Why I've Been Depressed And Quiet

I could do an epic orchestra cover of Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” and make good money by riding the S.E.O. train - as outlined in my “Cover Sales vs. Original sales" blog post. But after the wave crashes then all I’m left with is a few dollars and a memory. I can never sell that sheet music, remix it again, release stems, or claim it as my own. I never went to school to be a cover artist.

Back in 2007 I had one of the biggest Youtube channels in the world at 25,000 subscribers. 25,000 subscribers was unheard of back then, crazy - right? But I wasn’t happy because after 400 music lesson episodes I didn’t want to be a guitar instructor - my passion was always with the orchestra.

So I pivoted and started ‘ForOrchestra’ by releasing a few originals but on week 5 I released my 2nd cover song: Lady Gaga ‘Poker Face’. It went viral and was even featured on Perez Hilton, so it hit me - only do covers!

Fast forward to 2014 and my income has dwindled, mainly because I can’t do anything with my arrangements. Sure, I can sell them on iTunes for a $0.50 on each $1 sale but how is that happiness? How is that even remotely what I ever wanted 6 years ago?

It’s not. It’s not what I want. And it’s not what you deserve. I want to have the freedom to sell you sheet music so tomorrow’s children can learn violin, release the stems, have Spotify listening parties, grow the orchestra’s live performances, do music giveaways, and so much more with you.

But I can’t. I’m a prisoner at the hands of the publishers. But it’s not their fault because I dug my own grave knowing which copyrights I had to follow before each song release.

I even wanted to do a treasure hunt recently - where I split a song into 10 pieces and hid each one on a different corner of the internet. Then YOU would have to find them and combine the music.

Basically, virtually anything else other than what I’m doing right now is exactly what I want to do going forward.

So I think ForOrchestra has to change, and fast. It was fine when I had a few dozen songs, but now that I’m at 200 it seems that every week I face the same story and imprisonment of working with other people’s property. Cease and desist letters, royalties, DMCA counter claims, and worse of all: a creative exodus to do what I want with my music.  

The past 6 months haven’t been good. I was creatively empty and going down a road that I didn’t want to go down. When I get older I don’t want to be a 50 year old cover artist. I have 5 cover songs that I’m uploading this week, and then after that I’m done with it.

I have so many original songs that are 10x better than any cover song I’ve written. the issue is that my covers sell 10x as much as my originals. But I’m just going to do it - spearhead it.

TL;DR: All originals from here on out.

I’m going to make it very clear that ‘re-editing’ an artists work does not fall through as giving you the original rights to the artwork, give you ownership of your piece or give you any right to claim that work as your own. You should always ask the original artist for permission. Even so, it’s still correct to add a link to the original piece. It takes, what, 10 seconds to write a short message asking them; “Hey, this work is pretty neat, I have some ideas that I want to explore so can I play around with it, I’ll give credit, and I don’t plan on using it for anything other than for personal use”. Even if they say no (and this is entirely up to them to do so, especially if they are selling their work) you might just make their day. Not only because you made them happy that you’re liking their work, but because you asked.

I hate making these posts, I really do, but I’d rather say something than nothing. Why is it so much easier to commit these offences than it is to report, reduce or correct them..? This is not just a Tumblr thing either, usually my Tumblr requests are fairly quick (thanks for that Tumblr, you do support this stuff fairly well, unlike many other social apps and sites- which actually assume you want to take a simple accusation or case to court… As if we have time and money for that). I just figured i’d post it up here. 

This takes up more time, effort and stress than you would think it should. I’m not naming people (yet) so this is just a general post bringing attention to something that was never really explained to many people.

I’m also taking this time to thank those who do correctly source, support and communicate with other artists. I love you all and to meet and work with people like you is a genuine pleasure.


So photographer David Slater wants Wikipedia to remove a monkey selfie that was taken with his camera. As you can see from this screen shot, Wikipedia says no: the monkey pressed the shutter so it owns the copyright.

