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PRS call for a Busking Day

GUEST,The Shambles 07 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 07 Jun 10 - 01:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM
Chris Partington 07 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM
Jack Campin 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM
VirginiaTam 07 Jun 10 - 02:28 PM
Leadfingers 07 Jun 10 - 06:39 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM
Rob Naylor 07 Jun 10 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Michael Ricketts 08 Jun 10 - 04:30 AM
breezy 08 Jun 10 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,disslecksik 08 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Pablo 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,disslecksik 08 Jun 10 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,PRS 08 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Busker 08 Jun 10 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,King of the Bus 08 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,OohRogerPalmer 08 Jun 10 - 07:18 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 08 Jun 10 - 08:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 08 Jun 10 - 08:20 PM
Rob Naylor 09 Jun 10 - 10:31 AM
VirginiaTam 09 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM
VirginiaTam 10 Jun 10 - 01:12 PM
autoharpbob 10 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM
autoharpbob 10 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 11 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 11 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 10 - 07:15 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 12 Jun 10 - 04:55 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jun 10 - 06:26 AM
Howard Jones 12 Jun 10 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 12 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 13 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 13 Jun 10 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 14 Jun 10 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 14 Jun 10 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Jun 10 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 14 Jun 10 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Guest Merek & Dary 14 Jun 10 - 08:32 AM
Rob Naylor 14 Jun 10 - 08:54 AM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 09:00 AM
pavane 14 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 14 Jun 10 - 12:43 PM
s&r 14 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 02:57 PM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Jun 10 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 14 Jun 10 - 07:06 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Jun 10 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Jun 10 - 08:03 PM
Howard Jones 15 Jun 10 - 03:20 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 15 Jun 10 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Jun 10 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,TB 15 Jun 10 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM
Bloke from Poole 15 Jun 10 - 07:49 AM
Howard Jones 15 Jun 10 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 15 Jun 10 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 15 Jun 10 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Jun 10 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 15 Jun 10 - 01:21 PM
Howard Jones 16 Jun 10 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Jun 10 - 05:04 AM
Howard Jones 16 Jun 10 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Jun 10 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 16 Jun 10 - 06:36 AM
s&r 16 Jun 10 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 19 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM
Bonzo3legs 20 Jun 10 - 01:42 PM
Howard Jones 20 Jun 10 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 21 Jun 10 - 08:47 AM
Howard Jones 21 Jun 10 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Paul B 21 Jun 10 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Jun 10 - 04:10 PM
Howard Jones 21 Jun 10 - 04:12 PM
Howard Jones 21 Jun 10 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Jun 10 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 11 Jul 10 - 05:53 AM
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Subject: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM

http://lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com/2010/06/national-busking-day.html

National Busking Day - calls music industry

PRS for Music, the organisation that represents composers and songwriters, has called for a National Busking Day in recognition of the importance of busking in many new performers' careers.


Does anyone else suspect ulterior motives from PRS?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:28 PM

PRS for Music is also calling for every town and city to have a designated 'Busking Site', or 'Busk Stop' where performers can safely play.

Safe from whom?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM

And then they can send out their spies to check what they are playing and send them a bill...


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Chris Partington
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM

And then, perhaps, you can't play anywhere other than that designated site, and it will need a PRS licence to go with the entertainment licence.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM

I presume what they're going to do for the day is get their army of pieceworker agents to go round the country distributing their royalty takings for that day into buskers' hats.

I mean, they surely wouldn't make a statement like that without putting their money where their mouth is, would they?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 02:28 PM

There is a little dance group in south east England that only taught dance movement to little ones 7 and under had to close because PRS wanted more than the teacher took in annually.

PRS actually threatened to sue the teacher for last 5 to 7 years of using copyrighted music. She used children's songs mostly with some classic rock mixed in, I think. Early Beatles and Beach Boys kind of stuff.

Teacher applied for an arts grant in order to help her pay PRS so school could continue. Application was rejected.

Really stinks.

If PRS will go after a tiny tots dance movement group in a small village then no one is safe.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:39 PM

PRS is a wonderful organisation IF your name is Paul McCartney


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM

YEAH! That about says it all Terry.

If you are Terry Silver, or Don Thompson, and you would like your share of royalties for your original lyrics and/or music, or for your original arrangement.............

Dream on!

You may own the copyright, but Paul Simon, Elvis Presley's estate, or Michael Jackson's heirs, will get all the dosh.

And if one of them nicks YOUR song, just try to prove it's yours!

It took Bob Kenward eighteen years to win the right to sing his song, and John Conolly is still fighting for the rights to Fiddlers' Green.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM

Incidentally Terry, the rights to almost all Lennon/McCartney originals actually belong to Michael Jackson's estate.

Mine of useless information, that's me.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:18 PM

Don T: It took Bob Kenward eighteen years to win the right to sing his song, and John Conolly is still fighting for the rights to Fiddlers' Green.

Which of Bob's songs was that then? And what's the story?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Michael Ricketts
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:30 AM

C'mon guys, while I too have never been PRS for Music's biggest fan, I think we're all going a little overboard on this. Companies roll out these 'calling on' campaigns all the time, probably just pr.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: breezy
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:34 AM

'busking Day'

That would be the day of rest then !


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,disslecksik
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

I once got a twix that was solid chocolate. I never thought about it at the time but now it's pretty obvious PRS took the biscuit!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Pablo
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 AM

"If PRS will go after a tiny tots dance movement group in a small village then no one is safe. "


OH GOD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO OH GOD OH GOD.

Do you think PRS stole Maddie?

You paranoid Icelandic chancers.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,disslecksik
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:37 AM

Is it true that PRS take the spare digits from those weird six fingered babies and put them in a giant fridge in their basement? I heard that they do this in order to, one day, create a super musician!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,PRS
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM

Watch it! Anymore of these negative vibes and I'll bring the house down.

On a serious note, PRS are superb. I don't know where all the bad ju ju is coming from.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Busker
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:46 AM

Never mind PRS, some chuffing immigrant slipped me a 1 euro coin the other day. I thought it would be different under the Torys, but no.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,King of the Bus
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM

Busk then, wherever you may be,
For I am the King of the Bus said Me,
You can play the spoons, wherever you may be,
Just please don't piss in my hat.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,OohRogerPalmer
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:18 AM

PRS Call for a Busking day?

What the hell?

I want to know that the Guatemalan pan pipes I'm listening too and paying sweet geoff all for are genuine Guatemalan starving families not Toby and Giles dressed up for a day.

But your right, this is how Hitler started.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:16 PM

""Which of Bob's songs was that then? And what's the story?""

The song was Bob's composition "Doctor Syn", which was written ahead of the filming of the Disney film "Moonraker", and Disney Studios accused him of breaching their copyright.

They tied him up in legal constraints for eighteen years, but he won in the end.

