are re-created to be 'new'.... many times Momo will listen to a CD and mention to me that a certain piece of music came from another source and then he'll proceed to tell me the entire history of it and where/who it came from.
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    And to continue with the thought about 'new' Egyptian music being recreated from older music...

    Momo recently found a CD with an Accordian Balady that is an exact recreation of a piece that he has on a cassette tape from 20 or so years ago. Unfortunately, the cassette tape doesn't have much information on it, only stating that it's a various mix of balady music from that era. He's teaching a choreography to this piece using the CD version because it's a lot cleaner. The person who produced the CD obviously copied it from another source (maybe the cassette tape version or perhaps even another version), and this piece as well as different arrangements of it can be heard during traditional Egyptian celebrations. The exact roots of it aren't known, at least not to Momo (who blows my mind with his encyclopedia-like knowledge on Egyptian music)... it's a true balady piece passed down from one generation to another.... so who would have the rights to this?

    on another note...

    I also want to mention that Momo has previously purchased the rights to pieces of music from Egyptian composers and soon after found the same music on another CD. He went back to the composer who apologized profusely and claimed "it's only on that one other CD, so it's not a big deal" ... ... hmmm.

    So basically, there can be circumstances where you might think someone is selling 'bootleg' pieces of music or even complete CDs, but in actuality, it's not the case because the composer sells the rights to multiple people.
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    Established BHUZzer Serpentine's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by Teophania View Post
    Hi Tourbeau,
    I think Yasmin would agree with you. I think you mis-read the sarcasm present in the original
    Yes, I was being sarcastic ... I totally agree with you. I was trying to be tactful in writing ...

    xodinahox I am very happy you weighed in with the back story to Raqia's involvement. You have raised many good points and I would love to discuss all of them.

    The beladi piece:
    Beladi progressions and the songs associated with them are in the public domain. Anyone can record them without paying to use the compositions. Where Momo should have done due diligence is to find the owner of the recording he is copying. He does NOT own the rights to that. It is the opposite with B&H. They may not have paid the original composers for their music (for the pieces not in public domain) but they still own the rights to their recordings.

    B&H Synchronization law suit:
    The "synch" rights are what they are asking money for - the right to take their master recording and put it with images. For a small DVD run that usually runs about $1,000 / song. Of course many small composers will sign a license for much less, for publicity or other reasons. It's always best to go straight to the owner of the rights and not through a clearing house.

    Here, in the USA, in order to bring a copyright law suit, the recording needs to be registered with the Library of Congress copyright office before the suit (It doesn't have to be registered in Egypt as well). In Germany I don't know what the laws are. The place of first release is usually where a recording is supposed to be registered. Then, if someone else infringes those rights - IN THAT TERRITORY - they can sue for piracy. Here in the US, using Raqia as an example, if Dr. Farag found that Raqia was selling his music on her DVD in the USA, she could be arrested for music piracy - or have her entrance visa revoked to enter the USA.

    Composers selling music to multiple people:
    That happened to me, too I announced that on Sept 11 I found sheet music written for me by Hassan Abou al-Saoud and Shaker al-Mogi ... turns out Hassan's music is already on the market, as he sold it to other dancers as well. Apparently, he was notorious for doing that. Oh well. I am still going to record Shaker's piece. That is why it is VERY important to have and read an exclusivity contract between you and the composer. At the time I was 23 and I didn't pay attention to details ... That was before business school. I got to dance to his music. That was enough. I was lucky to have been able to do that. No regrets.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Yasmin's intention may have been sarcasm, but I still want to have a serious conversation. In the US, we have implicit protection as soon as you create a work , but we simultaneously have a claim-jumper mentality that whoever registers first wins (for example, someone filed to trademark the words "Occupy Wall Street" late last month). Do Egyptians think, "If you don't file for it, then it's fair game for me to claim it," or do they have a more diffuse understanding of music as communally shared property instead of private revenue streams that require protection? I've been led to believe it's the latter.

    I would bet that some of the parties in xodinahox's example don't have the vaguest idea that reworking chunks of somebody else's music is a problem. A few years ago, Amro Mostafa kicked up a huge storm over singers miscrediting his compositions, and there must be at least an hour of interviews on YouTube where he is waving court documents around and howling about Mohammed Hamaki and Hossam Habib stealing his work...and a lot of Egyptians apparently had no idea what he was getting so worked up about. Have you ever seen that old MTV interview with Vanilla Ice where he's explaining that he didn't rip off Queen because their song goes, "Doo-doo-doo-doodoo-doo-doo" and his version goes, "Doo-doo-doo-doodoo-doo-doo tk," and he's apparently serious? Do Egyptians understand music as intellectual property the same way we do, or is the thought process more like Vanilla Ice's "I changed it some, so why can't I claim it's mine now"?

