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PRS Performing Rights Gestapo

GUEST,Jon 08 Jan 08 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,wordy 08 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,windy 08 Jan 08 - 03:39 PM
oombanjo 08 Jan 08 - 04:23 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 08 Jan 08 - 04:26 PM
Geordie-Peorgie 08 Jan 08 - 05:08 PM
Mr Red 08 Jan 08 - 05:14 PM
stallion 08 Jan 08 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 08 Jan 08 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 08 Jan 08 - 09:00 PM
Jim Lad 09 Jan 08 - 02:59 AM
s&r 09 Jan 08 - 03:09 AM
GUEST, on purpose this time 09 Jan 08 - 04:14 AM
Cats at Work 09 Jan 08 - 04:18 AM
pavane 09 Jan 08 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 08 - 04:29 AM
Folkiedave 09 Jan 08 - 04:47 AM
Leadfingers 09 Jan 08 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 09 Jan 08 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 09 Jan 08 - 05:03 AM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Jan 08 - 05:57 AM
johnadams 09 Jan 08 - 07:45 AM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Jan 08 - 07:53 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 09 Jan 08 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 09 Jan 08 - 08:17 AM
Mr Red 09 Jan 08 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 09 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM
johnadams 09 Jan 08 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk 09 Jan 08 - 09:24 AM
artbrooks 09 Jan 08 - 09:38 AM
artbrooks 09 Jan 08 - 09:41 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 09 Jan 08 - 10:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 08 - 10:05 AM
Ruth Archer 09 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM
the button 09 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM
pavane 09 Jan 08 - 10:16 AM
Simon G 09 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 09 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM
Anne Lister 09 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM
The Villan 09 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 12:04 PM
johnadams 09 Jan 08 - 12:10 PM
The Villan 09 Jan 08 - 12:16 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 12:25 PM
Simon G 09 Jan 08 - 12:56 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Windy 09 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 01:30 PM
johnadams 09 Jan 08 - 01:33 PM
George Papavgeris 09 Jan 08 - 01:56 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 08 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 08 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Jan 08 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Jan 08 - 04:18 AM
Folkiedave 10 Jan 08 - 04:27 AM
Anne Lister 10 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk 10 Jan 08 - 04:52 AM
stallion 10 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 08 - 11:59 AM
Mr Happy 10 Jan 08 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM
Bert 10 Jan 08 - 12:28 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 08 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Wordy 10 Jan 08 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Windy 10 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM
Folkiedave 10 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 08 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Jan 08 - 03:01 PM
Simon G 10 Jan 08 - 04:36 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jan 08 - 05:07 PM
Folkiedave 10 Jan 08 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Jon 11 Jan 08 - 03:58 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Jan 08 - 05:18 AM
Anne Lister 11 Jan 08 - 05:28 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Jan 08 - 07:44 AM
Bee 11 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Jan 08 - 08:46 AM
stallion 11 Jan 08 - 10:21 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 11 Jan 08 - 11:22 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Jan 08 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Jon 11 Jan 08 - 11:34 AM
stallion 11 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM
henryclem 11 Jan 08 - 11:41 AM
alanabit 11 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM
The Villan 11 Jan 08 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Musician 11 Jan 08 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,paula t 11 Jan 08 - 04:08 PM
alanabit 11 Jan 08 - 04:29 PM
stallion 11 Jan 08 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 11 Jan 08 - 10:14 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Jan 08 - 11:11 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 08 - 03:38 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 08 - 03:39 AM
GUEST 12 Jan 08 - 04:07 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 08 - 05:28 AM
Simon G 12 Jan 08 - 05:54 AM
stallion 12 Jan 08 - 06:30 AM
stallion 12 Jan 08 - 07:15 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 08 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 12 Jan 08 - 12:27 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 08 - 12:33 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 08 - 06:24 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Jan 08 - 09:04 PM
Barry Finn 12 Jan 08 - 11:38 PM
Barry Finn 12 Jan 08 - 11:39 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jan 08 - 03:49 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 08 - 04:19 AM
Simon G 13 Jan 08 - 04:21 AM
stallion 13 Jan 08 - 04:56 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Jan 08 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Psychomorris 13 Jan 08 - 12:21 PM
Tootler 13 Jan 08 - 12:47 PM
stallion 13 Jan 08 - 01:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jan 08 - 05:07 PM
The Villan 14 Jan 08 - 01:06 PM
synbyn 15 Jan 08 - 06:03 AM
Simon G 15 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM
Folkiedave 15 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM
Brendy 15 Jan 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Jan 08 - 08:02 AM
pavane 16 Jan 08 - 08:20 AM
Simon G 16 Jan 08 - 08:24 AM
pavane 16 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Windy 16 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 16 Jan 08 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,Helen 17 Jan 08 - 04:42 AM
GUEST 17 Jan 08 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 17 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Windy 17 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 17 Jan 08 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 17 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 17 Jan 08 - 12:27 PM
pavane 17 Jan 08 - 12:45 PM
pavane 17 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM
Jim Martin 17 Jan 08 - 10:18 PM
s&r 18 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM
GUEST 18 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM
The Villan 18 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM
stallion 18 Jan 08 - 07:42 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Jan 08 - 02:45 AM
GUEST,but must have a name - nice welcome 19 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM
The Villan 20 Jan 08 - 01:37 AM
stallion 20 Jan 08 - 04:26 AM
alanabit 20 Jan 08 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,Elizabeth Ntsele 20 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM
The Villan 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Elizabeth Ntsele 20 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 20 Jan 08 - 03:25 PM
The Villan 20 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM
Lowden Jameswright 20 Jan 08 - 04:02 PM
GUEST, Tom 20 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM
Lowden Jameswright 20 Jan 08 - 04:14 PM
alanabit 20 Jan 08 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Windy 20 Jan 08 - 06:19 PM
pavane 21 Jan 08 - 03:07 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 21 Jan 08 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Nigel Spencer (cookieless) 21 Jan 08 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Nigel Spencer (cookieless) 21 Jan 08 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 21 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM
pavane 21 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM
alanabit 21 Jan 08 - 09:50 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 21 Jan 08 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 21 Jan 08 - 01:14 PM
The Villan 21 Jan 08 - 01:39 PM
Howard Jones 21 Jan 08 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Jan 08 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Jan 08 - 03:52 PM
pavane 22 Jan 08 - 03:11 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jan 08 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 22 Jan 08 - 05:24 AM
GUEST,Jon (Freeman who did not use the term Gestpo 23 Jan 08 - 04:23 AM
mattkeen 23 Jan 08 - 05:33 AM
George Papavgeris 23 Jan 08 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Jon 23 Jan 08 - 06:55 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 08 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,clockwatcher 23 Jan 08 - 07:43 AM
pavane 23 Jan 08 - 07:47 AM
mattkeen 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM
Jon Nix 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM
mattkeen 23 Jan 08 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Jon Freeman 23 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM
pavane 23 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM
Jon Nix 23 Jan 08 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,New Guest 23 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM
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Subject: PRS Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 02:51 PM

Hi Everyone,
Has anyones else's pub venue had a visit from the Performing Rights Society Gestapo, demanding many hundreds of pounds from an unsuspecting landlord against threats of court action which will cost thousands?

Our poor landlord was taken for over £700 on the pretext that someone at our folk sing-around might (repeat MIGHT) decide to sing a copyrighted tune. This is despite him already paying both the local council and PLL for the right to play music.
They said the money would go to the songwriters.....ha ha! I have written a number of songs that are sung at folk sessions round here and never received a penny piece from the PRS.

It is the big record companies that are behind this, trying to recoup the revenue lost through illegal downloads.

Has anyone else been able to successfully fight this self-appointed police force?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM

You won't get PRS royalties unless you are a member and your songs are logged for collection.However your Ralph McTells and John Tams etc are members and will get a very small % of whatever is collected.
That should make you feel better, knowing that the creative people are getting a penny or two for the pleasures they provide.(and that's not irony!)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,windy
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 03:39 PM

Ok,then Wordy-PRS might reasonably assume that Streets of London might be attempted and bung McTell(via his publisher)a few pence out of that 700 nicker in return for his £100+ pa membership,but who is going to tell them someone warbled a Tams ditty?
Are you sure that they won't simply assume the pub is playing pop stuff like all the others and split the dosh up between Northern Songs,Chappells etc etc..after,of course,taking a generous consideration for their own valuable services-including a commission for what may have been a self-employed nark?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: oombanjo
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:23 PM

Bring back the stocks. If they appear you know where to put em. The songs I write are For the pleasure of singing


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:26 PM

As far as I'm aware, English civil law is still based on the concept of the reasonable man. And that reasonable man would tell 'em to arseholes...
To win any action, PRS would have to prove, repeat, prove, that copyright material had been performed. They're also plaguing festivals. The fact is that live music in small venues is incredibly inconvenient for the profiteering establishment. They would prefer arena gigs and a strictly controlled world of recordings. As an MU member I fully appreciate how difficult it can be to make any sort of living, but this is not only bullshit, it's dishonest.
KYBTTS


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Geordie-Peorgie
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 05:08 PM

When aah've come across the PRS 'spooks' they've aalwez introduced themselves to US as a band and noted what WE sang and confirmed details at the end - It wez doon te us, NOT THE LANDLORD.

As the landlord has nee control over what a band/performer plays aah don't see how PRS could do him - Unless he has a Juke Box an' aall.

Am aah out of touch wi' this?? Can the PRS really dee this to a landlord?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 05:14 PM

that would be the PRSS then


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 05:18 PM

I think that any music used for reward of some kind ought to have remuneration for the writers, however, as with another thread about Dylan, I get hacked off with people laying claim to traditional tunes and lyrics and copywriting them, as for PRS, if the money was distributed to the correct people then good on them but it isn't and is a bloody bare faced scam. I have no problems in providing lists of songs at gigs and giving a percentage of the earnings, after expenses, 10% of next to F. A. is sweet F.A., to shift the burden onto venues is another nail in the coffin of live music in small venues, shall I rabbit on, nah, where's me coat!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:44 PM

With respect, this is a little more complicated than some of the above posts would suggest, and as misinformation can be unhelpful in the greater scheme of things, with your permission I'd like to set a few things straight.

As their website says; PRS is owned and run by its members; the creators of music, not some government quango. I've been a member for a long time and always found them approachable, helpful and willing to take ideas and complaints on board.

It doesn't cost £100 a year to be in PRS. There is a one off joining fee of £100, and thereafter a percentage system operates, so members are soon into profit. Your music does not have to have been published or recorded for you to be eligible for PRS writer membership, so all UK Mudcatters who write or perform (ergo 'arrange') trad material may join.

Even small-time writers like me do well out of PRS. Apart from royalties from radio plays and larger concerts and festivals, there is a system called the 'gigs and clubs scheme' which does not require lists of songs to be submitted by the promoter (as is the case with designated 'concert' venues such as folk festivals, arts centres and the larger clubs) , but rather a 'standard' set list submitted by artists for every the pub or club gigs that we do which is not covered by 'concert' sales. This pays out many hundreds of pounds per annum to an artist like me who mainly does his own material - a useful part of my income, so the money does get to the right people at least some of the time.

I'm not sure where the demand for £700 came from. Since the demise of the old two-in-a-bar rule the PRS licence is now, I believe, collected with all the other licences that a pub has to have to operate so either a pub is licensed for music (of any type; live, muzac, juke box or kareoke) or it isn't. But I may be wrong about this.

As for whether people should (through beer sales, in this case) pay a tiny amount for the right to enjoy performing someone else's copyright material in a public place, well, that's a different debate, but as we usually do have to pay in one way or another for the use of anything at all made by some artisan as part of his living, I for one think it's fair.

Paying to play you own songs seems a bit much, of course, but as its really impractical to split the music played in sessions and clubs down to the constituent categories of 'own copyright/unregistered,' 'copyright/registered,' 'copyright arrangement' and 'out of copyright' I don't have too much problem with the PRS's catch-all system. Even if it does cost £700 a year, £2 a day doesn't seem so very steep to me given the profit that pubs make on beer (which is only fizzy dirty water after all!)

The suggestion that people lay claim to traditional tunes and lyrics is also erroneous. It IS possible to register an ARRANGEMENT of an out-of-copyright work, ONLY - in which case the arranger will receive royalties for performances of that arrangement only (in other words usually for his own performances of that work, ONLY). Everyone else is still free to perform or record that song or tune, for free, or if they chose make their own arrangement - for which they will get - if they join PRS - a fair fee.

There is of course a debate to be had over whether this is fair or not, but when you start to examine the options seriously you soon realise that you need to draw a line somewhere, because not all publicly-owned material is what we folkies call 'trad' and some arrangements really are very original and do deserve a royalty. The most logical place to draw that line seems to me where it is drawn now: IE arrangements are copyright, while the works themselves remain free to all.

Hope that's helpful

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 09:00 PM

Oh I forgot to mention that the PRS also fund festivals and do many other things to help promote and develop music, writers and artists, so some of the money does find its way back one way or another.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Lad
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:59 AM

Had an experience for a number of years where SOCAN (Canadian performing rights equivalent) was making themselves known at my most regular venues and making life miserable for the landlords.
Took a long time to figure out who the source was but in each case it looked like a disgruntled Musician's Union member was setting the dogs on any business that turned him down for a gig.
They are Mafia. Pure & simple.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: s&r
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 03:09 AM

We yielded with some reluctance at the local festival to the bizarre demand that we should tell the licensed premises in which we operated to suspend their licence for the period of the festival, and we should pay a percentage of the overall ticket price to the PRS. The PRS fee was being paid previously, but that was not good enough.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, on purpose this time
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:14 AM

Tom wrote a great deal of sense and useful info there....but I would take up one point he wrote...

'Your music does not have to have been published or recorded for you to be eligible for PRS writer membership,
so all UK Mudcatters who write or perform (ergo 'arrange') trad material may join.'

I was 'accepted' for membership only a few months ago - after a handful of attempts over a good few years!
I had been 'turned away' as they did not seem to want accept (I assume) any 'little fish' that would cost more
in admin than they could collect for.
I had to submit PROOF that my 'works' were being broadcast and/or performed over the previous year.
It did feel very much like - 'come back when you're big enough'
and a definite feel of - 'we will decide if and when you pass the test'. - Not a very nice feeling! - but I do understand why they take such a stance.

I DO feel they perform a useful and very neccessary function though, collecting and collating royalties that are rightfully due,
distributing them to their relevant member artists.
That is why (as a performer for several years at clubs, festivals, with airplay on radio and even TV!)
I persevered for so long (and, thankfully, was finally accepted).
So be aware - 'all mudcatters may (attempt to) join' - not all will be readily accepted.
But, if at first you don't succeed....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Cats at Work
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:18 AM

Thanks for your sensible explanation, Tom. As I live with a songwriter and know how little they get back for their work I can only support what PRS are trying to do. All songwriters want their songs sung and that has to be the bottom line. That's why they do it. If someone is performing them in a concert or festival and they let PRS know then the songwriter might get back the small amount that is their right. I suppose it's a bit like saying that someone who writes a book and publishes it shouldn't have the money from the sales. Other types of music applaud their writers and are willing to pay the small amount for royalties, so why not folk music as well?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:22 AM

And don't forget there is a lot more in copyright than you may think.

Such as Happy Birthday to You - still in copyright.