John Conolly, when last I spoke to him (and that was about two years ago), told me that he had almost been convinced that his surname, Conolly, was spelled T R A D.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:20 PM

It seems to me that the PRS favours the rights of big "names", over those of genuine, but less well known, composers.

I can think of no reason why they would be unaware of John Conolly's copyright in "Fiddler's Green".

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 10:31 AM

Thanks, Don.

That was the first of Bob's songs that I learned ( I play it like the Stuart Pendrill version, though, not as Bob plays it)...I thought that might have been the one, but KNEW it was written before Disney's film came out, so didn't really see how there could have been an issue, still less an issue that took 18 years to resolve.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM

ahh yes Disney.. Diabolical bastards they are.

My brother is still in a fight with them. He sold them a song for one specific part of Epcot park in Florida and less than a decade later they were using it in TV adverts to boost ticket sales at Disneyland in California. The contract very clearly stated that the song was a one off sell for specific part of the Florida park. Not for use in any other way. Did not pay him a sou for the misappropriation of his material. He only found out about it because his wife's brother and niece live in California. The niece recognised the song. Disney tried to claim the song belonged to them and they could use it in whatever way they wanted, but they pulled the advert and replaced the soundtrack, so evidently knew they were doing wrong.

Gotta love them big corporations trouncing all over the little guy.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 01:12 PM

just had an idea... on the licensing issues in the US thread

Could little shops, directly approach and purchase music from musicians. Attached is a contract that the businesses have permission to play these CDs on premises. They could even offer to sell CDs for the artists to any interested punters.

Licensing outfit couldn't do anything about a mutually agreed contract between artist and business, could it?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: autoharpbob
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM

I don't know why the PRS is getting such bad press, though it is nothing new to me. So many misconceptions in one thread though.

McGrath - PRS NEVER charges the performer of the songs, so the buskers are perfectly free to do what they like. The VENUE has to have the licence - in this case the Town Council, which recoups this from the entertainment licence it charges the buskers I assume.

The little dance group - look at it the other way round. That teacher was earning money from other peoples work - the people who had written the music those kids were dancing to. If there are still people in the world who think that songwriters do it for free, sorry, it ain't like that.

I once - many years ago - worked for the PRS. I was a sampler - a guy who was paid to go round pubs and clubs and write down what people were singing. Thats all. All the places I went to were licenced, no problem checking up on that or anything punitive. Just to find out WHO to pay the money to. But in several places I nearly got lynched - and no doubt it will be the same here. The PRS employs a large army of people just to do this - so that the writers get paid when people use their songs. So there are a few problems where who owns a song is not clear. And people whose songs don't get heard in the sampling don't get paid. It is still a reasonable system with good intentions - the PRS is NOT a profit-making organisation, but it of course covers its costs.

Would you like it if people used your work to make money for themselves without paying you for it?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: autoharpbob
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM

And Virginia, many organisations do purchase music directly from musicians with the express intent of not having to pay performance fees - the music you hear when put on hold on the phone is very often this. A contract transferring the copyright of the music to the organisation means they can play it whenever they like - but is that the best deal for the musician?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM

""I thought that might have been the one, but KNEW it was written before Disney's film came out, so didn't really see how there could have been an issue, still less an issue that took 18 years to resolve.""

When they go to court with the most expensive lawyers a million bucks can buy, it's more surprising that it took as little as eighteen years.


""Would you like it if people used your work to make money for themselves without paying you for it?""

Well Bob, unless your name is Paul McCartney (or some other big "Name" of that ilk), it doesn't matter whether you like it or not, does it?

For sure you'll get zilch out of the PRS. So yeah, you'll know what it's like to have your work earning for the PRS and it's favoured clients, because the share out will contain money charged by the PRS for your work, but you'll not be seeing any of it.

TRUE?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM

PRS / MCPS is of variable quality.
As are contributions to Mudcat threads.
From all I know, PRS does more good than harm, which is all that can best be said of most of us.
The Busking Day idea as I understand it came about when the PRS magazine people were startled at the response to some piece re busking they did, and sought to know more from their members. Remember PRS is owned by its membership, the music makers and publishers. Yes, it is dominated by the big boys - what's new in this our world?
Then the PRS PR people took over abourt busking, and in the way of PR people went right over the top. Again - news?
Like many others I have busked here and there in my time, in various places for various reasons. I was even a judge at a busking competiton in Glasgow in 1990. Now that was a piece of non-sense!
Ewan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM

I don't know why the PRS is getting such bad press, though it is nothing new to me.

There are many good reasons.

One is that when attempts are made to obtain maximum returns by extending the commonly held definitions of what is performance.

One example is their recent (but failed) attempt to insist that shops selling instruments reqiure to pay them for the snippets of music played in the shop to demonstrate the virtues of the instruments for sale. Is this showing a reasonable system with good intentions?

It is the light of such attempts that many will view this call for a busking day as suspect. If their concern in this area is genuine, there are many ways that PRS could help free the whole concept of busking from much needless re-tape.

As a way of fairly rewarding music's creators - this system is not it and should not be supported as if it were. If it were this (or even an honest attempt), I suggest that it would be generally and would not receive the bad press that is claimed to be undeserved or unexplained.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM

Wow!

What a lot of not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming is mixed in this thread alongside the well-informed stuff! I thought I was having a flashback to 2003-2005 and uk.music.folk, where all this stuff about PRS was put to bed for everyone who didn't read the daily mail (and i've recently found all the information I posted for their benefit!).

As a small-time songwriter, through singing my own songs in small pubs and folk clubs and folk festivals I've made some people poorer by the price of admission but richer in other respects, and (thanks to PRS) I've made a few better-known songwriters/folksingers a bit better-off (Richard Thompson, Steve Knightley, Nic Jones, Roger Wilson spring to mind) - and in addition the royalties the PRS has collected on my behalf have supplemented what is a very meagre income from a very worthwhile creative career (anybody on this thread work in banking/advertising/defence/corporate law etc., etc.?)

So I say thankyou for the music, the song I'm singing
Thanks for all the....(I'll get my coat)

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:15 PM

"PRS NEVER charges the performer of the songs, so the buskers are perfectly free to do what they like. The VENUE has to have the licence - in this case the Town Council, which recoups this from the entertainment licence it charges the buskers"

Yep - the money goes round and round, and it comes out of the poor 'performer' Busker's pockets and ends up in the rich guy's pocket...


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 04:55 AM

autoharpbob wrote:

"The little dance group - look at it the other way round. That teacher was earning money from other people's work - the people who had written the music those kids were dancing to. If there are still people in the world who think that songwriters do it for free, sorry, it ain't like that."

This is one of the daftest comments I've seen on Mudcat.   

Yes, the teacher, the kids, their parents, and the owners of the premises were all technically in breach of regulations. But the PRS's response (shutting them down) was as disproportionate as using a tactical nuke to take out a mad gunman loose in a big city. "Better a thousand innocent should perish than one guilty man escape?" I think not.

