The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94778 Message #1847738
Posted By: Anne Lister
01-Oct-06 - 04:22 PM
Thread Name: Pitching a Song
Subject: RE: Pitching a Song
I'm even more confused about the point you're making, WLD!
First of all - no, I don't want to contact Derek. He gave me the brush-off twenty years ago and it doesn't appear to weigh in his conscience at all, so I don't intend to appear like an avenging angel at this stage and demand my money. My point originally to you was that it was ironic, out of all the cover versions of my songs that exist, you should ask me to comment on one of only two covers that haven't done the right thing by me as a writer.
In terms of how it might affect future covers of my songs - if those covers are done by people who don't intend to pay royalties to the writer, quite frankly I can live without them. Would I "name and shame"? I wouldn't have done this time if you hadn't asked directly what I thought of Derek's version, but why not? If people are selling their recordings for money then it's a commercial enterprise and they should expect to pay royalties to the writers of any songs that are recorded. That's life. There are copyright free songs out there and they could write their own, but if they want to record my songs then there's a financial consequence. The songs are my copyrighted property, and that's the way it is. In fact, I receive several requests a year from people who are making fewer than 100 copies of their recordings or who are doing something for charity and in those cases I almost always agree to waiving the charges - Derek, on the other hand, didn't ask and I have no idea how many copies he made of his album but I'm willing to bet it would have been more than 100 copies as it wouldn't have been cost effective to make fewer than that on vinyl. Did he pay you to do the session work? If so, that was a cost he factored into the production process just as he should have factored in the licence costs. If not, I'm fairly sure you agreed to do it as a favour - that's your choice. But in my case he didn't ask permission, just went ahead and did it without the licence. Are you saying this is OK because he was short of money? Where does this line of reasoning end? And whether you're right in what you remember of the folk clubs in the 80s (in which case I wonder where my bookings were coming from, as I don't sound like Walter Gabriel or Long John Silver) or not, Derek Brimstone was a far bigger name than me at that time and I'm sure he could have afforded the few quid involved more easily than I could afford to lose them.
As to MCPS and PRS - I, too, have been a full member for pretty much 30 years and I receive easily comprehensible documentation from them, just as when I've recorded my albums I've been able to work out fairly simply what I should do to make sure my songs are registered correctly. If I get stuck on some piece of information, I call them, and there's always a human on the end of the phone who can explain. I can't see how any of this alters the simple fact that when you record someone else's song, there are royalties to be paid.
As this is a thread about how to get other singers to pick up your material it seems important to me to point out that (a) you don't need a publisher necessarily but (b) if you don't have a publisher you probably need to do some homework to work out where and how your royalties will be paid. And (c) inevitably there will be some people who try to avoid paying you. I remain disappointed that this happened twice for me, but on the other hand I've lost count (literally) of how many people have done the right thing, even to the extent of coming to gigs of mine in the US with a small wadge of dollars in their hands because they know the transatlantic system breaks down for us smaller fish.
But, WLD, I still don't understand why you seem to be implying I should let Brimstone and others record my work without permission or licence (if they're broke?), and why my songwriting career might be in jeopardy if I don't.