But I believe that they certainly shouldn't be able to get a penny without proof that copyright works have been performed.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:29 AM

To make a blanket claim on the basis that somebody 'might' sing a copyrighted song is offensive to the extreme and should be resisted. If it is general practice, it is yet another nail in the coffin of folk clubs.
Similar moves were afoot some time ago here in Ireland with the Irish Performing Rights Organisation IMRO.
They decided to move in on venues were traditional music was played; at first their moves were strongly resisted by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, but when IMRO offered to cut them in on the deal it became a case of 'about turn - quick march'.
Don't know how things stand at present, but wheels tend to grind slowly here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:47 AM

I have a lot of sympathy with musicians and the radio station I work for is very strict on filling in the form.

My problem with PRS in the past was with a festival when they wanted a percentage of turnover. Since we were filling in PRS forms we objected to paying PRS on camping and so on....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:50 AM

One of my regular clubs had one of the PRS gestapo turn up and DEMAND that all performers filled in a PRS form - Oddly enough , every thing performed that night was either 'Self Penned' or Trad - Arranged by !!
Never heard from them again .


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 04:53 AM

Yes, I was turned down many times in my youth, even though I was writing music for TV and publishing songs with Pete Waterman. I never seemed to manage to make my application the right way at the right time. But it's reasonable that PRS should ensure that only bona fide writers join, otherwise the system would soon collapse.

The issues of copyrighting trad arrangements and making blanket collections for sessions are both thorny, and I'm not as sure of my views in this area as I am over written pieces, but rest assured that there is plenty of healthy debate at the upper levels, with the MU folk section and various UK folk organisations keeping a watchful eye.

Obviously there is a school of thought among folkies that all 'folk' music belongs to the people, and that to licence it is some kind of theft. But in truth many many common session tunes are still very much in copyright, as are a great many supposedly trad songs.

The sums involved for pubs are tiny compared with turnover. The PRS do operate within the law, and mainly tend only to 'hassle' landlords who are trying to avoid their legal responsibilities.

It can be more of a problem for festivals, but the money should be there if basic financial principles are being followed.

There have been two recent changes re folk festivals which may explain some of the confusion. The PRS festival tariff was actually introduced to help reduce the costs to trad-orientated festivals, but has I think now been abandoned as unnecessary and unworkable (I may be wrong - but that was the way it was going last time I looked). Others can probably give better info on this than I can.

People who feel there should be no licences involved in folk music might like to consider what would happen if we scrapped the TV licence, for example. There'd be no BBC and commercial interests would be even more in control.

Like it or not, all the music we call folk was written by someone some time, and money or other remuneration has always been a factor more often than not. It's just the way the world goes round.

PRS is not perfect, but it's better than nothing, and I do know they actively seek ways to make their systems fairer and more accurate all the time.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 05:03 AM

I read, on a message board - was it Mudcat?, a few years ago that in Italy the equivalent of a "pub session" had to supply a list of tunes/songs played to their licensing authority.

Further on this, I have a John Kirkpatrick tune book - which I payed for and I assume JK got his cut from the sale. To me this implies that I have, through the purchase of the book, got the right to play these tunes as long as I don't earn anything from the playing (in cash or kind) in a public place such as a festival campsite. Is this so?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 05:57 AM

"People who feel there should be no licences involved in folk music might like to consider what would happen if we scrapped the TV licence, for example. There'd be no BBC and commercial interests would be even more in control."

In Australia the 'license fee' was scrapped MANY decades ago - and Govt money still flows to the ABC (Radio & TV & Radio Australia - the overseas service) and SBS Radio & TV... The ABC costs each taxpayer 8 cents a day, they keep telling us... :-)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: johnadams
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 07:45 AM

While I'm in agreement with most of what Tom Bliss says and firmly believe that artists should get suitable recompense for their creativity, the original poster and Dazbo at work rightly point out that self entertainment in the form of a singaround or session, where no fees are paid, really should be left alone.

I've got no problem with folk clubs, who are part of the 'entertainment industry', paying a small fee to PRS and the 'gigs and clubs scheme' sounds just the job.

But when we sessionaires gather in the pub and ask the question "Have you heard this one?" does it make a difference if we play a tune or tell a joke? Both are non income generating and should be toll free.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 07:53 AM

"does it make a difference if we play a tune or tell a joke? Both are non income generating and should be toll free."

Well, they won't touch you when you do it in your private home.... yet...


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:05 AM

Hi John

Yes I agree, and would prefer sessions to be licence-free - but there are three points to be remembered.

First off is that its not unknown for landlords to pay a few of the session leaders (even if only in beer) to make sure the thing happens and happens well. Plus a session is, from the landlord's point of view, an event which does generate revenue in terms of drinks sales. I wouldn't say that means it's right to demand a licence, but it is I believe one of the arguments put forward by PRS.

The second issue is that as I said earlier a great number of the tunes that are commonly played in sessions are in fact in copyright. Now, getting royalties to the estates of the writers is a different matter (assuming they even care - which many probably don't), but the licence money from sessions does at least go into the pot and some of it comes out again to deserving causes - so again it's not as straightforward an argument as one might think.

The third is that there is no clear definition of a session as opposed to a club meeting, or a singers night, or a proper gig. Musical gatherings take place in many forms and may contain any percentage of copyright material, from 0 to 100% - and you might not know which till after the event (if anybody was bothering to keep count - assuming they even knew who wrote what and when). That's why PRS aim to collect on all gatherings, but keep the price very cheap (which it is, whatever grumpy landlords may say) and hope to share the money out as fairly as possible in the right general direction.

As I say, not perfect, but probably better than at least some of the alternatives.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:17 AM

Dazbo, if I understand the position correctly, the copyright on a book covers only the publication itself ie you cannot copy the book without the permission of the publisher.

The public performance of the music contained in the book is an entirely separate copyright, and it is this which is administered by PRS. It makes no difference whether or not the performer is remunerated, it is the right to perform which is paid for, although this is made by the venue owner rather than the performer.

I am with John Adams when he queries whether non-income generating sessions should be covered. But both copyright law and the Licencing Act appear to have difficulty with the notion of someone playing for nothing but the fun of it.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:19 AM

My gripe is that if I go and sing trad songs, or my own - in theory PRS has to be paid. But they won't pay me unless the venue is big enough. As if I am going to do floor spots in the Royal Albert Hall........

What really annoys me is that the Stroud Ceilidhs have to pay 40 GBP to PRS for the right of bands to play traditional dance tunes that they personally have arranged because it is a local gov venue. And it can't make a profit. I don't care who claims copyright on 400 year old tunes - they didn't write. But then stealing the ownership of other peoples' tunes goes back to Henry the Eighth's green sleeves (allegedly).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM

Hi Cresby

As I said earlier, no-one can claim copyright on 400-year-old tunes, only on their arrangement of those tunes.

One solution to both problems might be to join PRS, and claim through the gigs and clubs scheme which covers small venues.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:00 AM

I had no trouble joining as I wrote a minor hit record. But the bit I find very annoying is that they are very picky about who pays.

I heard Inter Milan footy club had bought up all the picture disc copies of my record and were playing it at their matches. Didn't get a cent there.   I pointed out that a major TV station had used a snatch of it for trailer for their show - I got an e-mail today, I'm not being paid for that.

And yet there are these horror stories of little pubs being turned upside down, til the change falls out of their pockets.

Better than nothing it may be Tom, but that's not saying much.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: johnadams
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:21 AM

Bugger! I wrote a long reply and Mudcat swallowed it! Here goes again.

Tom Bliss wrote:

First off is that its not unknown for landlords to pay a few of the session leaders (even if only in beer) to make sure the thing happens and happens well. Plus a session is, from the landlord's point of view, an event which does generate revenue in terms of drinks sales. I wouldn't say that means it's right to demand a licence, but it is I believe one of the arguments put forward by PRS.

That may be so but I don't think that undermines my standpoint. Lots of oiling the wheels goes on in life and it doesn't all have to be regulated. I go to more sessions than anything these days, and they are mostly populated by enthusiasts sharing. In a pub near me they share poetry and stories and nobody charges them. OK, music has more of a commercial element to it, but it's not difficult differentiate between what's done for fun and what's done for profit and if there's a grey area, so what? PRS has plenty of grey areas elsewhere.




The second issue is that as I said earlier a great number of the tunes that are commonly played in sessions are in fact in copyright. Now, getting royalties to the estates of the writers is a different matter (assuming they even care - which many probably don't), but the licence money from sessions does at least go into the pot and some of it comes out again to deserving causes - so again it's not as straightforward an argument as one might think.

The session movement, and it is a movement with hundreds of participants, generally accept that tunes go into the public domain and dissemination and performance of them is welcomed. If the tunes are adopted and performed or recorded commercially or even if they appear in the background of a tv doc shot in the pub, then there is a fee payable. If some hen party sings the Birdy Song or whatever the present equivalent is, in order to entertain themselves or their mates, nobody thinks of slapping a toll on them. Music can have a free cultural existence alongside its commercial arm. If I hum a copyright tune in the street I don't pay anyone. If I move across the threshold of a pub, I should still not have to pay anyone. If I charge anyone to hear me doing it, then there's a fee. And that should apply to my few compositions as well. Simplistic, yes - but common sense.

The third is that there is no clear definition of a session as opposed to a club meeting, or a singers night, or a proper gig. Musical gatherings take place in many forms and may contain any percentage of copyright material, from 0 to 100% - and you might not know which till after the event (if anybody was bothering to keep count - assuming they even knew who wrote what and when). That's why PRS aim to collect on all gatherings, but keep the price very cheap (which it is, whatever grumpy landlords may say) and hope to share the money out as fairly as possible in the right general direction.

While I agree that this can be a grey area, PRS appear to have an inconsistent attitude to grey. At the other end of the scale there seems to be a lot of big boys hoovering up the royalties that should accrue to some of those at the bottom of the food chain. I know some comes back via PRS Foundation but conversations with one of the officers who I know leads me to believe that not a lot comes to our neck of the woods.

I'm willing to be swayed by other facts but from where I'm standing, while I support PRS and its overall aims, it's not doing the roots of music, as practised by thousands who will never get on a stage or record a note, any favours with its present approach.

J


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:24 AM

It makes no difference whether or not the performer is remunerated, it is the right to perform which is paid for....

So should a busker be paying royalties?
Legally?
Morally?

I always understood that you can sing / play anything but when you record / print it you owe royalties.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:38 AM

As a fascinated observer of this discussion, I have a question that perhaps someone could address:


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:41 AM

Sorry...hit the wrong button...

Does this organization pay out to non-UK songwriters? For example, if Mudcatter Alaska Mike has one of his songs performed (and I know that a few people over there have picked up Put that Budweiser Back in the Clydesdale), do they send him money? If not, what happens to the percentage of the take that originates with US/non-UK writers?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:03 AM

Good points raised since my last, and I don't disagree with any of them. I guess I just sometimes feel its all too easy to cast PRS as some kind of restrictive arts police, instead of looking at the challenge of copyright remuneration carefully, and trying to bring some constructive thoughts and solutions to the table.

Tom

Artbrooks - there are reciprocal arrangements between most of the rights organisations around the world. But I'm not sure how well they work.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:05 AM

Its a recprocal arrangement. GEMA and collecting sagencies like that abroad, pay the PRS to send the money for our work, and PRS pay their writers for their work and send it to their collecting agency to give them.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM

Art, i think the question is answered with the second post in the thread:

"You won't get PRS royalties unless you are a member and your songs are logged for collection."


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: the button
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:13 AM

I think that, to be on the safe side, no-one should perform Streets of London ever again.

You know it makes sense.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM

........or Wild Rover, Duelling Banjos, Fields of Athenry & many more!!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:16 AM

The biggest gripe about all these licencing groups is that, as noted above, the little man gets nothing, and all his share goes to Madonna and co.

Technology could now solve this, for prerecorded music, by including a program and some addresses to which small payments could be made directly, but I don't see that as likely. The existing system suits the big players. Doesn't help with the PRS problem though.

I suspect that the 700 pounds mentioned at the start was for a blanket annual licence which the landlord was perhaps pursuaded to take instead of the PRS taking legal action (bluffing, I expect)

johnadams,
A little tip. If I have a long post, I write it in notepad and then paste it into Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Simon G
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM

Just looked at the PRS pricing (tough to find it buried on their site)

http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/PPS%20Price%20Guides/Pubs%20and%20Bars%20Price%20Guide.pdf

It substantially discriminates against small gatherings with a charge of 7.62+VAT for each event with up to 100 people. So if 1 person sings in the pub for fun with nobody else present the landlord gets to pay PRS £8.95. If 99 (or is it 100) are listening the charge is the same! If the pub capacity is over a 100 it is even more expensive, even if only 1 person is present.

Compare that to a paid ticket event with 50 people each paying £6 - revenue £300, PRS payment 3% = £9.00, but only if the music event revenue for the pub exceeds £15,500 pa.

This (I think new in Oct 2007) pricing if enforced would wipe out most folk clubs. Is it discriminating against small venues? Is it discriminating against small organisations? Why? Because the small guys ain't got any muscle.

Don't worry though the landlord can replace the live music with 24 hour a day muzak from the radio for 40p per day.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM

..........so, if a folkie is in a pub & there's no one there to hear him, does he make a noise?


Just gettin' me coat!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM

You do not have to pay these people from the PRS they come into your pub or venue and they make you think they are the governing body but there is other organisations that are cheaper that you can pay that covers you for your events.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM

"the little man gets nothing, and all his share goes to Madonna and co". Pavane, and others who have stated this belief at various times, it is incorrect. The little man will get something, if he (or she, in the case of the little woman) has registered his/her songs with PRS, just as long as it gets above a - pretty low - threshold.

Now, my name is not on everyone's lips, so to speak. Yet this little man has been getting every quarter since 2003 his little share of the loot, regulal as clockwork, backed with a full analysis of shows or festivals or venues or performances linked to it (I follow Roy Bailey's movements through that!). It's not much, I won't give up the day job yet, but it has never fallen below £40, and half the time it is in the low hundreds. And through the reciprocal arrangements I have seen payments from the Netherlands, Australia and Germany.

I will not defend PRS' aggressive fee-collecting tactics. But at the other end of the animal, something does come out indeed.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM

Points taken about PRS not always listening to the views and requirements of the smaller end of the folk sector.

Maybe one solution would be for more folk club and session organisers to join the FCO Forum, and then - with that franchise behind it - form an organisation with a bit of muscle (as has already been debated on the list) which could lobby PRS on these issues.

The MU does a great job representing artists, but maybe there more to be said by club and session organisers.

We could discuss it at the folkWISE (The FCO and Britfolk's Kindly Uncle) board meeting on Sat. What do you think George?

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Anne Lister
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM

Just a sideline about the songbook query ... you can also buy copies of playscripts. But if you wanted to put on a performance of the plays in question you have to buy a license to do this, whether or not you're making a profit (hollow laughter there for most drama groups!). It's the way it is. On the other hand (and perhaps this is the analogy for the session/singaround) if you were using scenes from the plays for acting classes then no license fees are payable. So buying the songbook doesn't give you the right to play the songs in public royalty-free any more than buying the playscript gives you the right to put on a production of the play.

From my point of view as a songwriter whose songs have featured in the repertoire of other performers - I have no issue with them being performed in singarounds with no money coming my way. But if they feature in someone's repertoire as a guest (when they are being paid a fee) then I would hope the royalties would come my way. The trouble is, as someone has mentioned earlier, the question of payment in a singaround or session is somewhat complicated, and as the pub would need a licence for music for the session to take place in the first place (surely?) then it shouldn't be an extra cost to the landlord for each and every time it happens. It should simply be the cost of the licence for the pub, covering live music. Unless I've got this wrong, which is entirely possible.

Incidentally, although there are indeed reciprocal arrangements for the payment of royalties internationally I don't think I've ever seen payment for my songs when performed in the US. Did have one payment through from Canada. Once.