Or let's take another analogy. In the final extremity of a famine, farming communities will eventually eat their seed-corn. Sacrificing next year's harvest is preferable to starving today ? but if you aren't actually starving, it's a better idea to tighten your belt and hold on to the seed-corn. And those dancing kids are the seed-corn of tomorrow's musical harvest.   

Instead of harassing them (and all the other small venues struggling to break even), the PRS should be subsidising them. A very small increase in the amount they charge the purveyors of Muzak in shopping malls and airports would more than cover the cost.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 06:26 AM

A good friend of mine spent a lot of time jumping through the various hoops to get PRS registration for his compositions and now wonders why ! He gets Damn All and PRS let any T D OR H do what they like wih his songs , and pay him nothing ! As stated previously , its ONLY the Big Boys and Major Music Organisations that get any benefit , while PRS continue harrassing Charities and Non Profit organisations .


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 07:26 AM

Dan, are you really confident that the PRS fees paid by small pubs and folk clubs will actually find their way to the composers you mention?

VT, in the UK composers who join PRS assign their rights in their music to it, so they can't enter into separate deals with venues or musicians. And even if the venue only plays music by non-PRS composers, PRS still demands a fee on the basis that it might.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM

What a lot of not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming is mixed in this thread alongside the well-informed stuff!

Are we to assume that the first catagory is all in the thread which you don't agree with (meaning anything critical of PRS) and the second catagory is that which you do agree with (meaning anything which is not critical of PRS)?

And despite your best efforts at a white-wash on behalf of PRS that you refer to in 2003-2005, I do not remember you putting these issues to bed for anyone, except perhaps yourself.   

Unless you are prepared to be specific on what you judge to be not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming and provide the reasons why you are making this judgement - it is not possible for anyone to provide an answer or for us to have a sensible discussion. Perhaps contributing to a sensible discussion was not the intention of your post?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM

Hello Shambles

"Perhaps contributing to a sensible discussion was not the intention of your post?"

If I wanted to contribute to a sensible discussion I wouldn't be looking at this thread.

However, ill-informed mouth-foaming, if not taken seriously, can be quite funny, and it was in this spirit that I contributed.

Howard, I know that the fees paid by small pubs and folk clubs go to the composers. Because not only do I make sure it happens when I play, other people have come to my gigs and logged the songs, and I can tell you that the people I've mentioned have been the recipients of money as a result of these "samples".

Finally (and I'm aware this sounds arrogant) I have yet to meet anyone online, professional or amateur musician, who has done as much as I have on behalf of people on forums (fora?) to clarify the relationship between and legal and moral issues surrounding copyright and traditional music (as it exists in the UK legal framework anyway).

All that I had stated and researched was presented online at the time and as a result the Musicians' Union asked me to attend and advise the Specialist Music Group discussions between the FRTM (Folk Roots and Traditional Music) section of the MU and PRS, at which other non-performing folk music professionals from the industry were also present.

All of the ringfencing of royalties to the folk world from festivals, the small gigs and bars scheme which allows the small songwriters and folksingers to receive royalties commensurate to the usage of their music in pub sessions and folk clubs, and the funding of "new" traditional music by the PRS foundation for Music which takes place at some festivals - all of that had already been achieved thanks to the lobbying and discussion facilitated by the MU and the FRTM section.

So, while I'm happy crossing rubber swords with some of the foamier posters, I refuse to enter into serious battle with unarmed opponents. Life is far too short and there are far more fun and rewarding things to do with my time.

Like organising AORTAS' (Association for Oral Traditions and Songwriting) Songwriting Workshop, which runs between 19-26 August in Milton Keynes (details and prices here ) - perhaps we could have this discussion there over a foamy pint?

Cheers

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 06:46 PM

It is only by wide and sensible discussion that a way will be found of fairly rewarding music's creators and if or when that is achieved, there will be many who will very happy to support this.

Dan if do you really believe that the existing PRS method is the way of fairly rewarding music's creators then it should be easy for you to convince others of this.

I would suggest that any form of support that is given to the current method makes the introduction of a much needed fair system ever further away.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 04:51 AM

Hi Shambles
I appreciate your frustration at the imperfect situation, but the progress already made towards a fairer situation has been made largely through the efforts of people seeking to work within the framework.

The pre-existing PRS method only came about as a result of informed debate and pressure from writers and publishers.

Informed criticism, wherever it comes from, can even now help those who might otherwise not be able to see "outside the box" in teh way those outside the process can. But it's not my job to convince anyone, and I've already published the facts and found that there are always people who won't let them get in the way of a good opinion.

Cheers

Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:26 AM

Dan, you say that you know that what you say sounds arrogant. I can at least agree with that.

The problem for me is that I do not think that you are arrogant at all but apart from demonstrating this pose, all you have done here is to mock the experience and views of others whilst expecting others to value yours.

It is also difficult to accept that you can really be surprised at the general bad impression of PRS and some of their methods, that continues to be held by many of us.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:31 AM

Dan is right - and I can vouch for his extreme integrity.

The PRS system is flawed, for sure, and some of their initiatives have been wrong-headed, and we have to correct them all the time. But their brief is to maximise revenue for their members - it's why they exist.

Given the almost impossible challenge that collecting royalties on music presents in this free-for-all day and age, the PRS system is largely fair (ok, with occasional faults) and certainly better than any alternative system I've been able to dream up.

How the hell else do you collect writer's royalties? (If someone knows of a better way, I'd like to hear it).

Talk of all the money going to the rich people is misleading and unhelpful.

The sums actually collected for each original work is tiny, so obviously only the people who's music is getting played a LOT will make much money. But even minnows like me make what I think is a reasonable return - £1,300 last year (and I was only gigging for three months of that time). So fairness to composers is NOT an issue - and if you make zilch (as I used to for a long time and soon will again) it's because your music is not being played out much. Can't blame PRS for that.

Fiddler's Green is correctly attributed in the PRS database, as is Shoals of Herring, for example. They are NOT responsible for idiots who insist that these songs are trad - in fact they work to correct this. Yes, there is an issue that the database gets muddied by people sending in wrongly-attributed returns (12 different composers of Dirty Old Town, for example), but all PRS can do is run the system as people advise. The are not the police, and only operate under civil law. If someone has an issue with a misuse of copyright then the matter is settled between writer and user in the civil court. PRS may provide evidence, but they don't represent either party. They are merely a collection agency.

The alternative would be to have a free-for-all, no-payment royalty system, where music was not copyright, and no-one ever made a penny from his works.

But this is untenable in law. Copyright in a work exists at its creation. We can choose to waive it, but you can't draw a circle round 'folk-style' songs, or songs that folkies fancy singing. And you can't separate out copyright on songs from other music, or film, or the written word, or the design of products, paintings, buildings etc.

We have copyright laws, and royalties thereon, because it's what makes the world go round.

How would you feel if I said you should not be paid for your job?