We got NPR’s in-house legal counsel, Ashley Messenger, to weigh in. She said:

Traditional interpretation of copyright law is that the person who captured the image owns the copyright. That would be the monkey. The photographer’s best argument is that the monkey took the photo at his direction and therefore it’s work for hire. But that’s not a great argument because it’s not clear the monkey had the intent to work at the direction of the photographer nor is it clear there was “consideration” (value) exchanged for the work. So… It’s definitely an interesting question! Or the photographer could argue that leaving the camera to see what would happen is his work an therefore the monkey’s capture of the image was really the photographer’s art, but that would be a novel approach, to my knowledge.

somesocialjusticebullshit said:

You do realize you are breaking the law by posting some of these pictures online right?

*wipes away tears of mirth*

Whew, thanks! Who doesn’t love a good belly laugh in the morning? Anyhow, as I’ve said before, the Rijksmuseum, the Met, The Walters, the NGA, the Getty, and most museums offer great free images of their Public Domain artworks online and you should utilize these wonderful resources.


That being said, if I have inadvertently used your photograph of a public domain artwork in a way you don’t like, or really, for any reason whatsoever just message me and I will remove the images right away. There’s plenty of legal precedent for me to use them anyways, but honestly that’s just rude. Someone requested images to be replaced with links exactly once in the history of this blog, and really I have no problem doing so.

Some museum like the Met have attempted to place nominal commercial restrictions on some of their images, but U.S. law is well-established that expecting to hold copyright on a photograph of a public domain artwork is Not a Thing.

The thing about the internet is you can either try to hold on to the idea of copyrights that have no legal precedent, or you can get with the times and use new realms of access to get people excited about art history:


^ That’s the message that pops up at Rijksmuseum when you DL one of their awesome hi-Res images. Like this painting of a Javanese Aristocrat from the 1800s:


And this is what I mean by High Resolution:


^ Like, seriously, not kidding you about the image quality.

Watch on wannabeanimator.tumblr.com

How to affordably copyright your art & deal with copyright infringement with Jeral Tidwell | Adventures in Design

Watch on effyeahnerdfighters.com

The Bizarre State of Copyright

In which Hank discusses what intellectual property is, and how copyright is increasingly being policed by dumb robots that don’t have very much to do with the law, but have everything to do with it just being REALLY COMPLICATED and there being terrifyingly massive amounts of media to regulate.

via Muddy Colors

There are six “pillars”—basic rights—protected by copyright and the owner has the exclusive right to do (or authorize others to do) the following:

• Reproduce the work in any manner by any means.

• Prepare derivative works based upon the work.

• Distribute copies of the work to the public directly or through permission granted others via sale, rent, lease, or license.

• Publicly perform the work, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, film and other presentations

• Publicly display the work, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, etc. and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, including individual images from films, TV, et al.

• Digital transfer of sound and/or images or the authorization for others to do so.

Copyright Infringement. HELP!

Hey guys, so I’m sure many of you are familiar with Redbubble.
Two and a half weeks ago, I found a shop on there selling one of my drawings on a t-shirt. 
I never gave consent, and given that I’m in the t-shirt business too, I would never allow someone to sell my work on a shirt, especially without my consent. 
Redbubble has not responded to my multiple emails (specifically their copyright infringement department email) regarding this copyright infringement, and are ignoring me on twitter as well. I’ve taken to replying to their tweets requesting they immediately remove my work from their website. 
But I could use your help too. If you use twitter, please tweet @redbubble and help me MAKE them listen. If this is happening to me, I’m sure it’s happening to others.
Help me stop Redbubble from allowing people to sell our artwork without our consent.
My twitter username is @CarsonDrewIt

The artwork in question is my Solaire drawing.
I’ve been advised to also post a link to the store item in question, so here it is: http://www.redbubble.com/people/frootsnax/works/11123047-solaire-of-astora

If it’s happened to me, I don’t doubt it’s happening to some of you as well. 

Thank you for your help!


I found the offender on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve sent him direct messages. I am not releasing his information yet, in the hopes that he will comply without issue.
If you’ve found him as well through my twitter interactions, I would ask that you refrain from contacting him unless he refuses to remove the artwork. 


Another handy cheat sheet for copyright, fair use, creative commons, and public domain! Everything a student needs to know for their next project or paper.