Anne


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:57 AM

So if you take a Village Hall that has the PEL, are they covered automatically for PRS?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:01 PM

Anne, I have to make a small correction to the above, before the argument strays: You say "if (my songs) feature in someone's repertoire as a guest (when they are being paid a fee) then I would hope the royalties would come my way".

In this case it is immaterial if the performer is being paid or not. The issue is whether the performances are of commercial benefit to the venue. That's why it is the venue, and not the performer, that gets licensed (that also answers the inevitable perennial query about busking). So PRS would argue that a regular session at a pub attracts business, therefore a license is due. An impromptu session would not, however.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:04 PM

Les,

PEL collects fees for the performers of music.
PRS collects fees for the copyright holders.
They are two different things, and yes, you, or rather the village hall) would still need a PRS license. The venue may have it already, or you may be able to pay a one-off (rather than annual) fee.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: johnadams
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:10 PM

Anne wrote:

Just a sideline about the songbook query ... you can also buy copies of playscripts. But if you wanted to put on a performance of the plays in question you have to buy a license to do this, whether or not you're making a profit (hollow laughter there for most drama groups!). It's the way it is. On the other hand (and perhaps this is the analogy for the session/singaround) if you were using scenes from the plays for acting classes then no license fees are payable. So buying the songbook doesn't give you the right to play the songs in public royalty-free any more than buying the playscript gives you the right to put on a production of the play.

Good point but there's still a difference in that if someone puts on a play, it's with the intention of having an audience and it is a 'performance'. Sessions aren't necessarily for an audience - they are usually for the participants. In my local session there's often nobody but the sessionaires in the room, although we can be heard in the next bar, not that they take much notice. We don't consider ourselves to be performing. (... and therefore shouldn't attract the attention of the Performing Rights Society). Phhhhhhhrp!

J


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:16 PM

Ta George


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:25 PM

John see above - the Performing Rights Society does not collect fees on behalf of performers, rather it licenses venues for the performance of works, on behalf of the copyright holders. It's a "license to perform" the copyrighted work, but it is charged to the venue.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Simon G
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:56 PM

I don't think it matters a jot whether the performance is of commercial benefit to anyone. It is the fact a work is performed that attracts the need for a licence. For example, PRS specifically waive fees for performances in religious services, but still require a licence.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:07 PM

It does not matter if it is in fact of commercial benefit, I agree. But this is the rationale that PRS is employing, that's all I am saying. So, if one wants to defend their own case and avoid the license, this is the logic path they must follow (i.e. prove that it is not of commercial benefit).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Windy
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM

Not many M/cat posters appear to disagree with the principle of paying writers&arrangers where their work is performed for gain,so we don't need to keep repeating it.Make a return of such works at concerts-sure,why not?

The issue raised in the original post is oppressive imposition of an annual fee by the PRS,to wit: at informal gatherings of funsters(IGF's).

The postings generally confirm the odium:
PRS adopt the legally questionable position that all music performance venues have to pay this'licence fee'regardless of origin to intimidate promoters,while straining to define the profit on a few exra pints (or coffees)as reward.
An intolerably large proportion of such annual fees finds its way by default into the pockets of those unconnected with and possibly hostile to,IGF's.
The arrival of a PRS rep hinting at litigation may well shape a landlords opinion that it would be less bother to entertain the few punters prepared to brave the smoking ban,driving,price of beer etc. with Murdoch's output(as loud as he likes,of course)than to permit freedom of expression in a few beardies.

Juxtapose the realisation(for me)that they actually turn down people proffering £100(ok,one-off,but plus a percentage)with their zeal re.venues and they really do look dubious.It certainly vitiates any claim to represent writers as well as their assertion that 'it is your organisation'(see previous threads).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:30 PM

You're right there, Windy. I heard of a couple of other cases being refused membership, and cannot for the life of me imagine why or with what logic. When I joined them, back in 2002, I had only one or two covers, and indeed for the first year I never got any money because I didn't get a peep above the threshold, which was £30 a quarter if I remember right (I think it's £20 now). But they took my joining fee all right.

And their aggressive stance towards certain venue categories is indefensible, in my view.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: johnadams
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:33 PM

Yes, George, I'm clear what the organisation does and who it is for.

In a sense, I'm posing a philosophical question. If you have to pay for playing copyright material to nobody for no fee then there is something wrong. (I like that comment about the lone folkie in the pub with no audience -does he make a noise!) By extension, we'll soon have to pay to play in our own houses. Will we have to pay if PRS hear us whistling in the street? It starts to get to be a ridiculous argument doesn't it.

There HAS to be a body of material in a popular 'vernacular' culture and some of it will be subject to copyright. The 'vernacular' (for want of a better word) culture is, in my mind, divorced from commerce and is an everyday expression and celebration of the arts in our lives. There is the freedom for a person to whistle a pop song in the street, or share a tune with fellow musicians at a house party. The difficulty comes when we cross over that threshold into the pub which is or was the traditional place to share music such as ours. Unfortunately, modern times have brought a commercial aspect to music in pubs. If it's a pub gig or folk club, no problem. Pay a fee.

My problem is that PRS want to draw the line between commercial activity and ordinary everyday music celebration lower than I want it drawn, thus curtailing what I perceive to be a freedom.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:56 PM

No argument there John, we are aligned philosophically. I agree the barrier set by PRS is too low. If it were up to me, I wouldn't even want the pub to have to be licensed for the sake of a folk club either, on the basis that any commercial benefit from more pints pulled would be offset against the rent that the folk club has to pay anyway.

I'd like to see PRS or their equivalent try their tactics on Greek tavernas, they'd be lynched before they reach the exit. Or, more likely, they'd be lunched and things would be sorted out that way.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:11 PM

Some random points.


You can opt out of the PRS collecting PRS fees for performances by you of your own compositions, and elect to self adminster the self-performance right. That was what the U2/PRS litigation was about.

U2 would play a concert in Blueland. The Blueland PRS would collect a large amount of money from the promoter. Some time later (at least a quarter, sometimes up to two years) the Blueland PRS would account to the PRS for themoney collected - less their fees and cultural deductions of course. And without interest. Sometime later the PRS would account to U2 for the money - less their fees and cultural deductions of course, and without interest.   U2 wanted to get the money directly from the promoters, without deductions, and immediately. They got what they wanted n a settlement.

Another related point is that there are SCARPRA A adn SCARPRA B agreements.
In one kind, Blueland pays Pinkland the performing rights fees earned by Pinkish artists in Blueland and vice versa. In the other, Blueland keeps the Blueland performing rights fees of Pinkish artists, adn vice versa.

Guess which sort is in force between England and Japan?




In theory, the PRS is only entitled to collect fees in respect of the PUBLIC performance of COPYRIGHT works the performing rights in which are controlled by the PRS or an affiliated foreign society. An arrangement can be a copyright work.    I think Hamlin Slowe are still the PRS's lawyers. Do not bluff. THey take no prisoners (and not very politely either).



It is wrong to compare the cost of PRS fees to a pub with the pub's turnover. It should be compared with the pub's profit, for it comes staraight out of the bottom line.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 03:26 AM

Once again I find myself not a little depressed by threads such as this one; not by the topic itself, which really doesn't interest me particularly, but by the effect the subject under discussion has on what does concern me; namely, the passing on of traditional songs and music.
It seems to me that the main issue raised by the activities of PRS and IMRO has to be the detrimental effect these will inevitably have on the running of folk clubs and music sessions, still, in spite of all the trials and tribulations, the principle venues for the dissemination of folk song and music. Yet once again this seems to have taken a somewhat minor role in the present discussion.
I suppose I really should put my depression down to my advancing years. I came into a scene where the success of a newly written song was judged by the number of singers who took it up and included it in their repertoires, and by the audiences that got to hear it, not by the size of the royalties' cheque, which, as far as I can make out, is fairly miniscule anyway.
The two songwriters I have had most to do with down the years have been MacColl and Seeger, both of whom took great pains to pass on their songs, either via typewritten copies they would hand out at club appearances, or through publications such as New City Songster, set up by Peggy in the late sixties and running into 20 volumes over fifteen years. Volume one comprised entirely of Ewan's songs (with the exception of one jointly composed by The Critics Group), but later editions were made up of songs by other writers equally keen to pass on the products of their creativity.
Sure, MacColl made a bomb out of 'First Time Ever' (a-decade-and-a-half after it was composed as a love song to Peggy), but in the interim period it was recorded by numerous professionals, many of whom neither asked permission nor paid for doing so. His attitude, as with all the songs he made was, 'at least people think it good enough to sing'.      
Discussions such as this, the unofficial recording of sessions, (which eventually became quite unpleasantly abusive) and numerous others on the copyrighting of 'arrangements' of traditional songs are, for me, an indication that 'The Times They Are A-changing' and the desire to 'pass it on' has long ridden off into the sunset. I have spent a fair part of my life recording songs and stories from people who have willingly passed them on and have taken pride in hearing them taken up by other singers; (in many cases from people who have been living on or below the poverty line), yet at no time can I recall the question of 'ownership' of those songs and stories having been raised.
While a few of these songs have been either self-composed or made by family or members of the singers' communities, most have been traditional – i.e. 'arrangements' of older songs.
Walter Pardon was once extremely puzzled at hearing two folk 'stars' quarrelling over which of them was to record one of 'his' songs - he told us "They're not my songs, they're everybody's".
For me, one of the most poignant examples of the 'ownership' of traditional songs is the case of Traveller John 'Jacko' Reilly.
John was discovered in the late sixties living in deplorable conditions in a derelict house in Boyle, County Roscommon. He was found to have a repertoire of extremely rare and important songs and ballads, which he gave unhesitatingly to the collector Tom Munnelly.
Many of John's songs were taken up by the revival, notable the never before collected 'The Maid And The Palmer' (Child 21) which nowadays is usually referred to as 'Christie Moore's, The Well Below The Valley' (not I hasten to add, Christie's fault; he is an enthusiastic advocate on behalf of the Travellers).
Tom Munnelly and others, recognising John's desperate situation, attempted to raise money by getting him bookings around Dublin clubs, most of whom responded willingly (with the notable exception of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, who refused to help on the grounds that John's singing wasn't 'Sean Nós' enough).
John died of malnutrition in 1969 in Boyle hospital, aged 42. He was posthumously given the dubious honour of becoming one of Peter Kennedy's victims. The rights to 'The Well Below The Valley' are at present owned by professional musician and broadcaster Phil Coulter.
I realise that much of what I have written here might be (quite justifiably) described as 'off topic', but for me, any attempt to claim ownership and financially benefit from traditional music is detrimental to its survival. The behaviour of PRS and IMRO are, I believe, a significant threat to the music many of us have spent a great amount of time and energy promoting, and some of the responses to that threat are an indication, to me at least, of the demise of a generosity of spirit that once fuelled the folk song revival.
I for one, mourn its passing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:14 AM

Hi Jim,

I can see where you're coming from, but I personally don't see it that way.

We've been here before, but I personally believe writers still have exactly the same objectives as those you suggest, as do champions of traditional music. Everyone is hoping that the music they love will be widely appreciated and passed on and around. I don't think many modern 'folk' songwriters do demand permission or direct payment for the use of their songs (though I seem to remember you've told me in the past that I may be wrong about that). But if others are going to make money from the use of those songs - either as performers or as 'promoters' (and here I mean venues that may make money indirectly via door or drinks sales) then most of us would probably prefer to receive whatever percentage society has deemed fair for that activity.

The world has changed, but not necessarily for the worse. All that's happened is that society has decided that there should be some financial reward for our efforts (and don't you think it would have been nice if some of the people you mention had been in line for some dosh back then? I doubt many would have refused it if offered).

The collection of royalties does not in any way restrict the use or enjoyment of the material itself, in fact there's a case for saying that the current system may even assist in the dissemination of folk music, because it allows more people to spend more time making, recording and distributing it.

That said, the issue of whether current PRS collection policy may be having an adverse effect on 'folk music gatherings,' for want of a better catch-all term, is a different matter. It's really separate to the principle of whether it's right for writers, arrangers and performers to be receive recompense for their efforts. I'd suggest that the principle is sound, but that the method, as currently practised by PRS and the like, may be flawed and require improvement.

This thread has thrown up some questions for me, and I'd certainly like some clarification from PRS on what they're up to and why.

If it emerges that what they're doing really is damaging folk clubs and sessions (and further complicating the situation around PELs - on which the jury is now returning) then maybe we need to get motivated.

And if we need to get motivated we have two choices. We can complain to each other here and elsewhere and continue to be ignored, or we can get organised and try to bring pressure to bear through channels that people like PRS would recognise and respect.

Now some might resist such moves as politicising folk music, and indeed it would be a huge shame if emerges that we can't just ramble on as in the past, but sometimes you have to accept the status quo and just get stuck in.

But 'twas ever thus in all matters of human endeavour - and I don't think it has anything to do with generosity of spirit or love of music.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:18 AM

Oh, and one other point re recording artists arguing about who should record a song. Most of us prefer our records to be distinctive and original, so if me and a folkie mate were both bringing out CDs, and we both loved a song we'd both recently learned, we might quite reasonably have a chat about whether it would be a good idea for both of us to record it or not.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:27 AM

Jim,

I have to agree with much of what you say but there are two factual errors one of which can be seriously misleading.

If someone died of starvation someone who was already "living in deplorable conditions in a derelict house" - it is a bit rich to blame Peter Kennedy who was living in Dartmouth at the time. Despite PK's somewhat cavalier attitude to copyright and I agree with the majority opinion on that, it is a bit much to blame PK for John Reilly's death. Lack of a decent social welfare system in Ireland at the time might have played its part.

Phil Coulter does not "own" the rights to a traditional song (any more than anyone else does). If someone sings an arrangement done by Phil Coulter then rightly he gets paid on that arrangement. He does not own the song - nor does he own the rights to any other arrangements of that song - other than one he did.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM

Again, a little note from the sidelines (and yes, thank you, George, I do know that the money comes from the pub licence and not individual performers - my point was a distinction between a session or singaround and a concert, which I also know isn't a possible distinction to make in real life) - on the subject of the "threshold" for joining PRS: When I first joined back in the 70s, the ONLY criterion for joining was a version of this threshold. There had to be a certain amount of activity with your compositions before you could be a member of PRS, and there were varying categories of membership to reflect this. So I didn't have to pay the £100 fee but did have to prove that my songs were being performed commercially (ie broadcast, on significantly sized stages or recorded). My guess is that a number of PRS members were reluctant to lose this element of "quality control" rather than have it as a purely "pay to join" organisation.
I'm with you, Jim, on the subject of traditional music. The problem is that the folk world has never only included traditional music - even reputed source singers would include songs from the popular musics of their area or their time within their repertoire.

Anne


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:52 AM

George P In this case it is immaterial if the performer is being paid or not. The issue is whether the performances are of commercial benefit to the venue. That's why it is the venue, and not the performer, that gets licensed (that also answers the inevitable perennial query about busking). So PRS would argue that a regular session at a pub attracts business, therefore a license is due. An impromptu session would not, however.

I presume George that the answer to my ('inevitable' sorry) question is that buskers do NOT owe royalties even though they are receiving a commercial benefit?

Further, In theory, the PRS is only entitled to collect fees in respect of the PUBLIC performance of COPYRIGHT works …..
If a door fee is charged to allow entry folk club does this not then become a 'private' performance?