I'm sorry to hear about the dance school. That sounds wrong, but there IS royalty free music available, so it should not have been a problem with the right advice.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:41 AM

Thank you Tom.

How would you feel if I said you should not be paid for your job?

This takes us back to the original post. There are jobs and there are jobs.

If the proposed busking day and the set site for busking were a way of rewarding buskers - the site being licensed and the money from this going toward a pool of registered buskers - such a setup would recognise the difference between buskers and conventional performers. I don't think this is what is being proposed.

The busker performs and then leaves it to their public whether to pay or not. I suspect that such a system would not be thought sufficient for most conventional performers who would expect a fee.

So the conventional performer at least is paid for their job but I acept that this may still leave the composer unrewarded.

I suspect that in the PRS proposal the returns from any fixed busking site would to PRS members and just who would pay for this licence is unclear but I suspect that it would be the buskers who would be expected to provide these funds in some way. A Local Authority may initially pay for this licence but would probably charge the buskers to recoup their costs.

Given the almost impossible challenge that collecting royalties on music presents in this free-for-all day and age, the PRS system is largely fair (ok, with occasional faults) and certainly better than any alternative system I've been able to dream up.

I think that a fairer method can be found and that it is the angle of approach that is preventing most difficulties in finding it. It is the creation of the music for its own sake that is more important that enabling those to make a living from music who have chosen to make it their job.

But their brief is to maximise revenue for their members - it's why they exist.

Indeed and in the blind pursuit of this, it is often the music making that is adversely affected and any system which does this to any extent or accepts some damage as inevitable, is not one that should be supported or excused but replaced with a system which does not do this.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Guest Merek & Dary
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 08:32 AM

Nice to hear you alive and well Tom and hope you are happy in your new home. We were on holiday in Guernsey last week so envious of your life in the channel islands!

However, the PRS subject. Having read all the threads would comment as follows:

As an organiser of the Banbury Folk Club, I have mixed feelings about PRS. Of course we would not want songwriters not to profit from the writing of their songs but from all accounts (as portraid in a lot the comments) PRS is not socialistic! I am all for the big boys getting a lower share of the PRS pot in favour of the small boys getting more as the big boys get more than enough from their big takes at gigs. Doing that would give the lesser known artists at least a living wage. Also, the bigger promoters should have to pay more when they have massive door takes so that poor folk clubs, like ours and many others, would not always be at risk of folding because they cannot afford it. Every club that folds is a loss to the musicians who rely on them to perform (and by doing so improving performance, getting their songs/tunes known and as a result the opportunity of going up in the scale of fame). The public also lose out on the availability of a type of music they prefer.

When there are so many anti PRS feelings out there, I am surprised that there does not seem to be anyone who has tried to find out, under the freedom of information act, how much money PRS receives and distributes annually and how much they hold in assets. With that information, interested parties lobying for a fairer system would have a better informed argument.

Derek


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 08:54 AM

Revenue in 2009 was £623 million. Around £40 million of that was from performances in pubs and clubs, but this was reduced on the 2008 figure by pub/ club closures (down about 5%, or £2 million, I believe).

From what I can see, the attempt to put the "bite" on music being played at work, or in places like the playgroup above, is to try and make up ther losses due to pub/ club closures. Most of them paid their license fee: an extra £2.2 million was raised by "vigorous pursuit" of people playing background music at work, etc, which nicely offsets the pub/ club losses.

It's this part of the PRS's strategy that seems to cause most of the negative feeling about the PRS from the "ordinary members of the public" that I know. Many of my friends have stories of the PRS pursuing people for payment of trivial or incidental use of music in environments where calling it a public performance is really stretching a point. Presumably broadcast radio stations have already paid the PRS, so trying to "double dip" on someone listening to a radio at work, or threatening a granny with prosecution for singing to herself while stacking shelves in a supermarket, seems unfair to most.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:00 AM

I doubt whether FoI applies to PRS, which is a private organisation. It's financial results are published on the PRS website but don't explain how the funds are distributed between large and small composers.

The issue for folk music is how to better ensure that the PRS fees are properly distributed to the composers in this area of music. The other issue is that we (or our venues) are paying PRS to be allowed to play music which it doesn't have rights over. There are no signs that PRS is interested in addressing either of these issues.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: pavane
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM

They keep sending threatening letters about wanting fees for music played at my company premises. Luckily although I have a company, I don't have any company premises, but that's not the point.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 12:43 PM

Pavane
Sorry to hear about the threatening letters - I don't have a TV and the TV licensing people keep sending me similar ones. When I called to clarify it cost me because there was no non-geographical number, and the customer service person acted like they were doing me a favour by making me hold..
Howard
Re the distribution:
It's really none of my business what Paul Simon earns in royalties, just how the PRS determine what someone's share is. And the answer is with big gigs and radio/TV (and thanks to the FRTM and MU Folk Festivals) everything's logged and therefore ring-fenced, going to those whose music is played), and with smaller gigs people can send in what's played online and they send people in to venues to sample what's played.

Derek
Re Socialist PRS
You're definitely right there.
Bureaucratic - yes.
Meritocratic - as far as is practicable
Dogmatic/pragmatic - I have known them to be both
Progressive re-distribution of wealth amongst songwriters - no thanks, not as policy, but...
protection of rights of songwriters and according re-distribution of wealth from copyright-infringers to copyright owners - yes please, art for art's sake, money for god's sake.

And on that note can I just add the following observation:

In my experience (limited to maybe a few hundred pub venues) there are as many places paying nothing at all as there are places who pay their dues - which means songwriters (and disproportionately the smaller songwriters, writers of Fiddler's Green, etc.) are not being paid where their music is making someone else money.
And this is not because of the PRS but rather the attitude of publicans, which is one that we see echoed rather a lot in the gutter press and online.

I don't think discussion here will change that situation: if the PRS had a cost-effective means of ensuring 100% compliance I'm sure we would have seen it by now - but that fact should be ever-present in any discussion about whether or not they eat babies.

Cheers

Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: s&r
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM

The levy on non copyright music which is 'wrongly' paid to PRS is returned they claim by the PRS foundation which makes various grants. Typically they finance part of Cambridge F F (Club Tent). So that's all right then, take from the poor (clubs festivals etc) give to the rich.

I've said before, there should be a PRS just not the one we've got.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 02:57 PM

Dan,

It's naive to say that small gigs can get logged. The PRS now seems to discourage small venues from submitting returns, they're too time-consuming to process. They prefer to rely on sampling, however this isn't representative, since the repertoire can vary considerably from one club or session to another. PRS recognises this with its "pubs and clubs scheme", but this is specifically aimed at PRS members performing their own material.

Anyway, it's the licence-holder's responsibility to submit a return - for most folk clubs and sessions that's the pub landlord, who is simply not interested in doing so. In 40 years of performing in public the only times I've been asked to provide information for PRS is at big festivals or by the BBC.