    And how realistically do they see taking someone else's music as a problem? People over there don't seem to worry that the courts are going to come after them for selling illegal copies. Some of the bootleggers even have the audacity to create brand identities with marketing campaigns. The average music consumer over there, not living under the threat of RIAA lawsuits, doesn't think media copying hurts the musicians, because their money is in live appearances, endorsements, ringtones, etc. Recordings are closer to free samples and advertising for the other work. If Amro Diab (who has enough money that he could afford to chase down people who "steal" his music, and who stands to make a lot more from market-controlled sales if bootlegging could be stopped) doesn't bother to prosecute, why would anyone suspect some poor no-name wedding singer's music wouldn't be fair game?


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    Master BHUZzer SamiraShuruk's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    This is an informative and fascinating thread. Thanks for starting it Yasmin.

    Regarding B & H and the rights on the DVD- their rates if you ask and get permission BEFOREHAND are very reasonable. I've seen their contract.


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    Advanced BHUZzer xodinahox's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    From my understanding of the situation between H&B and this organization, the organization stated that they had spoken with H&B when they were in the works of producing the DVD that would contain music that H&B have on CDs, and that they received verbal permission. What they failed to do was get written permission.... this is where the problem exists. It's a "He said, she said" but no written proof deal.

    Because of this, the organization reached out to Egyptians in the field to help find another angle since the amount of euros that is being demanded is more than a nice chunk of change.

    ....

    Moral of the story... get everything in writing.
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    Established BHUZzer Serpentine's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    "Get everything in writing" is the first lesson my husband and I learned in the movie business ... Hollywood is notorious for talking up a storm with little to back them up. If it's 5 songs they took, that's about $5000 + penalty and interest + lawyers fees. $20,000-$30,000? Law suits can get very expensive. That was why before I went into the Arabic music production business, I studied the laws. I have a lot to loose if I get sued.


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    Established BHUZzer Serpentine's Avatar
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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    To return to Tourbeau's post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    In the US, we have implicit protection as soon as you create a work , but we simultaneously have a claim-jumper mentality that whoever registers first wins. Do Egyptians think, "If you don't file for it, then it's fair game for me to claim it," or do they have a more diffuse understanding of music as communally shared property instead of private revenue streams that require protection? I've been led to believe it's the latter.
    In my opinion, it is because they have not been a society with clear cut and enforced copyright laws. In general, dictatorships and cronyism undermines people's belief in justice and their country's laws - so they do what they want. If things can be perceived as fair, perhaps the tendency would change. But even more important, I think, is the pervading attitude of "he's doing it, so why can't I?" - just like in the beginning of music downloading and piracy on the internet. When a few of the big record houses went after the little guys, they made their point and people thought twice about copying without paying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    I would bet that some of the parties in xodinahox's example don't have the vaguest idea that reworking chunks of somebody else's music is a problem... Do Egyptians understand music as intellectual property the same way we do, or is the thought process more like Vanilla Ice's "I changed it some, so why can't I claim it's mine now"?
    The Germans have a very clear cut understanding of copyright law - and very strict rules about it. We release films in Germany. I have read their contracts. In this particular case it is 2 German entities in a dispute - and no excuse for 3rd world country copyright law interpretation. The EEC has stricter laws than the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    And how realistically do they see taking someone else's music as a problem? People over there don't seem to worry that the courts are going to come after them for selling illegal copies. The average music consumer over there, not living under the threat of RIAA lawsuits, doesn't think media copying hurts the musicians, because their money is in live appearances, endorsements, ringtones, etc. Recordings are closer to free samples and advertising for the other work.
    This is true of Egypt, but not Germany, where the laws are VERY enforceable and the looser has to pay for both sides' lawyers. I think H&B have decided to begin the long arduous task of trying to bring the Arabic music scene within some kind of legal copyright system. They can do it on EEC or US ground - since H is a USA citizen. There is money to be had. $20,000 is not chump change, as xodinahox wrote. H&B's problem is that they didn't research the provenance of their music. If you're going to spend more money than you can afford to loose, you need to at least know what you're buying or NOT ... AND GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.


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    Re: Raqia Hassan vs. Horacio & Beata on Music Piracy in GS

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    The Germans have a very clear cut understanding of copyright law - and very strict rules about it. We release films in Germany. I have read their contracts. In this particular case it is 2 German entities in a dispute - and no excuse for 3rd world country copyright law interpretation. The EEC has stricter laws than the US.
    Sorry, wasn't clear. I was talking about Egyptian musicians recording multiple versions of songs (Post #16), not the part about Germany and international copyrights.


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