I was born into a family which still had the tradition of my mother playing piano & the rest standing around her singing. I learnt songs from my parents who had learnt them from their parents, radio, music hall, films, '78 records & sheet music. I still sing some of these songs along with others I have learnt from friends, guests at clubs, television, radio, 45's, L.P.s, cassettes, C.D.s, songbooks etc. etc.

This is why I agree with Jim – music is for sharing but I also agree that if money is forthcoming the originators should also be rewarded.

I rarely do 'gigs' & then only for charity but perform regular 'floor spots' at folk clubs 6 nights a week.
When a recording was made of my 'act' the recording studio paid royalties to the required body (presumably PRS).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM

For what it is worth, bear with me this is not off topic, i used to play for the Tap & Spile cricket club which played Sundays and Tuesday evenings, when I asked the landlord for a donation to club funds on the grounds that two days a week we brought in twenty odd customers he told us to P*ss off on the grounds that we were taking up places that others drinkers could fill and cost him nothing, now the folk session is in the Tap & Spile and the space the session musos and singers take up could be filled three times over by drinkers, we do get a half dozen or so free pints and relations are extremely cordial but the bottom line counts and if the PRS got stuck into him then the session would end, he is a business man not a folk enthusiast. As I have already said earlier I wholeheartedly support the writers and performers of original work and the significantly original arrangements getting their due reward but I can't see for the life of me how throttling sessions like ours is going to benefit the music industry and in particular traditional folk music.
oh and i am no writer, I have tried and I am hopeless but one little adaptation wot I wrote I have heard two people singing it and felt quite chuffed, it's posted here somewhere! That's enough for me!

Peter


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 11:59 AM

The antonym of public for PRS purposes is "family".


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:09 PM

If the PRS're into agressiveness, then they're heading for the Golden Goose egg analogy.

If the number of places where music & song is practiced gets reduced, it'll benefit no one, PRS either!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:24 PM

Wow.......didn't know what I had started here.

Thanks to everyone for their considered comments and interest in the subject.
Our solution has been to arrange a £1 a head whip round every session to give to the landlord. For heaven's sake don't anyone tell the Inland Revenue or they will want a cut of it!

I agree with copyright holders getting their dues, but also doubt that those at the bottom of the pile get their fare share.
However, if Paul McCartney gets nothing when some amateur wannabe warbles "Yesterday" (yet again) then I certainly will not lose a lot of sleep. Yet I fear it is the likes of him who get most of the money collected from our landlord, even though anyone attempting to sing "Yesterday" would probably be booed out the door!

I admit I chuckled at the advice "never to play Streets of London again"....please add "Amazing Grace" to that, particularly if bagpipes are involved. Important to keep our sense of humour always.

I do also agree with the sentiment that landlords who feel overburdened by licences and fees etc, may simply cancel the venue. This would be tragic for those of us who just enjoy a non-commercial sing-around in the convivial atmosphere of a country pub.

It is sad though that the "root of all evil" has to pervade every walk of life.

My thanks again to everyone.
Jon


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Bert
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 12:28 PM

If the venue is not performing copyrighted work then, as Leadfingers said above, just give them a list of what IS being performed and they will go away.

Many years ago we had the same problem at a square dance club I used to go to. The caller just gave them a list of obscure American labels, and never heard from them again.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 01:39 PM

Dave,
When John Reilly died, the collector, Tom Munnelly decided that any proceeds from the recordings should go to a school for Traveller children.
Peter Kennedy acquired a copy of the recordings and put them in his catalogue, and despite requests to either remove them or pay the Traveller school, he continued to sell them without payment or permission right up to his death.
If a previously unknown song turns up in the tradition, falls into the hands of a musician or singer who then makes minor adjustments to it so it still remains recognisable as the one collected, does the source have no rights to the song - legally or morally - if not, why not?
If I have the thrust of this threas right, the singer/songwrters out there are prepared to throw traditional music to the PRS jackals in order to protect their own work.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Wordy
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:07 PM

Funny enough,BBC TV4 recently screened a photo taken about 1957 at a church fete in Woolton(I think)a district of Liverpool.It showed a bunch of teds with guitars on the back of a lorry including one check-shirted poser with an obvious Elvis fixation.It was accompanied by scratchy tape of them performing a pop song at the time-in clear violation of the Holy Laws of Copyright.

There was no mention of any stormtroopers jumping up and shouting'you can't do that there'ere without bunging us 50 quid to pass on to Mr Cochrane'

I wonder where we'd all be if they had....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Windy
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM

Sorry,that wasn't Wordy it was me,whoever I am.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM

When John Reilly died, the collector, Tom Munnelly decided that any proceeds from the recordings should go to a school for Traveller children. Peter Kennedy acquired a copy of the recordings and put them in his catalogue, and despite requests to either remove them or pay the Traveller school, he continued to sell them without payment or permission right up to his death.

Then clearly that is wrong. But it isn't what you wrote - which was:

He [John Reilly] was posthumously given the dubious honour of becoming one of Peter Kennedy's victims.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM

I have this nightmare of a world where at each session someone is going to have to note the name of the tune, it's author/copyright holder and post the form off to the PRS. How to kill a session in a hurry :(

Now is that version of St Annes Reel the one from the Cato book, Mally's Session book, Simon Mayor's or......?

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:57 PM

John Reilly/Munnelly/Kennedy

Look, distinguish the copyright in the music ("musical work" under the CDPA 1988)and words ("literary work" under the CDPA 1988), on the one hand, from the copyright in the sound recording ("sound recording" under the act). Much the same under the UK 1956 Act. Not very different under the Irish 1963 Act. The Irish law was updated in 2000 and is something like the UK 1988 Act now

Assuming Munnelly made the recordings (or rather in the words of the acts, "made the arrangements for the making of the recordings" he would have been the owner of the copyright in the recordings.

In all likelihood the copyright in the songs and the words would have expired and it would be an interesting discussion whether Reilly's input to the way the words and tune were were enough to amount to an "arrangment" (which could have a copyright). I reckon not.

So the only copyright of relevance was that in the recording. It belonged to Munnelly until he assigned it, and if he didn't assign it it belonged to his personal representatives, until they assigned it - or the copyright expired which would have been 50 years from the date of making therefore won't be until 2019.

So (if the above facts are all correct) Kennedy may have been infringing the copyright in the sound recording for years - but the limitation period for copyright is 6 years so if the rightful owner of copyright in the sound recording wants to sue he'll only get a sum equivalent to a ryalty for the last 6 years and a possible injunction.


There are special provisions permitting some uses of recordings of folk songs deposited in designated archives - I don't know if these are in play.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 03:01 PM

Jim says

"If a previously unknown song turns up in the tradition, falls into the hands of a musician or singer who then makes minor adjustments to it so it still remains recognisable as the one collected, does the source have no rights to the song - legally or morally - if not, why not?"

The source still has exactly the same rights to the song as he did before it fell into the musician's hands. Namely total rights - the same as everyone else has to that song and to to every other work in publc ownership. That is; both legal and moral rights, to perform and record the song, and, if he so chooses, to register and collect on his own unique version - i.e. his own interpretation of a version that he learned from his own source.

The musician who 'makes the minor adjustment' will also only be able to collect on HIS own version - which even in the case of an unaccompanied song, where neither tune nor words have been changed, can be defined merely by subtle differences in singing style.

The song itself will remain in public ownership regardless. No theft takes place. No rights are lost. No harm is done.

The song never belonged to the source in the first place. Is that where you're coming from on this? Granted, some communities have conventions about singers 'owning' and 'giving' songs to each other, but that never had any legal weight - and anyway it only ever worked within a small community. Just down the road some other people were busy 'owning' and 'giving' the same song.

The only person who ever owns a song is the writer (or writers) - who I presume in this case have been long long dead.

"If I have the thrust of this threas right, the singer/songwrters out there are prepared to throw traditional music to the PRS jackals in order to protect their own work."

That is quite the most extraordinary thing I've ever read on Mudcat, Jim. No-one is throwing traditional music to the PRS. The PRS don't own it any more than you or I. They just collect and distribute royalties according to copyright law.

There is a legal difference between a song (known as a 'work') comprising words and tune, and the arrangement of a song; namely the insubstantial changes to words or tune, arrangements, accompaniment, harmonies, decoration etc which most performers effect to the work either deliberately or by natural evolution, which still leave the song recognisably the same.

I don't know how many arrangements PRS have registered of John Barleycorn, for example, but I bet it's hundreds. The point is it could be millions - there is no upper limit. And each of those million arrangers will only collect on their own performances of their own arrangements of that song.

Personally i wouldn't mind if the arrangement arrangement was scrapped. But as long as the rule stands, and as long as I'm as strapped for dosh, I'll take my few shekels thankyou - and it has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to protect my work anyway.

I don't actually want to protect my work - I want people to sing my songs and if there was no royalty system I'd be happy for them to fly on the breeze. But if the law says people must pay to use them, and someone's out there collecting money on my behalf, I'll have that too - though 90% of my royalties on my own song are from my own performances of them.

I'm not a bad person and I"m not doing anything wrong :-)

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Simon G
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:36 PM

Tom - the law doesn't say you have to charge for performance of your songs, nor does it say you must use PRS to collect the royalties. If your songs are performed a significant number of time by others it makes sense to use this monopolistic organisation to collect your royalties. It is almost certainly crazy to use them to collect royalties from your own performances -- as long as all the songs you sing are not licenced to PRS. If just one is licenced to PRS they are going to demand the whole of their fee for the evening so you may as well collect your royalties. This must be illegal (PRS not you) as it is anti-competitive and monopolistic. Their venue licencing policy is very distasteful at the very minimum

One assumes that this policy should reflect the requirement of their members -- after all they promote themselves as some sort of co-operative/members club.

Are the PRS members reading this happy with the venue licencing policy of PRS? If your not it is your duty to get in contact with them and tell them you are unhappy -- PRS will take more notice of you than us whinging club organisers or venue operators.

BTW the other thing that stinks is if people pay to come in you pay 3% of the gate, if they don't you pay 6% of cost. This implies the margin on a music performance is 50% --- can't stop laughing at that idea.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:07 PM

You also need tolook up "performers' rights" and "performers' property rights".

Back then it was the Performers Protection Acts 1958 to 1972 and the Rome Convention, but some of the wrinkles of teh law and whether it conferred a civil right of action were not really sorted out until Rickless -v- United Artists. Elwood Rickless was Peter Sellers Executor, adn some of Sellers outtakes were used by UA to make a new Pink Panther film. Elwood won, UA lost.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:56 PM

Folktrax no longer exists.

Peter Kennedy's archive recordings are deposited in the National Sound Archive and it is intended that a selection will be put out on Topic - eventually.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 03:58 AM

Just another thought/distraction.....

Mudcat publish copyrighted lyrics in the DT archive.
Do they have to pay anyone for that?

Jon


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:18 AM

Hi Simon,

Well it's my intent to make a living at this and as such it's better to be 'inside the tent...'

PRS (rightly or wrongly) collect the money anyway. The only way to get some of it back is to become a member, and royalties do form a substantial part of my income - without which the rest would not be viable and I'd need to get a day job again.

I have in fact spoken to PRS this morning, and hope to have more info soon, but in the mean time people might like to look at this.

PRS rates for sessions etc

The fee for a planned free-entry session is £7.62, and the charge for a club gig is 3% (say £5-7 for a typical guest night?) which doesn't seem like a huge amount to me, but others disagree and they may be right.

If so, and the charges are damaging live folk music then obviously we need to make a case to PRS for a reduction. What's needed is attributable information about sessions and clubs closing specifically because of PRS charges - exactly as we needed for the PEL campaign. (The last straw syndrome)

The FCO forum might be a good place for the collection of that info, so thanks for mentioning this issue there Simon. (Anyone who runs a club or session or who has any other business interest in live folk music can join that group, so may I again urge interested parties to take part).

The moral and legal debate around licencing and collecting on traditional works and arrangements thereof remains important too.

There is obviously a mismatch between the views of the PRS and the views of many folkies on this. I wouldn't say I was on the fence, but I can see both sides, and am open to persuasion either way. But if folkies want to change PRS's views, to get perhaps a special even lower tariff for 'mainly trad' gatherings, then they'll need to make an argued case for it - as the festival organisers did. That means getting EFDSS or Folk Arts England or someone similar on board as negotiators - or possibly starting a Folk Club/Session Association - again possibly through the FCO Forum.

When you stop to think about it, finding a fair and reasonable way to monitor, measure, police, account and distribute all the gazillions of outlets for copyright music is not an easy task. The system is far from perfect, but it is better then nothing most of the time. Folk music may be a special case, but if so it must make that case coherently and maturely.

Over to you guys

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Anne Lister
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:28 AM

Just a thought which has been hovering in the back of my brain as I read this thread - it's odd at the same time to moan that PRS is guilty of giving too much money to the big names AND say that somehow folk music events shouldn't be paying anything. If all folk musicians and all folk events were exempted from involvement with PRS, one major result would be that whatever earnings are currently accruing to folk PRS members would stop. I'm really not sure why we would want that to happen.

Anne


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 07:44 AM

Guest Jon - technically, yes, and many lyrics sites have been closed down by the music publishers, but happily the Mudcat is in the USA where there is a better chance of running a "fair use" defence and if push comes to shove it could take down all truly copyright lyrics leaving only folk songs.

There might be an argument about the pernicious practice of US interests seeking to "copyright" works in which copyright has expired by registering them with some foolish variation at the Libarary of Congress.

To be accurate, however, since copyright arises automatically upon creation, it is not truly possible to "copyright" something, although it is possible to dedicate something into the public domain (or abandon the copyright in it) (as, arguably, Ghandi did when he said "I have never copyrighted anything").


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Bee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM

This is a very interesting discussion. I've only ever observed one interaction with SOCAN, and that one was eyebrow raising in that the SOCAN rep was very agressive in tone and the 'venue' they wanted fees from is a barely surviving community supported heritage museum. The music they wanted fees ($30. a month, if I remember rightly) for is a single recording of 1940s era music, about ten songs, most of them instrumental, played for atmosphere in the cookhouse.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:46 AM

"If all folk musicians and all folk events were exempted from involvement with PRS, one major result would be that whatever earnings are currently accruing to folk PRS members would stop."

Yes, Anne - if we only we could tell them what the word 'folk' actually meant! That's one of the reasons why I always say we should all try to be aware of the difference between copyright and non-copyright material and know which we're playing. The business of having both lumped together and jumbled up in our minds is very unhelpful when it comes to issues like trying to persuade PRS that they're charging too much for the wrong material, for example.

Perhaps we need a third category. Music which is technically copyright (see Richard's very good point above) but which has been let loose, so to speak, but without formal abandonment of copyright. Could it be free to perform when no money's changing hands, but chargeable when it is, or something? That would then cover 99% of session tunes, and a fair number of popular non-trad songs. Maybe 'In public use?'

But finding a definition and a system of accounting which the beaks would accept... Now there's the rub!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:21 AM

I have just wiped out several paragraphs cos, cos, pointless diatribe.
I give in.

I can't shake off vested self interest, if the landlord at the Tap & Spile was asked to stump up £7.50 a session we would be out on our ears, the pub is always packed on Friday nights and a fair few of them are slow drinking musicians, if they were not there it would be heaving with people in for drinking. If truth be known he is actually losing money and many of the regulars barely tolerate us for being there, some don't come in on Friday nights because we are there, so the argument about attracting extra business is bollocks, sad fact is if he turned the juke box on and up a couple of notches he would get more people in spending money necking booze instead of people taking a sip between tunes and songs.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:22 AM

Well, you make a powerful point Stallion.

My first question would be to ask whether your man does in fact already have a PRS licence, which of course he should by law.