Informal sessions and singarounds are a particular problem since there's no set playlist, and it's unrealistic to expect someone to sit there logging tunes as they're played. Also, the way we learn music is a problem - we tend to pick up tunes and songs from other players, don't always know the composer (or even the title), and as the PRS won't open its database to non-members it's difficult to check what's copyright and what isn't.

I'm afraid I'm left with the feeling that PRS is demanding money, sometimes with menaces, just to allow us to perform music, even though they don't have jurisdiction over some of it and for the rest they are probably not passing on the royalties to the actual composers due to an inefficient distribution system.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 03:11 PM

Dan - I recognise your point that there are many venues operating without a PRS licence. However many pub landlords don't consider they are making money from music just by allowing their customers to sing and play a few songs, and when they're approached in an aggressive manner by a PRS jobsworth demanding a disproportionate fee, they're likely to react negatively.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 04:33 PM

Howard,

Every gig in the land is potentially in the system by means of the Gigs and Clubs scheme. This is compiled by the artist retrospectively, so neither the venue nor the club is aware that it's happening. A majority of my PRS income arrived this way.

The chief problem as I see it is that a lot of folk people don't want to put a value on the music they're using for their enjoyment. And if you feel the writer and arranger's work has no value, then of course any licence fee however small is disproportionate and exorbitant.

But if you compare the licence fee with, say, the price of soap in the Gents, or the heating bill, or the beer or any other essential resource, then it's actually incredibly cheap. But only if you value the work of the people who own that music and the costs it took to make it available for your use.

Now, some say that 'folk' music should never be owned - but that's a different issue.

Even if we could define and isolate the music enjoyed in folk contexts, which we absolutely couldn't anyway, we'd not have the CDs, records, books, radio stations and music TV programmes which distribute it. We'd have lots of home-grown local music, which would be be great, but we'd be loosing something in the process. And where would you draw the line? Some 'folk' 'writers' (PLEASE note my inverted commas) might be happy to release their rights to a creative commons type sytem (and I have campaigned for a check box option for non-revenue-earning use myself), but others would not - and they have every right not to. Copyright exists, and it's a necessary function of society. (Note the word 'right' buried right there after the word 'copy').

As for this nonsense about 'not passing on royalties to the actual composers due to an inefficient distribution system' please read my post above again.

Considering the staggering complexity of the marketplace for performed music, the PRS system is almost miraculously efficient. Not perfect - but £1,300 in one year for the likes of me? Come, on, give the guys a break. I think that's damn good. Ok, they pay the chief exec too much, but you can't accuse them of unfairness or inefficiency - well you can, but only if you're more interested in mud-slinging and stirring up trouble than the truth.

I repeat. If you're not getting much money, it's because not many people are using your music. And that'll be me next year, so I'm not bragging ok? If you want to make a mint out of your couple of songs that people sing in the club, fine - but the licence fee will have to go up a lot. You can't have it both ways.

Now, I do agree that public domain music should NOT be charged for, unless it is being performed, as arranged, by the person/people who registered that arrangement. I was well into negotiations on this when I retired (having crossed swords with the MU, who hold the opposite view about it). And we were waiting with baited breath for the promised new special transferrable club licence which would exempt all PD music in non fee-earning situations.

But it's not been announced. Why, I wonder?

Could it be because not enough people are prepared, as Dan and I have been, actually to engage with PRS - and too many remain content merely to snarl at them from the undergrowth, and often in ways which completely miss the rights, legal issues and practical costs of the situation, while promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict?

I do hope not. Because if so then all my efforts will have been wasted.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:06 PM

Could it be because not enough people are prepared, as Dan and I have been, actually to engage with PRS - and too many remain content merely to snarl at them from the undergrowth, and often in ways which completely miss the rights, legal issues and practical costs of the situation, while promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict?

I'm sorry but this is 'them and us' nonsense. I do tire of the defence that anyone who may be critical of PRS cannot be well-informed. The public who are not PRS members have to rely on those who are members to use their voice to effect any practical change.

PRS members have responsibilty to the public but often some members
think that the best defence is to continue to simply mock their concern.

The fault here is plainly with the failure of PRS to actually engage with the public and especially in their many attempts to broaden what is performance in order maximise revenue for their members. It is this which is promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict. As you say:

The PRS system is flawed, for sure, and some of their initiatives have been wrong-headed, and we have to correct them all the time.

The PRS is its members. The tail is wagging the dog if you (its members) feel you have a system where you are embarrassed by and have to be constantly correcting the initiatives those who are employed to collect and distribute the fees.

Do you not understand and accept that the damage is done, both in real and in PR terms, long before any of these initiatives can be corrected?

I suggest that it should be the PRS members who dictate any initiatives and the extent and areas where revenue is maximised and the employees are left to the collecting and distributing.

Do you think that there is really any comfort to be had for the public in the fact that some PRS members may not like the damage that has already been inflicted by initiatives undertaken on their behalf?

Would you not accept that the public may expect PRS members to prevent the damaging initiatives before the damage is done?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:16 PM

""From all I know, PRS does more good than harm,""

That still begs the question,.....For whom?

Maybe one day a folkie somewhere will get a couple of quid, but I don't intend to hold my breath waiting.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:29 PM

""Informed criticism, wherever it comes from, can even now help those who might otherwise not be able to see "outside the box"""

It's not about seeing "outside the box", so much as being outside the box when the cash is being split up between bigger "names".

I'd need something more than the word of one individual before I'd believe the statement that guys like me do get paid out.

Amongst the many semi and full pro composers I count among my friends, I do not know of a single one who has ever received anything from PRS.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 08:03 PM

i agree with all you say, Roger. But there is only so much one member can do. I tried to involve the MU but they have a different perspective.

But at least I tried, snd people getting angry about the things that are not wrong is simply not helpful to people trying to effect change.

Don, do your friends complete gigs and clubs scheme returns? If they are not playing many concert venues or getting radio plays its the only way PRS can know about your performances.

They don't just pay out because of the existance of a song, and nor should they. This the Performing RS remember.

Obviously you need to get over the sdmin cost threshold, but again that's completely fair and reasonable.

Members who gig will get money IF they do the paperwork.

tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 03:20 AM

Tom, you misunderstand me. I am not a composer (apart from writing the occasional tune) and I am not a member of PRS. I am not concerned about receiving royalties for my music. However I would like to be reassured that the royalties my performances should be generating actually reach those composers whose music I play. The small gigs scheme is for PRS members - it may work well for you to record your own performances and generate income from them, but it doesn't allow me to record my performances of your music, or that of other composers. Let me repeat, as a musician who has performed semi-professionally for 40 years in folk clubs and festivals, regularly plays for ceilidhs in village halls and hotels, and plays weekly in informal pub sessions, I can count the number of times I have been asked to provide a PRS return on the fingers of one hand.

