I've been working on a website for a long time to meet a need via the Internet, and that is to introduce churches with new young worship song-writers. I've long thought that there must be so many young musicians who have incredible songs of worship in them but don't have the opportunity to bless congregations with what they have received.
To work towards that I've made http://www.newbornworship.com/ a simple site for the moment which I hope may become a free hub for Christians to share their journey of worship, while giving churches new inspiring songs to sing.
So this post is to accomplish a few things:
I like the idea. However, I would suggest that you have anyone who uploads their songs to sign some sort of waiver saying that they indeed have the rights to the song and outline the rights and responsibilities of anyone who downloads the tunes and lead sheets. You know; those obnoxious popups that make you read a bunch of stuff and click the "I Agree" button. Probably seperate texts for uploads and downloads.
Without that, you have a potential legal nightmare. Kingdom Praise (the recordings from Kingdom Tapes) used to have a really nice licensing agreement that you still may be able to find online somewhere. It would make a good template for you. I have probably their entire catalog of CDs and will look it up and try to post here the contents of their policy. I tried to get them to distribute my CD but as their last few sold poorly they decided to drop that endeavor in 1995.
BTW, there are a bunch of us older worship music writers who are indies as well.
Are we welcomed also?
Oops good point David (about well-experienced worship music writers), I didn't intend to exclude you, I'll make sure to be careful with my words on that front. Or perhaps you can take "young" as a compliment!!
Thanks for the idea about the waiver, I have added one to the music upload page that forces the user to agree that they are the copyright owner of the song.
I wonder what the legalities are of uploading covers and reworkings of other songs. For example, if I decided to record a brand new arrangement of Chris Tomlin's "Our God", would there need to be special licensing put in place...?
To be safe, I would absolutely PROHIBIT uploading such works. Unless you have written permission from the publisher/copyright holder you WILL be sued, possibly for millions. So I would limit it to ONLY songs that are otherwise unpublished (or self-published) and ONLY from the composer.
For instance, We do a song called "Come and Dance" written by Glenn Basham (son of evangelist and author Don Basham). Glenn unofficially transfered his rights to the song to me about 10 years ago but I do not think even in that situation I should be allowed to post it.
BTW, is there a process for uploading songs/leadsheets for those of us who are NOT on FB?
Yes, you don't need Facebook to sign up. On the front page under the FB button there is a link "or register without Facebook", and in the menu bar at the right there is a "New Account" link. It'd be interesting to see if that is not obvious enough.
Yeah - that text can get lost by the big blue button for FB. You should probably have a button for that as well, probably a different color.
The PDF for chord charts (words and chords) is good idea, but I would encourage the use of Lead Sheets as well. (words and chords with the melody scored out).
Don't we have a forum like that here on Worship the Rock?
Love the website, both the idea and the site itself.
A few thoughts:
I am sure as this site is brand new you are planning to add more features, but if you aren't already, I'd like to suggest implementing more controls so if we like a song, we can find other songs by that same writer. Possibly writer profiles, but I personally find those annoying because it's yet another thing to maintain. How about at least a link to the writer's home page if they have one. Also, more information on the benefits of joining and FAQ's for people who aren't sure. I know you're still in the getting feedback stage, so I would bet you've got that all in the plan already.
Also, have you checked the legality of using Facebook to log in? The reason I ask, is that according to their terms and conditions, if someone posts an item to Facebook, then Facebook owns the rights to that item. Whereas Facebook wouldn't be hosting the item, I don't think it would be an issue, but it would be something I'd be concerned about.
Now I just have to get some recordings made to share...
Also, have you checked the legality of using Facebook to log in? The reason I ask, is that according to their terms and conditions, if someone posts an item to Facebook, then Facebook owns the rights to that item.
That may be an important point. It might be better just to link to the site from your FB page and then have all the signup stuff on the site itself. It could be that if someone signs up thru FB and then posts something to your site FB may make a claim of ownership on it.
No, Facebook cannot claim copyright for content that you create on another site, whether you log in using your Facebook ID or not. They can only claim copyright for content you post and create on the Facebook site itself (that is, your status updates and profile pictures) and any comments you post in a FB comments box. I know enough about FB app development and what goes in and out of my site database to know that the content in my database cannot be claimed by Facebook. Also, FB connect accounts on the website are only coupled to Facebook by a reference ID, and can be as easily decoupled and made to stand alone as unique logins in their own right. So I have no fear over FB legalities. However, I do need to draw up a proper terms of service for this site so that users know what they are agreeing to.
OK that is good to know. Look forward to see what your TOS look like.
As to lead sheets, you should make the decision whether to ONLY allow PDFs or use actual Word documents (editable) and music score files. If you choose the latter, you should probably link to some free viewer/editor programs for the score files. My son likes Noteworthy Editor (shareware) and Finale Notepad (freeware) can read (with limited edits) almost all Finale/PrintMusic/SongWriter files. I am sure Sibelius and other other notation programs have similar readers.
I really like the idea and think it will bless alot of worship leaders. I am not much of a writer so to have new stuff available that is not mainstream would be great, obviously giving credit where due but not doing the same stuff every other church is doing!!!
I just have one question that I often wonder about, all those who do covers on you tube, how do they get awaywith it without licence to do so? could the same apply here or are they just getting away with something that is wrong?