If you're right that he doesn't, and having to make an application really would be the last straw for the session, then the next step would be to try to convince PRS that there is indeed a golden goose in trouble here.

But they would want facts and figures on similar situations from across the whole UK if they were to rethink their policy. And getting that information would require a dedicated effort by someone with the resources to do it.

I'll think on.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:27 AM

Aren't there different PRS licences, some for recorded music and some for live? I'm pretty sure that the British Association of Juke Box Operators (or whatever it is called) has a blanket licence from teh PRS for its members, cos I think its terms were referred to the Copyright Tribunal about 10 years ago.


Don't forget that those who put money in the juke box are actually direclty paying for the music....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:34 AM

Hi Tom,
Many thanks for your interesting comments on this thread.

The one that interests me most is your latest, saying that the PRS "fee for a planned free-entry session is £7.62" and your very helpful link to the PRS tariffs.
Our pub has a planned free-entry session every 2 weeks (26 per year)
which means a modest and acceptable fee of £198.12 should apply.

Yet they demanded over £700 on the "basis of the square footage of the property" (i.e. the bigger the pub the more money) I am not privvy to the exact calculation, but it is totally at odds with the PRS website which does not mention square footage and we are certainly nevr more than 50 persons (let alone 100).

I will try taking this up with the PRS directly.

Thanks again everyone.
Jon


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:35 AM

I think he has the Juke box thingy but, apart from the session you can count on one hand the other live music events that are on in a year, anyway I will ask tonight, discretely.

peter


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: henryclem
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:41 AM

I reckon a major opportunity was missed when the new Licensing Act came in. Local Authorities collect off every licensed outlet; our Social Club, for instance, even has to pay extra for the privilege of putting on a (non profit-making) Panto once a year so needs a licence for dramatic performance. The licence we pay for music (of all kinds - juke-box, TV, discos, live bands etc) is not exactly peanuts but in the general scheme of things is not excessive. I wouldn't have thought many pubs and clubs have no music licence because they feel the charge is onerous. Now, what if the (music) licence had included a PRS contribution, collected by Councils on their behalf?   You'd have comprehensive coverage for PRS purposes, and consequently both a greater sum collected for distribution to members and a lower cost per venue.

As things stand there seems to be a temptation for landlords to expect (or demand) the full PRS cost to them from the most readily identifiable coherent group using their premises for music (Folk Club or regular session eg) when they may well be promoting live musical events themselves on other nights, and indeed playing recorded music all the time otherwise.

Just to clear up one other point - about the "big" players making hay at the expense of us minnows. I don't get a lot from PRS but what I do receive does include an appreciable chunk for karaoke, juke-boxes etc even though there is no way any of my songs would ever feature.

PRS could only ever achieve absolutely fair and accurate distribution
if every performance of every song was noted down and that is patently impossible. I am sure the technology exists for (say) every juke-box play to be collected automatically and were that to happen (a bit like public lending right) that part of the quarterly distribution would no longer be shared out across the membership as a whole.

The PRS does exist for its members and as Tom Bliss has pointed out if we are unhappy with its activities we should use whatever forums are available to us to try and change its ways.

Henry


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM

I am grateful to Tom Bliss for his lucid and patient explanations of his views. However,over here in Germany, the situation is similar to the one Stallion describes. Most small venues nowadays simply refuse to use musicians, who claim GEMA royalties. They simply can't afford to pay. In particular, musicians, who play their own music, are a considerable risk to those landlords and cafe´owners, because songwriters are more likely to deter regulars from attending than they are to draw people in. So the venues are taking a considerable risk in allowing live music anyway. What they usually do is to make the musicians accept the responsibility for being the "Veranstalter" (organiser) of the gig. This puts the onus on us to apply for and pay for the GEMA licence. In reality, I have never done this, although last summer I actually had to sign a contract, which bound me to accept the responsibility. So far I have not been caught - and I feel I am harming no one. We play original material anyway.
I can see the landlords' point of view. They are already doing us a favour by taking a chance on us. The entrance money alone is enough to put the backs up of those, who would usually enter the premises for no charge. In addition to that, not many people are prepared to go to their local pub/cafe´when live music is on, because quite simply, they do not like live music.
To date my own band has been fortunate, in that we have attracted good audiences and we have filled the venues. However, I think it would be a little cocky for us to expect landlords to start gambling with their livelihoods on our behalf. These days I am grateful for the chance to play at all!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 03:50 PM

Well I spoke with the Chairman of our Village Hall who is very particular in having all the licenses that are required to provide entertainment.
However when I mentioned to him PRS, he said "What's that"
So I explained it all to him, and on Monday, he is going to ring PRS and pay a yearly fee, which IMHO shouldn't be more than £60 for the year.
He is very upset that nobody from authority mentioned it to him.

I personally think that not enough communication is going on from PRS.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Musician
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 04:04 PM

I am amazed at some of the posts on here from "Musician" who attack and vilify the PRS who are working for musicians/songwriters to ensure they get paid for their work and those who stand up for the pubs, venue organisers etc. who have taken advantage of musicians for many many years, arrange "sessions" by amateurs to save paying out for entertainment, and whinge about having to pay for licences, PRS etc.

Happy to pay for beer whilst singing and playing (unless you get it free for singing) but object to paying the people who make it possible by writing the songs and music you play.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,paula t
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 04:08 PM

I was talking to our village shopkeeper the other day. He had received a phone call asking him if he played the radio in the shop while he was working!
Now I know we country folk don't have much of a social scene- but we don't all pile into the shop to listen to his radio!He is not benefitting in any monetary way by listening to his radio while he sits on his own waiting for someone to need a loaf of bread.
Sheer bureaucracy gone mad.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 04:29 PM

The issue is not really as black and white as that Musician. You are writing on the assumption that musicians bring people into pubs and that landlords make money from it. That is undoubtedly true in some cases and equally undoubtedly wrong in others.
When I used to play the Irish Pub/pub music circuit in Germany, I was paid a fee, because I was expected to play something which sounded either vaguely folky (to the owner) or pop music and oldies. Many of us have cut our teeth on those gigs and many of us have moved on. Inded, for those gigs I was always paid a fee and the expectation was that people would come in to be entertained - usually by singing along with songs they knew. That did indeed make money for the venues and good luck to them. I don't think anyone is complaining about them being asked to pay.
It is a whole different ball game when it is at best a risk for the pub to have live music at all. Stallion described a session, from which the landlord is reaping no financial benefit. I want his sessions to be able to continue. Nobody is ripping anyone off there, because no business is being generated.
The sort of gigs my band does are those where we take a little entrance money at the door. As I explained, that is a considerable risk for the landlord already. It is adding insult to injury to him to then demand that he pays for the GEMA licence to subsidise my band even more. Allowing me to play my own material is a considerable risk for him. He would be a lot safer getting in four guys in seventies costume playing Smokie's greatest hits. You can't expect him to risk money on my songs, which, from his point of view, are more likely to damage his business than to enhance it! That would be gross arrogance.
In the event, we have been lucky and people have come along. It still does not give me the right to expect a landlord to gamble his money on my vanity. If we persist in this delusion, no new music will ever even get into the pubs!
The problem with GEMA, PRS etc, is that they are trying to operate a "one size fits all" solution, which in practice is self defeating. I do not know what the answer is, but I do not want to see the gigs I enjoy being killed off by misguided moral puritanism.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 07:33 PM

Well I have just got back from the Tap session, as it happens the landlord has the full monty PRS thingy so it isn't a problem, although he is ambivalent about the session he wants to be in a position to exploit live music if the opportunity presents itself (wedding receptions being particularly lucrative) and not having to worry about falling foul of any bureaucracy. so we are ok. yipee

BTW we had a cracking session tonight, half the musicians were under 21


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:14 PM

It's unfortunate that the word 'gestapo' was used in this thread as it is preventing me from gaining access to the 'Mudcat' website from my local library computer (some child protection thing!)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 11:11 PM

Sorry Black Hawk, been away.

Yes, you are right about the busker thing - he/she owes no royalties. And sorry about the (friendly) dig at seeing the question pop up again! :-)

As about "If a door fee is charged to allow entry folk club does this not then become a 'private' performance?", I don't believe this to be the case, because the public can enter if they pay a fee.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 03:38 AM

As I explained, both here in very simple terms adn in more detail on another thread, unless it is pretty strictly "family only" (or there is one case about "nurses from one hospital only"), it's public, for the purposes of English law and other laws that follow English.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 03:39 AM

Oh, and    -    100


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 04:07 AM

What is extremely thin on the ground on this thread is discussion on the effect organisations like PRS would have/are having on the clubs; apart from Jon's orginal posting, Stallion's pretty accurate summary, and a few others, it has largely been the bemoanings of 'pity the downtrodden folkie'. Sorry Tom, I become more and more convinced that there are a substantial number of people who would happily throw many the clubs to the wolves in order to protect their own interests.
No self-respecting landlord is going to invite a group of people onto the premises who incur for him/her a regular PR debt. Having tramped the streets of London , Manchester and Liverpool on different occasions looking for a venue, I know the difficulties without adding a long list of 'dependents' to the job. It really has become a 'business' to some people, hasn't it? Folk music should not be about securing the incomes of a few performers, it should be about making the music available to as many as possible.
Dave,
Sorry, you are quite right, I did badly phrase my point. Kennedy didn't rip off John Reilly - he illegally used recordings belonging to Tom Munnelly (now the property of The Irish Folklore Department), thereby helping to deprive a group of impoverished Traveller children of an education. Sorry if you feel I've been deliberately and unduly harsh on him.
I know Topic is to handle his collection; I trust that they, should they make use of the recordings, will see that the Traveller school is suitably awarded - oh, I forgot, they can't - it collapsed through lack of funding!
Thanks to all of you who have attempted to steer me through the vagueries and idiocies of the copyright laws. My point regarding 'Maid and the Palmer' was to underline the irony of the source dying from malnutrition, while a well-heeled, fairly successful, middle-of-the-road, musician is able to claim it as his own (albeit an 'arrangement').
Richard; I wonder why you come to the conclusion that you did on the significance of John Reilly adapting the ballad. There were three recordings made of him singing it, each one substantially different. In many ways John Reilly was living proof of David Buchan's theory that a traditional singer re-created a song at the point of performance.
Many of the singers we recorded adapted the songs in their repertoire to suit themselves. Around a quarter of Walter Pardon's repertoire was re-built by him using incomplete songs from different members of the family to make them whole ones; failing that, from printed texts. Two magnificent examples were 'The Parson and The Clerk' and 'Dark Arches', both of which he brought back to life from a couple of half-remembered verses, via printed texts.
I don't think we ever met a source singer who didn't consciously adapt a song to suit him or herself.
I believe that most versions of folk songs as performed by traditional singers can be claimed to be 'arrangements', just as validly as any adapted and 'arranged' by folkies.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 05:28 AM

The point I was trying to make about "arrangement" is that an "arrangement", like any literary dramatic artistic or musical work has to be pass a "substantiality" (and "originality") threshold in order to amount to a copyright work.

In the case of a literary work, the alteration of a few words would be unlikely to create a new work.

It seems to me that most unaccompanied singers do not vary the actual notes of the principal melody that they sing. They may change key but a mere change of key (that is to say for this purpose a mere transcription up or down by so many semitones, it might be differnet if it was a change from major to minor or vice versa) on its own is unlikely to amount to an arrangement.   They may add some decoration but in most cases decoration is largely commonplace, following established cadences. A single singer cannot add a harmony line to himself. Likewise there is no accompaniment. That leaves timing. I suppose it leaves loudness too but I cannot really see variations in loudness being held by a judge to amount to a fresh musical work (which is the threshold that an "arrangement" has to surmount).

So what is there in timing? Can you think of a single traditional song that is likely to be recognisable if the notes were deprived of pitch so that it became a sequence of clicks? The only possibility that springs to my mind would be "Famous Flower of Serving Men", but that in turn is because I play it with rhythm rather than (as Martin Carthy said) in the time signature of "one". People do tend to say that what I do to traditional songs is distinctive (not necessarily the same as "good") but I think that's pretty much just because I grew up wanting to play "chunk-a-chunk" rock and roll so I just thump a rhythm and syncopate a bit. I wouldn't really call that an arrangement, although I might claim that for some of the guitar parts.

If that doesn't meet the threshold what will an unaccompanied singer be doing that will amount to the making of a new copyright work?   Mostly they (and, if I sing unaccompanied, I) just convey the work.

More importantly, if you were trying to prove to a judge that there was an arrangment, you would surely have to show the "before" and "after" versions of the work. Ex hypothesi that would be a bit tricky.

It's not wholly cut and dried, but that's my view. If you really want to get a feel for it you should steep yourself in copyright textbooks - Laddie Prescott and Vitoria is well regarded, likewise Copinger and Skone-James. Sterling and Carpenter is less well known but I think it shows a good grasp of principle, and there is an Australian book, now very out of date, the author of which I forget, that again showed a good grasp of the principles.

Some of the modern cases are showing what I think to be a heretical tendency to reconise an arrangement or fresh work when in truth there was no such thing. Sawkins -v- Hyperion falls, for me, in that category.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Simon G
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 05:54 AM

Jon said about 40 messages ago.

>Yet they demanded over £700 on the "basis of the square footage of the property

The reason is because the PRS licence fee is based on the number of people the premises is licensed for. One singaround I go to is in a massive three storey pub (converted warehouse) I calculate the PRS fee per singaround of 10-20 people to be over £60 plus VAT. Because the premises must be licenced for around 1,000 people.

There fees are designed to get rid of all the small fry -- why -- because it is much easier to sell to a market of bigger players, stmap out the small fry and they hope just hope that we will all go to bigger events. Rest assured those bigger events won't be singing the songs of the songwriters who come on here supporting the PRS


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Policy Appraisal
From: stallion
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 06:30 AM

I think a Joe Clone could change it to PRS performing policy appraisal


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 07:15 AM

oops, I was going on to say to make it more accessible and less subjective, my view is that a sensible balance has to be struck between overt financial exploitation and recreational use, if the legislation has necessarily to be a "catch all" net then some moderation has to be exercised by the administrators, unfortunately, as has been shown by the implementation of the new licensing laws, this is a rare occurrence. I have a theory (and I maybe way off beam here)that if someone is given powers they use them even if they are not necessary, just because they are there, and, if it is your job, then you have to be seen to be doing it vigorously or you get the sack because it seems the only criteria for a job well done is how much money you make. Also, the PRS exists to collect and distribute cash for it's members and not to encourage and promote music of any kind although one might think they have a vested interest to promote music. I have just deleted a rant on the grounds that it is carping and not at all constructive, I think Tom is a tad optimistic if he thinks PRS members might advise its administrators to omit folk sessions from the licensable activities I doubt it would get enough support and die of apathy.

Peter


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 09:15 AM

Of course you might say the difference is between folk music (1954 Definition) which should need no permission, and other music which should.....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 12:27 PM

"Of course you might say the difference is between folk music (1954 Definition) which should need no permission, and other music which should....."
Whoops - cat among pigeons time. I wish I'd said that; in fact I was going to, but bottled out
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 12:33 PM

To take it a step further - I have a cunning plan my lord.
Suppose all those who have usurped the term 'folk' go off and call themselves something else, then the rest of us who are interested in the real thing can claim our music to be in the public domain - problem solved.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 06:24 PM

Good heavens, I thought no-one else believed that.....


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 09:04 PM

"I have a theory (and I maybe way off beam here)that if someone is given powers they use them even if they are not necessary, just because they are there, and, if it is your job, then you have to be seen to be doing it vigorously or you get the sack because it seems the only criteria for a job well done is how much money you make."