As you say, the amount of the licence for a small club or session is not large. However for a landlord who does not see allowing a few customers to play music as generating significant income it is an imposition, especially when faced with an aggressive approach by PRS. I know from my own experience that this can happen, and the reaction of the landlord was to tell the PRS to f*** off and to close the folk club.

And even although the fee is not large, a good proportion of it is claimed under false pretences since a large proportion of the music being performed is not owned by PRS.

I am not opposed to PRS in principle and I fully support the idea of composers being rewarded. However I feel that the impact of PRS on folk music is largely negative - the fees (and PRS's attitude even more so) are a disincentive where the music is not provided on a commercial basis, and I am convinced the distribution does not get to the people whose music is played, because the information-gathering on which the distribution is based is inadequate. If the PRS's response to the non-copyright music issue is to sponsor Cambridge Folk Festival, I feel that is completely inappropriate and that it should make donations to EFDSS and similar organisations instead.

At the very least, PRS needs to do some PR work in the folk community, and it really needs to look more closely at how it gathers the information. Sampling events may work for popular music, but is not representative of folk - what is performed at one folk club or session may be completely different from that performed at another club or session just down the road.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:14 AM

But at least I tried, snd people getting angry about the things that are not wrong is simply not helpful to people trying to effect change.

Any efforts are appreciated and perhaps you would accept that not every critic of PRS is in fact angry and where there is any anger it arises out of concern? And that it is equally unhelpful if those PRS members who claim to be trying to effect change, dismiss that concern as promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict (or worse).

It is also a cause of great frustration which could lead to anger when the few PRS members who do accept that the system is flawed continue to defend it (as if it were not) whilst still accepting their cut along with the majority of PRS members, who do not seem to care about the damaging initiatives undertaken on their behalf.

No one is owed a living and those who choose to try to make music their job, especially in folk music, are aware of the difficulties.

PRS, the MU and other organisations are there to look after the interests of those who make this choice, which is fair enough. However, they do not have a monopoly on every aspect of music making and there are many initiatives and restrictions taken by these organisations which have and continue to act against the interests of music.

If this makes some people who care about music angry, perhaps this anger is at least understandable?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:28 AM

Ah - yes, in that case I agree with you entirely - and I've just banged off another letter to PRS. Maybe you, and other musicians who feel the same, should write to the MU FRTM section (I assume you are a member if you're doing all those gigs). I they alone have the clout to do something about this, but they need input and ideas that deal with the real problems, not the imagined ones that we mostly read here on Mudcat.

As for those landlords who baulk at paying the (small) licence fee - well that's a shame for the club, but landlords are struggling for all sorts of reasons, and in my experience it's often not only the licence fee that turns out to be the issue in situations like this. If there are not many wanting to play music, and the landlord is unsympathetic, then maybe the club / session is in the wrong pub? Other licensed premises are available.

We do need this transferrable PD/free licence, though. Dan - do you know what's holding it up?

As for sponsoring Cambridge, that's not all they do by any means as you can see here .

Tom

PS sorry about the 's's in my previous post, the stylus slipped on my phone - I meant 'admin' threshold, obviously.

Collecting royalties that are calculated in fractions of pence, from hundreds of thousands of premises costs a lot. It is completely unreasonable for people who don't have their music played very much in public to expect a lot of money from these performances.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:29 AM

Sorry Roger, I was agreeing with Howard and we crossed, but I agree with you 100% too.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM

While I'm being contentious, I might as well share this thought.

I personally agree that PRS PR is appalling and that their aggressive collection policy is counter-productive.

But in the interest of mutual understanding I would like to remind everyone that historically it has been writers who've been taken for granted, disenfranchised and not paid their legal dues. PRS actually see themselves as champions of the underdog. Yes, they do, and when you hear people demanding that all music should be free for all to use, you can understand why.

The vast majority of PRS members are small fry like me.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Bloke from Poole
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 07:49 AM

I was asked to fill in a questionnaire about radio listening a while ago. I don't listen to music radio (even folk!) at home, but I used to hear it at work, in shops etc. I realised, filling in the form, that I hadn't heard a radio in a shop or garage for ages.

Workplaces are not allowing people to have radios on. I know at least one where staff are permitted to use (their own) MP3 players because the company didn't want the hassle (probably more than the cost) of getting a PRS licence, therefore banned the radio.

So musicians - admittedly, probably the bigger ones - are losing the shop window in which their wares were displayed.

Malcolm
not a musician. Nor a composer.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 08:15 AM

Are we in the wrong pub? Perhaps, but finding suitable premises isn't as easy as you seem to think.

Many pub landlords still take the view that the pub should provide a facility to the community, which is why they provide dartboards, hold quiz nights and in some cases allow music. Sometimes these activities will attract customers and sell more beer, but not always.

My local session was very quiet last week - only half a dozen musicians, each nursing our pint because we had to drive home afterwards. The other customers seem to enjoy it, but its doubtful whether we actually attracted customers, and we have to recognise the possibility that some may actually stay away if they don't like the music. I don't know whether the landlady made any profit out of the session after paying the PRS fee - it's probably marginal. She certainly doesn't see it as part of his commercial operation and I doubt the session makes any real difference to her in commercial terms.

It's this sort of informal, non-commercial music which is most threatened when the PRS comes storming in with an insensitive approach, but it's at the very heart of folk music.

In the other case I mentioned the landlord did make a small charge for the room as well as attracting extra customers for his beer. However the fee the PRS demanded was out of all proportion to the money he made from hosting the folk club. What really pissed him off was the PRS rep's attitude, and he was quite prepared to give up earning a few extra quid a week rather than submit to what he saw as bullying. We eventually resolved the issue and the club continued, but it was touch and go for a while.

I haven't been a member of the MU for many years, as I found that its activities weren't relevant to me, indeed completely failed to take account of the environment in which I was playing. I see that it now has a folk music section but the benefits of joining are still not clear to me. Perhaps that's another organisation which needs to do some PR.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 09:28 AM

Tom
I didn't know about the PD licence possibility, less still what might be holding it up
Shambles
"it is equally unhelpful if those PRS members who claim to be trying to effect change, dismiss that concern as promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict (or worse)."
What we PRS members (i.e. Tom and I) are doing is to dismiss misinformation, and in the process encourage understanding, thereby minimising conflict.
Those people who are spreading ill-informed misinformation are the people who make meaningful discussion in an open forum impossible - the "I don't know anyone who's ever got anything"s, the "_IF_ you're Paul McCartney"s - it's utter crap, which some people continue to spout as if unable to see anything beyond their keyboards.

Anyway, Tom, thanks for your far more reasoned contributions to this discussion, you have the patience of a very patient thing, but I don't have quite so much, time still less, so I think I'll bow out until I have a chance to re-post all that research somewhere for people to chew over.

