The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61860   Message #996602
Posted By: Frankham
04-Aug-03 - 02:38 PM
Thread Name: Steering Clear of Copyright cops
Subject: RE: Steering Clear of Copyright cops
"The questions then are these: On Monday Fred made no money, and so, I assume, has defrauded no copyright holder. Is he in the clear?"


" On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Fred did play for money and for ever increasing amounts and in larger public venues. "

Technically he would be construed as being in violation of copyright unless he did this under the auspices of "education" and then he might be exempt under "fair use". The money then might be an honorarium and not a fee. The larger the venues, the more technically he would be in violation. I say technically because many performers appear in concerts all over the country and do not pay publishers or licensing organizations. They can't police everything.
Club owners are particularly vulnerable to a visit from a BMI or ASCAP representative. The problem of who owns the music is now a big issue due to KaaZa and Napster.

My position is that the big licensing organizations are asking for too much. When ASCAP sues the Boy Scouts of America for using songs at their campfires, it gets a little over the top.

"Also, on Wednesday his effort was recorded. When did Fred run afoul of copyright laws? Was it his error, or those who recorded/produced him? On Tuesday morning, would it have been better for Fred to have hired an agent, or a lawyer specializing in contemporary music law?"

If the recording was sold and no royalties were paid the non-pd tunes, then he would be in big trouble if found out. He would probably be sued. Any respectable (if I can rightly use that word) agent or manager would know about such matters and have a procedure to follow. If Fred becomes a star, a music lawyer is de rigeur.

"Or is there a place where Fred could have sent a check to cover all copyright issues and to placate all the copyright holders of the music he simply wanted to share with those who maybe have not heard it before."

Not usually. He would have to negotiate with each publisher for each song unless it has been recorded before in which case it would be under the juridiction of a "compulsory license" but he would still have to pay the publisher just the same. This can be done through the Harry Fox Agency which handles most publisher's accounts. It's on-line.

It's pretty cut and dried.

Frank Hamilton