I'll modify that slightly - "use them or lose them" - just ask any Police Force... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Richard "Can you think of a single traditional song that is likely to be recognisable if the notes were deprived of pitch so that it became a sequence of clicks?" etc...

One word....

Rap!   

;-)

:-P


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Barry Finn
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 11:38 PM

Send your songs to he US. You won't get any money from us just singing them as we don't as far as I've ever heard charge for the singing of them at venues nor do the venues have to pay a liscense of fee if they're performed, so if they're good enough, they'll get sung & they'll get spread about too..If I'm wrong please correct me, so I can stop singing.

Some folks may even want to buy recordings once they've been heard. We do have the same copyright laws but they don't extend to performences.
I believe that if we had the same system here you'd not find anyone singing songs if those songs sung would cost the performer or the venue a penny. I've never been asked to give a play list of a performence, at a venue, festival or session & the day that happens it would be a sad day for not only traditional songs but for those who write too. The whole concept of the "copyright" was to enhance the creativity & culture of the medium as well as protect the "property". This system seems to protect the property at a greater cost to the property while destroying all that it was originally supposed to foster, enhance & benifit the culture that it was born from.

Turning public parks into tourist traps & charging the visiting public for the upkeep of the property which has become a fenced in & caged zoo is not benifical to conserving the wild kingdom. The idea was not to turn the park into a "for profit" for those that didn't own the park in the first place, it was for all to enjoy but for those that want the park to flourish, grow, bloom & blossom & don't mind putting in their little bit of extra, those that want to write in their small contribuion & add it to the mix maybe there's a better way to replay/repay them for what they've written instead of giving away the farm because this system at present sucks for every involved except the Gestapo, who by the way creates nothing but a distaste & a dislike for evreyone & thing they touch.

Here in the US we had a department of Agriculture (notice the word culture) it started out with 600 employees, they managed around 6,000,000 farms, now that department has about 600,000 employees handling 60,000 farms. The non-produce-ing entity becomes a bit top heavy in it's need for survival while draning the life out of that which it was supposed to encourage & help to prosper & grow, it's killing it's own goose. It's become a cannibal.
I'd have to agree with Jim.

Barry


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Barry Finn
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 11:39 PM

Sorry that rant from across the pond was me on my wife's computer at her work.

Barry


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 03:49 AM

S 106, US Copyright Act 1976 confers, inter alia, the right

"To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;"


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:19 AM

As far back as 1971 there was an indication of what was happening to folk music, when Bob Pegg let the rat out of the bag at the National Folk Festival at Loughborough.
To a questioner who asked what motivated him (35 years ago) he replied,
"I'm no longer interested in folk music - I'm in it for the money".
I still treasure Trevor Fisher's thoughtful pamphlet in response entitled 'We're Only In It For The Money'.
Richard; sorry to persist with this, but I find I am now banging my head on the limits of my understanding of copyright (not really my interest, but how creativity among traditional singers is estimated does interest me).
How many of the features you listed above have to come into play before it can be considered that a singer has re-worked a song enough for it to be regarded that it is a product of his/her creation.
Each time John Reilly sang 'Well Below The Valley' the verse structure altered radically, the tune varied likewise, the only thing that remained constant (more or less) was the text. How does this differ with what Phil Coulter did to it in order to copyright his arrangement?
We recorded Walter Pardon and Tom Lenihan talking about altering songs to suit themselves, and in Walter's case, have before/after examples.
Don't wish to be a pain in the bum (not at the moment anyway)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Mafia
From: Simon G
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:21 AM

Must be expensive to legally run a restaurant were the staff will come and sing happy birthday when asked. As the audience is different each time and each is arranged separately they are separate events so PRS must be asking for at least £7.62 each time


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 04:56 AM

To take up what Jim was saying about arrangements being different, for the cd "Sing the Sun into the Sky" we recorded 20 songs, we dropped 2 because we felt they needed more voices the other 4 were dropped because the arrangements had changed so much (for the better)that it wsn't a true "snapshot" of what we were doing. Some stuff we do is tight and rigid but for the most part, if you have a big chorus, like The Press room in Portsmouth NH, it's great to busk the harmonies and fly all over the place to make new sounds and I remember Martin once whispering in my ear "I bet you couldn't sing that again", he was right! It also keeps the songs fresh to us by constantly working them. So I think the arrangement thing is baloney, except, if we had written on MCPRS licence form arr 2BS&S we would have only had to pay half the licence fee, we didn't.

Peter


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 05:17 AM

Copyright does not subsist until the word is recorded, in writing or other material form. A tape recording suffices. NB US state law, notably Californian, may recognise a common-law copyright in unrecorded works and arguably since this is not dealt with by Federal Satute it may not be federally pre-empted.

Substantiality is not measured by a "row of beans" approach. It is a question of where the substantial merit lies. In music the ear is the judge - Francis Day & Hunter -v- Bron.

Notwithstanding that a huge amount of research went into finding a "suitable" word, the name "Exxon" has been held not to amount to a copyright work.

Likewise "Beauty is not a luxury but a social necessity" was not enought to amount to a copyright work,although it was a successful advertising slogan.

Mere "stage business" is not a copyright work. Tate -v- Fullbrook [1908], Tate -v- Thomas [1921] nor a contests played differently but to the same rules each night Seltzer -v- Sunbrook (US, UK Report 1936-45 MCC 337]

A person who makes an arrangement of an old tune, by the exercise of a sufficiently substantial amount of his own skill, useful (copyright) labour or judgment (Sawkins -v- Hyperion) may have copyright in the arrangement. Lover -v- Davidson (1856) 1 CBNS - accompaniemnt to an old air. Wood -v- Boosey (1868)LR - piano score of opera.   Austin -v- Columbia Gramophone (1923)   - new harmonisation of old (non-copyright) tunes infringed by different but similar sounding harmonies.

Laddie comments that the change of only a few notes may result in a new tune (with its own copyright) if it is perceived by audiences to be a new tune, and cites teh Oxford Companion to Music in support.

Mere interpretation by performance is not a subject matter of copyright - CBS -v Gross (Australia) (1989).

Laddie also comments on collection of folk music, and distinguishes the copyright that may arise in a transcription if (but only if) sufficient skill and labour is exercised, on the one hand (Walter -v- Lane, considered in Robertson -v- Lewis (1960) reported [1976 RPC, from, pon the other hand the mere switching on if a tape recorder. If there is a transcription copyright, it covers the transcription and anyone else can make a fresh transcription from source, but they may not copy the copyright transcription eg by performance from it without licence.


Of course as I have said before there is or may be copyright in a sound recording.

Hope that helps. If you want more it's hours with the textbooks and cases!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Psychomorris
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 12:21 PM

My what an interesting debate. All perspectives appearing to be both logical and covering moral ground. People who write should get just reward and those who perform, should be catagorised into who should pay and who should not. Arguements as to the benefits for all.
i have had coinversations with the writers performers and 'gestapo' all put forward rationalisations as to why their approach is important. They are all valid . However there is an endemic sickness that is slowly creeping through our society that is eating away at individual freedom and reasonableness. all things can be viewed as having incremental progression. What starts out small and reasonable can grow into something that cannot be controlled. 100 + yr old Conker trees removed because a conker might fall on someones head. Swings and slides removed from childrens playgrounds because a child may get hurt. Police unable to save drowning children because they are not trained to do so. This all started somewhere. It was probably very innocuous at its time but has led to a sadder quality oflife as a result of progression. A sad aspect, is the reasonable arguement put forward to justify why.The worse aspect is it us as people who create and maintain the problem. Are you all not doing the same when it comes to folk music. I go to folk clubs and venues for enjoyment with others. I do not get paid or ask of such. It is the enjoyable experience and being with others, similar, that I go for. You can all take this away if you want. The market based concept now entrenched in British society is killing any quality of life.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 12:47 PM

Last night, I was told at one of the folk clubs I go to on a regular basis are to receive a visit from the PRS next month. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

And to some points made in the previous post

The market based concept now entrenched in British society is killing any quality of life.

How true. At the moment those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing are in control and unless we start to realise that not everything of value can be expressed in monetary terms, Britain will continue its inexorable slide towards becoming a very nasty, vicious, selfish nation. The actions of some copyright owners need to be seen in this light.

OT, I know, but worth mentioning:

Police unable to save drowning children because they are not trained to do so

A coastguard near here (NE England) resigned last week. He had been reprimanded for "not following proper procedures" when he went to rescue someone who had fallen off a cliff. By all accounts, if he had followed "proper procedures" it is likely that the person he went to rescue would have died. Someone seems to have a warped sense of priorities.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 01:20 PM

It's because we are becoming the land of the Sue (like our American cousins) had the coastguard broken the procedures and the person had died and or himself had died the coastguard service would be open to hefty compensation claims.   This is driven by the insurance companies who will try anything to wriggle out of stumping up even blaming God for some stuff and refusing to pay up.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM

Yes indeed get rid of them, they shouldn't dropping conkers on peoples heads.

Enter the PRS Stormtroopers wearing the dreaded Ivor Novello Award with oakleaves, Vee Haff Vays of making you gift more money to Robbie Villiams... for you Tommy volksingers, the var is over!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 05:07 PM

I was given a double CD of winners of the Ivors once. It is torture to listen to.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 01:06 PM

Well our Faldingworth Memorial Hall Chairman rang the Godfathers today and opologised for not knowing about PRS and they thanked him for being honest and then asked him for the Sales Income for 2007 for the Hall and they charged him £47 for this year 2008. It feels nice to be on the side of the Godfathers :-)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: synbyn
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 06:03 AM

I'd feel happier about the reasons for this zealous collection of anticipated dues if the PRS got serious about billing every radio station on the basis of a full submitted playlist. The 'sampling' method may have been appropriate way back when, but there's no excuse now, computer technology being what it is. Lost income from this source would for most songwriters far exceed that for random plays in sessions, as these plays stimulate proportional payouts from the pub/karaoke pool as things stand. At the moment the money goes in and, unless the writer self-certifies as Tom Bliss says, is absorbed into the general pool.
Until then, one could reasonably assume that there are other items on the agenda.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Simon G
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 12:31 PM

For The Villan

It would help a lot if we could find out how the Faldingworth Memorial Hall Chairman managed to keep his PRS fee down to £47.

PM me if you want to keep it off the board.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 12:44 PM

The 'sampling' method may have been appropriate way back when, but there's no excuse now, computer technology being what it is.

Having asked this very question of a singer/songwriter whose music I have played on my radio show - I am assured that is now as you have suggested it should be and said artist receives detailed records of his "plays" on radio.

Dave


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Brendy
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 12:45 PM

We have to fork out around £1000 to KODA for a 3 day Festival I help run in Denmark. We submit set lists and composers (if we know the composer.

I think that's OK, as long as the money gets to where it should. But there is a selective enough process as to who actually gets billed.

Let it be a level playing field.

B.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:02 AM

I think there would be less resistance to PRS if we could be satisfied that the royalties were going to the composers whose music we play, rather than being distributed on a rather vague pro-rata basis which seems to favour the Elton Johns and Paul McCartneys of this world. If we could have a more efficient way of reporting performances and allocating the cash where it's properly due then I'm sure many folk musicians would be more supportive of it.

And before you point out that it isn't the performers who have to pay PRS, that's true, but the demands of the PRS can put a session or folk club in jeopardy if the pub landlord (who may not be charging for the room or selling much more beer than he would otherwise) feels the cost of a licence is too much.

The problem is, what would you do with a return from a session which consists mainly of

"Title: unknown Composer: unknown"

which applies to most of my repertoire!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:20 AM

Tootler,
This might help keep the bill down when you get your PRS visit:

Make sure everyone who sings (or plays) that night sticks to PUBLIC DOMAIN songs, and makes a list.

Ideally, quote a source book older than 100 years, (e.g. Kidson for Scarborough Fair) or a copy of a broadside, as the origin.

Beware of the copyrighted TRAD stuff like Wild Mountain Thyme
(and Happy Birthday to you). If you must sing it, call it The Braes O' Balquidder by Robert Tannahill, c1795

I think there is a site listing all known public domain songs somewhere in the web (but that may apply only to the USA).

They might get fed up and go away.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Opportunity
From: Simon G
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:24 AM

I think we need to turn this around. We are all grumbling that folk songwriters/composers/arrangers don't get rewarded enough by PRS. It is in our hands. If we get the returns in then our composers are likely to get over compensated because they will get a small contribution from all the blues/rock/pop/jazz events that don't send in returns.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:35 AM

See
Public domain in USA

I haven't yet found a site for public domain in the UK, but anything in the above site before 1900 should be OK.

Does anyone want to start a UK version?

Here's one for starters.

'My Johnny was a shoemaker' was composed and printed in about 1859 in the USA. It can be seen in the Lester Levy collection.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Windy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

Pavane,many thanks for the link but the injustice to which the original poster alluded is the fact that the UK PRS expect their slice regardless of whether the music performed is in'the public domain'or not.
Incidentally,the concept of a body of work in The Public Domain is not as well established in the UK as in the US,that may be why no site leaps out of the search.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:43 PM

I still can't get access to 'Mudcat' on my local library network because of this thread (use of the word 'Gestapo')!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:42 AM

Odd coincidence ... I run a small business, (stationery, not music) and a couple of days ago one of the girls in the office had a call from someone perporting to be PRS, wanting to speak to the owner to check we had no radio/stereo/other music broadcast equipment on the premises as we'd need a licence for it. We haven't, and she told this to the bloke and as I wasn't in, he wasn't able to speak to 'The Owner', as he tried to insist.

I didn't think much more about it except that they'd probably phone back again if they needed confirmation of our 'no music equipment' status from me, but that evening another member of staff was talking to a friend who's in the police force. Apparently there is a scam, based largely on Wearside (NE England) where people phone, posing as PRS and convince businesses they need a licence for a radio, or whatever. They then take credit card details over the phone to 'pay' for said licence ... you can guess the rest. Don;t know how widespread this is, or even whether the call my office received was legit. But be warned!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 08:40 AM

Stallion wrote

It's because we are becoming the land of the Sue (like our American cousins) had the coastguard broken the procedures and the person had died and or himself had died the coastguard service would be open to hefty compensation claims.

And if he had followed procedures and the person had died, they would still have been sued for allowing it to happen.

This is driven by the insurance companies who will try anything to wriggle out of stumping up even blaming God for some stuff and refusing to pay up.

On the whole I agree with you having had experience of wriggling by insurance companies to avoid paying out. On the other hand, "Acts of God" have long been a standard insurance exclusion unless you specifically insure against the "Act" concerned.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM

Windy referred to the point that "the injustice to which the original poster alluded is the fact that the UK PRS expect their slice regardless of whether the music performed is in'the public domain'or not."

If you can demonstrate that all the music performed is either non-copyright or your own copyright, or that you have the written permission of the copyright owner (unless he/she is a member of PRS, in which case PRS controls the rights)then you can tell PRS to take a running jump. However it is very difficult to be sure, especially in a session or folk club, that none of the material performed at any point is copyright, particularly as many songs or tunes widely assumed to be "traditional" are in fact copyrighted.

The PRS says they can't apportion the licence fee between copyright and non-copyright material, and I have some sympathy - it would be an adminstrative nightmare, and I'd rather they devoted their resources to seeing that composers' royalties are more fairly distributed.

So if you play a single piece of copyrighted music, then a PRS fee is payable - simple as that.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Windy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM

Play one piece of copyright and you owe PRS?-simple alright,simply outrageous.