Cheers and good luck to everyone

Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 09:30 AM

PS
Tom
It's probably also worth noting that anyone can fill out the small gig returns - landlord, promoter, sessionista, whoever. Anyone who wants to make sure "folk money" stays "folk money".
Cheers
Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 10:19 AM

Yes, Dan - I'd briefly forgotten that.

You don't have to be a member to do the GACS forms, so, Howard, there's your answer.

Me, I'm of the old school (ok, old public school) that you join the union when you 'get your start,' and if they're not doing what you want you get involved and change things for the better.

The MU is an excellent organisation - cheap insurance, training, support if you're ill, plus clout with people like PRS and Westminster.

Can't understand why any semi-pro wouldn't join. The subs are not that dear - and insuance alone makes it worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 01:21 PM

What we PRS members (i.e. Tom and I) are doing is to dismiss misinformation, and in the process encourage understanding, thereby minimising conflict.

Those people who are spreading ill-informed misinformation are the people who make meaningful discussion in an open forum impossible - the "I don't know anyone who's ever got anything"s, the "_IF_ you're Paul McCartney"s - it's utter crap, which some people continue to spout as if unable to see anything beyond their keyboards.


Tom to his credit has turned this discussion onto a more positive path. Dan you may, perhaps understandably, have fallen into the ways of those who you scorn. This will have the same effect on others and will certainly make meaniful discussion impossible, as it was before Tom posted.

Where a statement is made here that is not accurate it should be fairly easy for you to counter this with a more informed view. This may not change the view of those who will hold their view whatever facts are presented to them, but others may change their view. You may tire of this but I can see no other way. Simply to post only to mock will only prove counter-productive.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 04:38 AM

Tom, I'm afraid you're wrong, the Gigs & Clubs scheme is only for PRS members. This from the PRS website:

You must be a member of PRS for Music to make a claim. Alternatively, if you are a member of or an affiliated performing right organisation, that organisation can use the scheme on your behalf.

If you have performed at a pub, club, bar, community centre or hotel in the previous year (based on the date of claim), submit a representative set list to us online and we'll pay the songwriters/publishers of the works performed. This includes touring performers, resident performers and DJs.

To make a claim please log into your online account and click on Report My Live Performances and then Gigs and Clubs Scheme.


PRS Gigs & Clubs scheme

It appears that "customers", ie PRS licence holders, can also have an online account, but it is not open to anyone else.

It might well be better if non-members could report their gigs as well. However the requirement to submit a representative set-list, rather than reporting actual performances, isn't really appropriate for someone who is not performing formal sets but is playing in casual sessions.

In fact it might be better if PRS made a lot more information available to non-members - for example, why can't a non-member check the PRS database to find out who owns the copyright to a particular piece of music?

One of the reasons PRS (and the Licensing Act for that matter) is out of line with the folk world is an underlying assumption that the licence holder is promoting the music, whereas the reality in the majority of cases is that they have no involvement, and no real interest, beyond providing premises.

As for the MU, one of the reasons I let my membership lapse was that I did not feel it was appropriate to belong if I could not observe its rules - in particular I was not in a position to demand MU payment rates, neither could I comply with the rule not to perform alongside non-members.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 05:04 AM

Hmm, must be that customer account thing I was thinking of. Though you could fill it in for the landlord if you wanted, I suppose. If you wanted to influence change you could bombard the PRS with set lists for every gig - in fact why don't we start a campaign now. Everyone who does paid gigs but is not a member of PRS should email their set list, with writer/arranger details to GigsClubsScheme@prsformusic.com.

If they are being advised of public performances of members works they have a duty to act.

They should add a footnote at the bottom of every email requesting immediate implementation of the proposed free transferrable Club Licence, in which Public Domain works can be played without royalty (hah!) as long as the event is free entry.

(This was about to be launched about this time last year, but I was asked to keep mum about it for a while longer, but as I have written to Debbie Malloy three times asking for an update without reply I now feel I can absolve myself of this purdah).

Yes, I've asked for the database not only to be available for all to view, but even more importantly for it to be

a) policed by PRS (at the moment you'll see lots of erroneous 'attributions' which have got there because reports have been made by people who don't know who the writers are, as well as a few scallywags either having a go or genuinely 'confused' about arrangements) to show only the correct legal owner/s of the right.

b) to include sound clips, first to differentiate between, say, Fiddlers Green by JC, and, possibly, another totally different goth/death metal track of the same name, and secondly so that we can have some reference for arrangements of trad works.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 05:52 AM

Tom, that's an excellent idea. Why don't you start a new thread to promote it?

If the set list were to include all the traditional material as well as copyright stuff it might get across to PRS how much music is being played which is outside their jurisdiction.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 06:12 AM

Ok, but I'd like to give PRS time to respond first.

I have alerted them to this thread.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 06:36 AM

http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/28535/prs-call-for-national-busking-day

There now seems to be a problem with the original link to this story.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: s&r
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 05:43 PM

"Public Domain works can be played without royalty (hah!) as long as the event is free entry."

Wow

13.5 million over ten years? Surely the total money collected that should not have been collected would be well in excess of that paltry sum...

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 04:39 PM

Howard:
"You must be a member of PRS for Music to make a claim. Alternatively, if you are a member of or an affiliated performing right organisation, that organisation can use the scheme on your behalf."
Without reading on to the responses (sorry)
There's a difference between reporting what's played and making a claim. There's no contradiction between my post and this, so unless they specifically exclude this possibility either verbally or written(and I have heard them explicitly include this possibility) I'd probably stand by my earlier comment. This practice pre-dates the small gigs and bars scheme too - as far as I know, it's been an obligation on them for a while.
Membership now costs £10 by the way - just more than the price of a licence.
Shambles
"Where a statement is made here that is not accurate it should be fairly easy for you to counter this with a more informed view. "
Hey, that's what I did. Leadfingers and don wysiwyg posted rubbish, I stuck up my hand and said "hey, look at me, I'm living proof that what you say is bull!" To which he replies:

"A good friend of mine spent a lot of time jumping through the various hoops to get PRS registration for his compositions and now wonders why ! He gets Damn All and PRS let any T D OR H do what they like wih his songs , and pay him nothing ! As stated previously , its ONLY the Big Boys and Major Music Organisations that get any benefit "
So, pretty easily done, then. No recourse to mocking or sarcasm, certainly. But if I did resort to it, that would certainly justify discussion of my manners, which is far less embarrassing for all concerned than climbing down off their high horses, don't you think?


Tom
"Finally (and I'm aware this sounds arrogant) I have yet to meet anyone online, professional or amateur musician, who has done as much as I have on behalf of people on forums (fora?) to clarify the relationship between and legal and moral issues surrounding copyright and traditional music (as it exists in the UK legal framework anyway)."
Apart from you of course, and probably a few dozen others xx
How's that for humble, Shambles?
;-)
Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 01:42 PM

A highly despicable organisation.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 04:27 PM

Dan, you may well be correct, but it's far from clear on the PRS website. The small gigs and clubs scheme specifically says claims must be made online, and only members can have an online account. "Customers" ie licence holders can also have an online account and are presumably advised by their point of contact on what to do. There is nothing to suggest that third parties can submit returns, or how they should do so. If it's possible, it's not exactly encouraged.