A benevolent landlord allows amateurs to have a session once a week.Approaches PRS-that'll be 52x £7.62 (£396)p.a.please.

Fillng in the form he'll be asked how many people his pub holds-up to 100 in this case (although he knows only 20%of the punters are even vaguely interested).PRS will take his word for it,tick that box,
and jump on him if it turns out to have a 1000 capacity.

Now,where is the 'administrative nightmare' that prevents them from including 'boxes' asking for % of'public domain'(to use that lovely inclusive phrase)music and giving a pro-rata reduction?
If that drives the amount down to the point where it's not worth raising an invoice,so be it-they exclude minor composers on that basis don't they?

Figures based on an unpracticed reading of their site
Before anyone points it out:in reality most establishments will also broadcast music from other sources for which a'licence'is appropriate.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:18 AM


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:33 AM

I `ad that Tony Deane in my cab the other night. I said "Ow`d you git on then down the folk club" `E said " Terrible, I reckon they`ll git the PWS on to me". I said "Dont`cha mean the PRS?" He said "Nah, the PERFORMING WRONG SOCIETY. I forgot the words of "Jones`s Ale!!"

But seriously though we`ve been performing and running clubs `ere in London and the Sarf East since Adam was a lad and we`ve never had a run in wiv`em and I`ve never seen an singer `and over a list for approval. Are we lucky or what?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:27 PM

" I`ve never seen an singer `and over a list for approval"

That's because, for small gigs that come outside the Concert system, members now send a list of songs and tunes played, together with a list of venues, directly to the PRS every 20 gigs or so. It may be that some of the calls paid by PRS on previously unvisited pubs are a direct result of information culled from this new system. And that exercise will doubtless continue. So it's becoming ever more important that the system and the prices are, and are seen to be, reasonable and fair - and understandable by all.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:45 PM

I think I see now why the TV has gone from our local Balti takeaway. They must have had the visit.

(Can someone advise us who it is that licences premises for playing prerecorded music, and TV and radio? Is it the PRS or someone else?
If someone else, then Helen's caller would be a scam.)

I know that for making your own CD, it is the MCPS you have to pay.

Backing tracks for singers must also have a licence for public performance. Note that KARAOKE tracks do NOT have this licence, and if they catch you using them as backing tracks, you will have to pay.

(To make this easy for them to check, KARAOKE tracks fade out, licenced backing tracks do not)

Not easy to keep up with it all, is it?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:46 PM

Oh yes, and note that you cannot sing in public to home-made backing tracks of copyrighted music, because the fee has not been paid.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Martin
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:18 PM

Max, have PM'd you under the title 'Mudcat Forum Access Denied' regarding my problem when using my local library network, suggest the word 'Gestapo' in this thread title be changed (if possible).

Thanks.


Jim Martin


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: s&r
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM

Jim - can you think of another word with the same flavour?

stu


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM

Play one piece of copyright and you owe PRS?-simple alright,simply outrageous.
Watch one TV programme a year = pay a years TV licence!

A benevolent landlord allows amateurs to have a session once a week.Approaches PRS-that'll be 52x £7.62 (£396)p.a.please.
Sells Beers to singers and if the session is half decent more beer to "audience"

Fillng in the form he'll be asked how many people his pub holds-up to 100 in this case (although he knows only 20%of the punters are even vaguely interested).PRS will take his word for it,tick that box,
and jump on him if it turns out to have a 1000 capacity.
and???

Now,where is the 'administrative nightmare' that prevents them from including 'boxes' asking for % of'public domain'(to use that lovely inclusive phrase)music and giving a pro-rata reduction?
If that drives the amount down to the point where it's not worth raising an invoice,so be it-they exclude minor composers on that basis don't they?,
can I get a refund for the TV programmes I don't watch?

Figures based on an unpracticed reading of their site
Before anyone points it out:in reality most establishments will also broadcast music from other sources for which a'licence'is appropriate.

8 people at a session, enjoying themselves and singing songs from their favourite song-smiths - must be worth a pound each? the more at the session, the less per person and maybe the Landlord to cough up for his extra beer sales?


Jim - can you think of another word with the same flavour? stu

maybe not; but maybe a more appropriate and less offence one, for individuals who perform a service for professional musicians!

MCPS, PRS etc - I've never minded paying my way in this world, If I get paid for singing or recording someone else's songs, I think they deserve a share - if it's good enough to sing it's good enough to pay for!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 07:26 PM

I thought Guest had to at least add a name to it?

Or have the rules changed?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 07:42 PM

guest,
read the thread, i think the argument has been covered, although it is interesting idea that someone who is playing, not for hire and reward, should pay a pound because they are in a pub, should this also be included when played at home? So, are we all going to have an "honesty box" at home or, as someone has already pointed out, whistling in the street, or maybe on a building site, should this include the morons who only know one line and sing it endlessly? How long is a piece of string? As I have already pointed out the line is fuzzy and PRS don't win friends by being heavy handed and whilst I sympathise with the people like Tom who are trying to make money out of music I resent having a gun pointed at my temple for singing songs for nowt with my friends in pub, no, I deeply resent it, and so do a lot of others and the PRS membership should take note and reign them in. What we do is not exploitation it is a celebration of the music and exists in spite of the rest of the world

Peter 2BS&S


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 02:45 AM

Go easy on PRS lads and lasses - they vere only obeying orders
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,but must have a name - nice welcome
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:04 PM

No, whether the performance is played live or by such means as CD, radio, DVD, TV, karaoke etc, whether a charge is made for admission, or whether the performers are paid, a PRS Music Licence is still necessary.

If you play music in your business or want to include it in your product you need clearance to do so from the owners of that music. PRS and MCPS represent the owners and can get you the clearances you need. We are a not-for-profit organisation, enabling you access to the world's music in the most efficient way.

If you don't obtain clearance for your use of copyright music, you could face legal action for copyright infringement and may become liable to pay damages and costs.


I can see nothing wrong with the above quotes from PRS/MCPS

Buy a music/song books you pay for it, buy a CD you pay for it, or is it easier to download free from the Internet and steal from the artistes you enjoy so much?

Landlords allow sessions out of the goodness of their hearts yeah! cheap entertainment and more beer sales no doubt - karaoke yeah than that must be tolerated to let all the wannabes get it off their chests !

You all should be fighting for fair payments for composers not moaning about not being able to do what you want for nothing (you can of course sing songs in a pub without charge, it's only the Landlord who pays for the attraction and license to have music played, the same as he needs a license to sell alcohol) whilst other die in poverty giving you those songs.


need a name "the Villan"? OK,

Elizabeth Ntsele


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:37 AM

Elizabeth (if that is your name), we constantly have problems with guest coming on Mudcat and causing real problems. So, as I understood it, people posting as just Guest would not be allowed, thats all.

Les Worrall


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: stallion
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:26 AM

Also elizabeth, read the thread, the bar thing has been covered. can someone change this thread name to something less confrontational and maybe people wont wade in firing from the hip


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:34 AM

Also Elizabeth, the assumption that a landlord can expect to profit every time live music is played is not always realistic, as I pointed out about a hundred posts ago. In the case of an unknown songwriter, the landlord is taking a considerable risk that the musician will actually drive away a fair amount of his custom. As the PRS deems many of these songwriters as being small fry (and therefore not eligible for PRS membership) why should the landlord then be liable for a fee, which will only put money into the pockets of more well known artists and the PRS itself?
In Germany now, there are cases where the performers are deemed "the organiser", so that they have to take responsibility for the GEMA licence. The cafe´ or pub simply can not afford to gamble money on them. Do you want to see the day arrive in the UK when the artists have to pay for licences to play their own songs, while at the same time, they are not eligible for royalties? If you insist on a "one size fits all" policy, that will be the inevitable outcome.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Elizabeth Ntsele
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM

Also Elizabeth, the assumption that a landlord can expect to profit every time live music is played is not always realistic

Nor can a Landlord expect to profit every time he opens his door, that applies to every retail business, he still has to pay his overheads, lighting, Heating, electricity, staff etc.

A songwriter cannot expect to profit (and seldom does) every time he writes a song, If his income is by way of the song being sung at venues and the payment due isn't paid Income will be Nil - bad enough if the item you make doesn't sell but not fair if it is selling (read; being sung) and you still don't get paid.

Les Worrall?? - "we constantly have problems with guest coming on Mudcat and causing real problems."

Causing Real Problems? it's a bulletin board - simply words, peoples opinion, hardly liable to cause life threatening condition or confine one to a hospital bed, easily deleted by admin if offensive or inflammatory etc.. and how does adding a "Name" eg "the Villan" change any of that?

Elizabeth Ntsele


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM

Elizabeth
I am registered as a member on Mudcat, and you will notice that I do every so often put my actual name underneath a post.
Why don't you join?
Les Worrall
href="http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk">Faldingworth Live


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Elizabeth Ntsele
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM

Les - that doesn't answer my question: and how does adding a "Name" eg "the Villan" change any of that? especially when one adds their name it is questioned "If that is your name", maybe "Guests" should have to post a copy of their passports before you let them join your discussions?

The rebuff was not that I didn't register before offering my opinion on the reference to "Gestapo" but that I didn't say who I was or give a name of some sort.

And as for joining "Mudcat" I can see no real advantage in doing so unless I, and other non-registered "Guests" are refused opinion and their right to express it, neither is a fee charged for membership to help with the running cost that must be incurred, so what advantage is there in joining?

Elizabeth Ntsele aka "Guest"
    Nonetheless, the rule here is that if you wish to post, you must use a consistent name. We've had too much trouble with manipulation from people who refuse to use a consistent identity. We don't require membership and if you wish to post as a (named) Guest at Mudcat, that's fine - but my mother always told me that Guests are expected to be on their best behavior.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:25 PM

Elizabeth - do I google right? Was it indeed your father who wrote The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Solomon Linda?

If so then it seems that the royalty system failed him very badly indeed. My sympathies to you. I sincerely hope that today things might be different.

Tom

(And I still think a quid coin in a pint pot at a singaround would not be unreasonable, given the fun we're having, against what different fun might be costing us elsewhere).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM

Elizabeth, I have used The Villan for many years on forums and it is becuase I am an Aston Villa supporter. Some forums recommend that you use a different name to your real one, some don't.

However, as far as I know and I think it still applies, Guests are supposed to add a name after Guest, that defines who they are - that doesn't mean they have to use their real name. In many cases, high profile performers choose to use another name. We have had so many abusers on these threads posting away winding people up and really upsetting decent mudcatters. So are you here to partake without upsetting the applecart or not? If so just put a name of your choice after Guest, so we can recognise who you are. One of the other issues about remaing as a guest, is that soembody else can post as you and fleme away, and yo get the blame.

If I had my way, people wouldn't be able to post unless they had registered there e-mail address and verified it back to Mudcat, as do a lot of Forums.

That is not what Mudcat want to do, so they just have that simple rule.

Maybe somebody Like Joe Offer can intervene here and sort this out in his moderator role.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:02 PM

I think maybe we should get paid royalties for singing and promoting the artist's songs, and getting folks into pubs that might otherwise be empty.

(Chorus: "Off with his head"!!)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM

Tee hee - now that's an angle I hadn't thought of!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:14 PM

"A coastguard near here (NE England) resigned last week. He had been reprimanded for "not following proper procedures" when he went to rescue someone who had fallen off a cliff. By all accounts, if he had followed "proper procedures" it is likely that the person he went to rescue would have died. Someone seems to have a warped sense of priorities."

....and then there's the case of the school crossing patrolman who was suspended for wearing a Santa Claus outfit for the kids in the last week of term before Christmas. Men in dark suits said it was "health & safety issue."

Now the kids have to cross without supervision.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:15 PM

Irrespective of whether I happen to agree with you on every issue, I am hoping to be able to welcome you here as a member soon Elizabeth.
The point I have been trying to make - if perhaps not very articulately - is that many new songwriters are more likely to damage a landlord's trade than they are to enhance it. In most places, if you stick up a poster of two unknown singers, which says they sing John Denver and Simon and Garfunkel songs, the likelihood is that they will outdraw a new singer/songwriter every time. Before that new singer songwriter has enough "pull" to draw people in, he or she is more likely to be a liability to the landlord than an asset. Why should the landlord take that risk?
The PRS want it both ways. On the one hand they openly admit that certain people operate on too small a level to be be of any interest to them. Otherwise, anyone, who wrote a song would be eligible for membership. However, the landlord is still obliged to pay songwriting dues on that gig. Why is that? Unless an act has enough pull to attract substantially more custom than a landlord usually has, it is thoroughly unjust to charge him more, for something, which is not an asset. It is even more unjust when there is no prospect whatsoever that any of that money will reach the songwriters, who can not even achieve membership of the PRS.
I was getting played on internet radio last year, until US publishers deliberately forced a huge hike in royalties, which closed down many stations. The aspect of it, which puts my back up the most, is that they were pretending to do it for my own good! GEMA, PRS licences etc do me no favours at all. They threaten the gigs I enjoy doing. The only advantage to me of GEMA membership is that my records can legally be played on the radio. Mind you, I have to pay for it of course!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Windy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 06:19 PM

It gets worse.
I'm a bit of a jazzer as well as a folkie.'Trad'(Am.'New Orleans') jazz mainly.Much of the trad jazz canon is not actually traditional,the composers are well known and venerated-W.C.Handy,Clarence Williams et al,no longer around,but recently deceased-e.g.WCH 1958 less than 70 years ago therefore estate entitled to royalties.
So,no bee in my bonnet about PRS collecting royalties via annual'licence'fees from pubs putting on a trad jazz band of a Sunday lunchtime.
That is,until I read the Pavane's list of American public domain work.Many of the big trad numbers are there-e.g.St.Louis Blues,High Society,Royal Garden Blues.
Does that mean PRS are collecting for US composers under reciprocal arrangements when the yanks aren't actually interested in having the dosh?


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 03:07 AM

Firstly, let me say that I don't see the relevance of the TV licence analogy quoted by Elizabeth. The PRS exists to collect fees that are due in law on the performance of specific songs for which the rights are owned by their members. The PRS does not have any legal basis to collect fees on songs which are not subject to copyright.

The TV Licence simply allows the reception of broadcast signals - do the PRS want a licence for the reception of sound by the ears?

The real issue as I see it is that publicans are already under financial pressure from other directions (e.g. PEL) and are very likely to stop hosting live music completely - some already have.

Folk clubs in my experience (even dating back to the boom of the 1960's) were not a great money-mker for the pub, and costs have increased substantially since then.

The list of top names who started in folk clubs has been discussed here before, and killing the clubs will no doubt have a long-term effect on the whole music industry.

I do not see any reason why the PRS could not create a new category, for genuine clubs, with a reduced fee which would recognise the element of public domain content usually present and would be affordable. But of course, that is up to them.

Too many golden geese have already been killed, but 'Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone', in the (copyright) words of the song.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 04:59 AM

"I do not see any reason why the PRS could not create a new category, for genuine clubs, with a reduced fee which would recognise the element of public domain content usually present and would be affordable. But of course, that is up to them."

There may well be a case for this. The problem would come in setting the price of that reduction, as there is massive variation in the percentage of copyright material from gathering from gathering, and from week to week. It would have to be a guess-based gesture, with approval from members - and I think PRS would say first that the fee is already very affordable.

I'd suggest that the problem seems mainly to be one of perception. A lump sum of £600+ seems hard to find, whereas a quid in the pot seems almost nothing (and some clubs are only being charged less than £50 pa, - how many pence is that per audience member)? The suggestion that it should be made possible for a club or session to apply for a new type of licence for themselves, rather than the venue having to make the application, has much merit. It would remove the risk of licence demands causing musicians to be banned, and it would allow the group to take their licence with them when they move - and so make it easier to find new premises too.

I've already written to PRS about this (and the confusing nature of both the charging system and the website) myself, but if it's going to happen it will need a concerted campaign, and with all due respect to Mudcat, posts on here are not likely to exert any pressure in Berners St. The best thing would be to write directly to PRS - ideally both as individuals and as whatever folk organisations can speak with authority on the matter.

Tom

The MCPS-PRS Alliance
29-33 Berners Street
London
W1T 3AB


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Nigel Spencer (cookieless)
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:05 AM

I'm not particularly convinced by any of the arguments about the financial benefits of singarounds to pub landlords. Here's an example why. The redoubtable 'Les in Chorlton' organised a fantastic, brilliantly attended singaround at our local pub that had to compete with the much more popular pub telly. The standard of singing was excellent, the singers' choice of traditional songs was impeccable and we even had guest appearances from players of musical planks and small pipes. How cool is that? The following month, it had to relocate to another pub because the football was on and the room where the singaround was due to happen was needed for the overspill telly. Les later trawled round all the pubs in Chorlton looking for an alternative venue, but it's official - traditional music sung at high volume by a motley collection of folkies cannot hope to compete with football on the telly (or even random telly on the telly).

So much for the extra profits singarounds bring to landlords!

I wish I knew what the answer was, but I suspect its not charging landlords to allow people to sing traditional songs when the buggers don't want it in their footballtastic pubs anyway...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Nigel Spencer (cookieless)
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:08 AM

Total thread drift (sorry!) , but is the 'Alanabit' of this thread the same man responsible for the excellent 'the New Patriot'?

Nigel


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:27 AM

I'm amazed by the attitude of some of the people on here, who are presumably musicians themeselves. They will have paid, perhaps quite a lot of money, for their instruments, and they'll pay for new strings, bow rosin, tuning or whatever it is their instrument needs to keep it in fettle. They'll pay for music books and CDs, and no doubt when they go out playing music they'll pay for a drink or two. But they object to the very idea that a small payment might be made for the actual music they play. AND IT'S NOT EVEN THEM WHO HAS TO PAY IT!

I'll say it again: the problem is, firstly that the sometimes heavy-handed approach by the PRS can jeopardise the very existence of venues, where these are not being run on a commercial basis, and secondly that the sampling method used by PRS makes it unlikely that the composers whose music is actually being played will see any royalties.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 08:57 AM

It's all about 'bums on seats'. The musicians are not the ones being expected to pay, but when their performances, however good, do not pull in the punters, the organiser cannot be expected to subsidise the event, whether a club or a singaround. The whole system is biassed against the amateur or semi-professional entertainer.

The risk to a landlord is that he pays the annual fee, then the club may fold or move elsewhere. Charging the club directly would remove this risk from the venue.

Many fine performers give their services FREE on occasion, but that doesn't help. Musicians know that if they don't have the venues, they can't play.

And I suppose there will always be more people wanting to watch football than listen to folk music.

I hope someone can pick up the suggestion about a club licence, but I am over in Luxembourg at present, not in the UK.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 09:50 AM

Nigel Spencer and pavane given the clearest illustrations yet of why strictly enforcing PRS rules actually harms the musicians at the lowest end of the scale. You are well meaning Howard, but ultimately, it does cost us money. It closes down gigs - or we can even end up having to pay for licences to play our own material!

Thread drift: Yes "New Patriot" is one of mine. It is on my first album, "Small Voice Crying", which was kindly reviewed by some fellow Catters.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 11:26 AM

Please keep examples of actual closures or other problems (named premises would help), and positive ideas for solutions (such as clubs and sessions having their own licences) coming. PRS are actively looking for ways to improve the situation. (They may even be reading this ;-)

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Sampling methods
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:14 PM

Hello there.

Having read Howard's point about sampling methods I'd like to observe the following:

Where a gig or session falls "under the radar" due to size, the following apply:
Either
1. the performer or session organiser can submit a generic but representative setlist once in a blue moon detailing all the dates it applies to. Any licences paid by the pub will be distributed according to that information less the c. 12% admin costs of the society. Result of reporting: the writers get their due, gradually.
or
2. The performer or session organiser does nothing and for a long time no one gets their due, until someone comes in and samples what's played, at which point every registered (i.e. professional) writer played that night gets a bumper and disproportionate payday.
Result of sampling: The writers get their due, eventually

I'm pointing out the latter as I don't see how else a sampling system can operate - by nature, it's a sample, a snapshot - leaving aside the question of amateur writers who want no recompense for the use of their work, any negative argument about the PRS is likely to lead to less revenue to those who are struggling, as, if in doubt, they are more likely to reject the chance for payment when it _does_come their way. I know of at least half a dozen cases of this.

Yours

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:39 PM

Surely, when it comes to pubs, the manager decides to put music on and therefore pays the PRS. If they choose not to charge that on, well that's their problem.
When you see pubs putting bands on and paying them and letting people in for nowt, then why should a few bob in the PRS kitty be of concern.

For singarounds and sessions in pubs, surely the organisers can charge a quid a head and hand that over to the publican to cover PRS.
Surely that is not a hardship.

The same applies for people running events at churches, Village Halls etc.

For most people the cost is half a pint of beer and when you see what some people consume, its peanuts.

I suppose I will get hit now with the rhythm stick.

I'll get me coat and listen to a bit of Ian Dury.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 03:22 PM

In reply to alanabit, I made the same point: that a problem arises when PRS puts venues in danger. This happened (over 20 years ago) to a folk club I was involved with; the landlord took such umbrage at the attitude of the PRS rep that he refused to pay on principle. He eventually reconsidered, fortunately, but his first reaction was nothing to do with the cost but with the arrogant attitude of the PRS rep.

I like the idea of a club licence, which would remove the responsibility from the landlord. Some landlords welcome music because they enjoy it, some tolerate it because they may sell a few more pints, but some see it as part of the pub's place in the community. Folk is very seldom a commercial thing for them (unlike a pub actually booking a band).

My main comment was aimed at those earlier posters who seem to think that just because it is not a commercial event the creator of the music has no right to expect recompense.

In reply to Dan Plews, the PRS needs to make it easier to submit returns. They don't even seem to have a form to download. The fact is, returns are a lot of paperwork for them, its easier for them to rely on sampling from only a few venues. Surely in this day and age they could have an online return which could collect and apportion the fees automatically.

But who would do it? The pub landlord who holds the licence isn't involved with the music. If it's a formal club, there will be an organiser, but for informal sessions there's often no one in charge.

In 40 years in folk music, both as a paid and unpaid performer, I've only been asked to provide information for PRS returns at the bigger festivals and by the BBC.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 03:49 PM

Howard, you need to use the Gigs and Clubs Scheme.

They send you a spreadsheet with two tabs: One for a list of gigs, and the other for a list of songs. All you do is fill it in every 20 or more gigs and mail it back to them.

It's really easy, but I agree not easy to find on their website (and I've taken them to task about that in the past too).

Log in, and search for Gigs and Clubs, that usually gets you there.

I personally would LOVE to be able to do the concert Green Forms online or by email too. I never have time, a pen, or a place to write at festivals etc. plus I'm horribly dyslexic and forms of any kind send me into a tail spin. Green, as it happens, actually makes me feel ill. (Maybe because that's the Inland Revenue's chosen hue too?)! The other advantage would be that we'd know it had been done. 90% of promoters are diligent (Lord knows how they cope with the work), but a few forget. I've suggested this in the past also.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 03:52 PM

PS In case you're wondering, the treatment back in the 60s when I was diagnosed (one of the first ever to be so) was to learn to touch type. But give me a pen and I fall apart (unless I'm DRAWING the letters, as I had to do when I worked in an architects' office - then it's no problem but takes ages).


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 03:11 AM

In my experience of folk clubs and sing-arounds, there is no such thing as a set list. Floor singers just sing whatever they feel like, traditional or not, and musicians often play tunes whose names they do not know. If there is a guest, he may well have a planned set, but often includes many requests.

Nor is it possible in many cases to identify the audience. Quite often, the performers have only a corner of a room, so going round asking for a contribution may not be possible.

It does seem to me that many people are under a mistaken impression of how folk events work or even occur. As a member of a Morris side, we often used to descend on a pub more-or-less at random at the end of a tour and ask if we could play and sing in a corner. No organisation at all.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 04:35 AM

The latter instance is covered under 'occasional and spontaneous performances' while performing members submit a standard, typical or average set list under the gigs and clubs scheme.

But yes, as we've said above, the whole problem with sessions and singarounds is that no-one's even thinking about writers or copyright, and certainly no-one's taking notes. I think it's right that not many people in PRS understand folk music, but some do and they do want to get it right - they have a legal obligation to do so in fact. But they have to have SOME system that won't break the bank, and that's why they currently operate a catch-all policy.

Now, maybe the price needs to be set lower in some situations, in recognition of the fact that a percentage of the work will be in public ownership (though as I've said, setting that price will not be easy). I think the current view is that most trad material will be registered by someone somewhere as an arrangement, so it's all treated the same as copyright, but I'm unclear about this bit, and need to make more enquiries.

They do, however, admit it's a compromise, and that the system may seem unfair to some people in some situations - and they ARE just starting a major review of all this.

The alternative would be to demand accurate records from ever club and session, which would be a major pain for participants, plus it would hike the admin costs to such a degree that there'd either be no money for writers, or the fee would have to rise dramatically to cover it. Which option would people prefer?

As for making contributions, I guess that would be a matter of forming new habits. Perhaps it could just become good manners for singers and players to pop 50p in the ashtray for the 'people whose talent they're borrowing,' as a friend put it recently. And hat-passing might pick up a few more quid from others round the room.

I personally see it as a matter of respect for writers, rather than as some authoritarian imposition - though points about PRS contact with licencees etc. are noted (and, I've heard recently, noted by PRS themselves, too).

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 05:24 AM

Tom, whilst I've written a few tunes I'm not a member of the PRS and I'm not looking for royalties for myself, so the Gigs and Clubs Scheme doesn't apply to me (and it's hidden on the members-only part of the website). However if the PRS is getting a fee from the venue I'd prefer to see it going to the composers whose music I play, rather than enriching Paul McCartney or my slightly more famous namesake.

But quite frankly, since the experience with the folk club I referred to in my last post I've been a little wary about drawing the PRS's attention to any venue I play in.

I'm not sure what the solution is. The present arrangement for collecting and distributing fees is simple but not very efficient or equitable so far as minority interest genres such as folk are concerned. The cost is small, but it can be a disincentive, since the owner of the venue (who is responsible for getting the licence)isn't promoting the music event. If it's a formal club then he can pass the cost on (if he wishes) in the hire charge for the room, but that is less easy when it's just a bunch of customers in the corner of the bar.

As you say, the PRS probably doesn't understand how folk music works, in particular the idea of a non-commercial, informal session seems quite alien to their system.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon (Freeman who did not use the term Gestpo
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 04:23 AM

All in all between these issues and the smoking ban, I'm beginning to wish informal sessions were taken out of pubs and just became a group of friends playing in someone's house.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: mattkeen
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 05:33 AM

Good idea John


Lovely setting for sessions


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 06:15 AM

Agree, Jon F. And I can't help thinking that playing and singing round the kitchen table is closer to the origins of folk in any culture, rather than in a drinking place, pub or taverna.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 06:55 AM

I think your right with origins, George. As far as I understand it the UK Irish pub session, the one I'm most likely to go to, is from late 50s-1960s.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 06:58 AM

(I still like a scruffy pub though but things change...)


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,clockwatcher
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 07:43 AM

But few of us in the UK live in a house large enough to run a folk club or even a decent size session.

If you want to attract newcomers and/or audience you would have to advertise, and then who knows what types you might get turning up, also licensing problems.

If you don't, then it all gets a bit mutually masturbatory, if you know what I mean.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 07:47 AM

If you advertise, then you need a PEL as well as PRS licence!!!!!


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: mattkeen
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM

I wasn't attracted to folk music by a session, have always thought of them as being for the players benefit.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jon Nix
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 07:58 AM

Hello again everyone,
I am pleased to say that I have now JOINED mudcat and am no longer a guest.

I am also the JON who first used the dreaded G**TAPO word, for which I make no apology. This was prompted by the manner and attitude of the PRS man who came to our venue - very threatening and intimidating towards our affable landlord.

On the subject in question, our landlord has taken up the matter with PRS, based on the website link info kindly provided by Tom Bliss. I accept capacity of the room is mentioned in the PRS info but not square footage of the property. We await the outcome.

Meanwhile, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. It certainly proves there are two sides to every argument. My main concern is not for our landlord to avoid paying what is RIGHTFULLY due, but to pay that and no more.

Personally, I would be very happy for Tom and other songwriters in our "genre" to get rewarded better than they presently are. However, at the same time, the "monopolistic" and intimidatory manner of the PRS should be kept in proportion.

It is no co-incidence that the PRS have recently turned up the heat on small "folky" venues after seeing their traditional revenue source decimated by illegal downloads. The folky venues are a much softer target than "Limewire", "U-tube" or other file-sharing sites.
They are UK based, and easy to find.

Consequently, perhaps we should be pointing the finger at all those illegal downloaders who have upset the status-quo (which used to leave us "below the radar" of the PRS).

Jon Nix


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: mattkeen
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 08:10 AM

Just to clarify: my attraction to sessions is as a player
My attraction to English folk music is as a person.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,Jon Freeman
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM

If you want to attract newcomers and/or audience you would have to advertise, and then who knows what types you might get turning up, also licensing problems.

If you don't, then it all gets a bit mutually masturbatory, if you know what I mean.


I guess much is a bit like that (MM) anyway. I for one don't play to an audience. As far as it goes is I like to think there might be a couple in the room who enjoy the music and that listening or otherwise a landlord feels he has enough custom with our presence (in some cases more a matter of not driving existing custom out than attracting extra trade...),

The hope of finding new to the music musicians and visiting musicians, I think would be a concern though. They seem so hard to find even in public places...

Overall though, I think between this thread and an artist centre thread, I think there is a widening and perhaps at some point permanent spit between the "professional" schools of thought and the "amateur" (which incidentally need not included "its only folk so...") schools of thoughts.


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: pavane
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 11:19 AM

Within my memory, there used to be a regular 'sing-song' at the local pub, where someone sat down at the piano, and the regulars all sang whatever he played.

This was not a club, nor was it folk, just people enjoying themselves, and no-one got paid anything.

It is social gatherings like this which, as far as I know, never thought about the PRS, in fact had probably never heard of it.

Still, the last few have probably been killed off by the PEL anyway.
I believe social music is still alive in pubs in Scotland, where the new PEL does not exist, and in Ireland. Pity about us in the 'Land of Song'


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: Jon Nix
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 12:23 PM

Hi Pavane,

Certainly in my youth it was hearing local artists playing "their version" of a tune that made you want to go out and buy the "real thing" from the record store or to go to the "real" gig. The local singer was like an advert for the real thing and everyone was happy.

But then, in those days, you could to see a big name artist in a venue where you could see the performance WITHOUT a telescope and the ticket price was affordable.

Unfortunately, then greed got in the way..........


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Subject: RE: PRS Performing Rights Gestapo
From: GUEST,New Guest
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM

"People who feel there should be no licences involved in folk music might like to consider what would happen if we scrapped the TV licence, for example. There'd be no BBC and commercial interests would be even more in control"

Why then do PRS demand money for televisions in hotel rooms?   I am looking for a £3500 bill for a PRS licence in an hotel.


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