I disagree with bonzo3legs about PRS being a "despicable organisation". It may not be very efficient but I'm struggling to think of a better way in principle (the actual processes could be improved) of sorting out copyright permission, and as a performer I'm glad I don't have to pay for it myself. However it is based around the "music industry" and causes real problems for low budget not-for-profit community music activities such as folk clubs and sessions. For people trying to play music and run folk clubs, PRS is an obstacle, which is particularly galling since it does not own the rights to much of the music being performed there. The obstacle is not so much the cost as the aggressive way PRS polices venues, so that where the economic benefits of allowing music are small, the venue may prefer to do without the music.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 08:47 AM

Howard:
Agreed.
In terms of the reporting of what's played, it's long been the case AFAIK that people can report it. With membership being £10, there's the opportunity to work within the existing framework at very little expense in terms of time or money, through the small gigs and bars. It might require the host to make notes sometimes (not _all_ the time - so not exhaustive, but representative) and copy and paste into an excel spreadhseet to send off every 6 months/year.
There are special rates for not-for-profits, but since the typical session (however community-music-making it may be) occurs in a pub, it's easy to see why these don't apply. The fee for spontaneous music-making (don't ask me for a definition, ask them..) is much less than a standard live-music fee - about £3 IIRC.

As far as your contention that it "does not own the rights to much of the music being performed", that's clearly a potential issue; in practice the content of sessions is as multifarious as the participants themselves, and gig situations are also varied, and the range of licences the PRS administers attempts to reflect that.

It's all bureaucracy for the profit-maker of course, which is to be lamented, but we insist they put people serving drinks on payrolls with minimum wages and I'm sure there are some who moan about that too.

Cheers

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 02:59 PM

Dan,

I've just searched the PRS website for "reporting gigs" and the results all seem to require me to be a member at to log into an online account. It is far from clear whether non-members can report performances and if so how they can go about it. You also have to be a writer or publisher to join, so someone who is only a performer would not be eligible.

PRS is seen by folkies as an obstacle rather than as supporting music, which is it's own image of itself. The biggest obstacle to running a folk club or session is finding suitable premises. This usually means a pub, which must be accessible, have parking, be in a safe area, have the right atmosphere, good beer, etc. Having found one which meets the criteria, you then have to persuade the landlord. Usually the economics allow only a nominal room hire fee to be paid - for sessions there's usually no fee. The landlord might sell a few more drinks, but in most cases it probably doesn't make a lot of difference to him financially whether or not the music takes place. Some of them enjoy the music, while for others I sense that they're not really bothered but see it as part of the pub's role in the community. Then there's the need for a music licence under the 2003 Act and an appropriate PRS licence.

The cost of a licence at about £7 a time is probably not an issue for the landlord (in most cases the club would probably reimburse it if necessary, although my point about non-copyright music rubs salt in the wound). The perceived hassle of applying for one may be. Getting aggravation when a PRS rep turns up definitely is. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have experienced situations where the landlord would rather stop the music rather than submit to bullying tactics.

The PRS structure is based on a model which expects that the licence holder has an interest, probably a commercial one, in putting on music, or at least in hiring out premises for it to be performed. It doesn't cope very well with the typical folk situation where the returns to the licence holder are negligible. I repeat, in most cases it's not the level of the fee which causes the problem but the manner in which it is demanded.

I take your point about the mixed nature of the folk repertoire. In my own experience, about 80% of the material is traditional, about 10% self-composed or performed with the composer's direct permission, and the remaining 10% comes under the control of PRS. Of course the balance will vary at other events, but perhaps you will understand why many people think that the PRS has only limited grounds for making its demands.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Paul B
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 03:33 PM

Why dont you guys just join the PRS then? you know its free don't you? it went free about 6 months after I paid the membership fee of £100.(but thats just my bad luck)
then you can report all your gigs yourself.
Plus getting loads of hits on youtube gets paid now also, I wouldnt have thought very much but it all adds up


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:10 PM

You don't have to be a writer to join - just an arranger, and anyone who performs traditional material is de facto making unique arrangements, which they can register and, if they wish, claim upon.

You could claim on your own material too, so that would be 90% of your stuff coming back to you, and the 10% going to the right person.

You might get even more than me!

No word from PRS yet - I've told them I'm running out of patience.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:12 PM

Paul B: to join PRS you have to be a songwriter or publisher. The small clubs and gigs scheme allows them to report their own performances. The debate is whether/how people who are not songwriters but who simply perform other people's songs in environments which are unlikely to get reported by the PRS licence holder or sampled can report them, so the royalties get to the right people.

It's not free, but the £10 is deducted from royalties. I suspect if I were to join on the basis that I've written a handful of tunes then the PRS would wait quite some time to recoup this :). However when I looked into it before I'm sure I read that by joining you assign all control over your compositions to PRS to administer, and I'm not sure I want to do that.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:42 PM

Tom replied while I was composing my response to Paul B. I'm interested to see that arrangers can join, that's certainly not clear from their website (but that could be said about most of its content, which is bloody awful).


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 06:08 PM

I agree that the website is a complete disaster - and I've told them that too!

Essentially an arranger IS a writer as far as PRS is concerned.

When you make an arrangement of a PD work you are creating copyright on that arrangement, and only on that arrangement.

Effectively you can only easily prove your own performances are exactly of that arrangement (though Carthy might have had a strong case against Simon, for example), so you claim 100% of the royalty on your own performances of that PD work - because the percentage which would have gone to the writer is up for grabs.

People in the past have gone so far as to credit PD works to themselves under this principle (which, legally, they may) and some folksters therefore think this means they have acquired (stolen) ownership of the copyright of the work itself (which they have, in fact, not done) and got all cross and sulky about it.

But in law a PD work remains PD in perpetuity, so anyone else can make their own arrangement, and claim 100% on their own performances of that arrangement. And lots of folk people do this. It's a good thing, because it keeps the works in currency and gets PRS licence money back to the folk world, without doing any damage at all - though obviously the work should always be attributed as Trad (arr Jones/Bliss), so everyone else can have a go.

I've had the devil of a job persuading a chum that Van Dieman's Land is trad, because he learned it from a CD which implies on the back that it was written by some chap called Wilson, or Waterbottom or Weeebil or MacDonalds or some such - and he's convinced this means it's a new copyright work.

Sigh.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 05:53 AM

I've started a thread on the fRoots website about this.

fRoot forum (members only)

I've done it there not here because that site is moderated, and I'm afraid that if I did it here the discussion would soon get a) lost among other discussions, and b) swamped by people just having a pop at PRS and not trying properly to understand the issues and offer solutions.

Tom


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