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ASCAP Thugs

Lonesome EJ 21 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM
Lonesome EJ 21 Dec 10 - 01:33 PM
mrmoe 21 Dec 10 - 01:57 PM
meself 21 Dec 10 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,browned off paddy 21 Dec 10 - 02:35 PM
Lonesome EJ 21 Dec 10 - 02:44 PM
Artful Codger 21 Dec 10 - 06:57 PM
Leadfingers 21 Dec 10 - 07:24 PM
Jack Campin 21 Dec 10 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Randy Paul 22 Dec 10 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,999 22 Dec 10 - 11:08 AM
Stringsinger 22 Dec 10 - 11:23 AM
Lonesome EJ 22 Dec 10 - 11:49 AM
Mark Ross 22 Dec 10 - 12:35 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 22 Dec 10 - 01:00 PM
Don Firth 22 Dec 10 - 01:05 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Dec 10 - 01:38 PM
fox4zero 22 Dec 10 - 11:23 PM
ChanteyLass 22 Dec 10 - 11:46 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Dec 10 - 11:46 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Dec 10 - 11:48 PM
Don Firth 23 Dec 10 - 12:38 AM
fox4zero 26 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM
Acme 26 Dec 10 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,calico jenny 26 Dec 10 - 03:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 26 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM
Leadfingers 26 Dec 10 - 08:39 PM
Suffet 26 Dec 10 - 11:39 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Dec 10 - 11:54 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 10 - 12:00 AM
Don Firth 27 Dec 10 - 12:23 AM
reggie miles 27 Dec 10 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,jeff 27 Dec 10 - 02:06 AM
SPB-Cooperator 27 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 27 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 10 - 11:00 AM
Don Firth 27 Dec 10 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Randy Paul 27 Dec 10 - 03:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Dec 10 - 03:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 27 Dec 10 - 03:22 PM
Don Firth 27 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Ben Waters 01 Jan 11 - 02:14 PM
JHW 16 Sep 14 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Sep 14 - 11:01 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Sep 14 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 16 Sep 14 - 02:38 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 14 - 08:23 PM
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Subject: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 01:22 PM

I was at a Bluegrass jam last Wednesday, and the leader was talking about taking up a collection to pay ASCAP fees for the coffee shop where the jam is held. I was amazed that a group of people could not assemble in a coffee shop and play acoustic traditional music without the shopowner having to pay these ASCAP guys 400 dollars per year. Is this standard procedure, and is anyone else aware of ASCAP threatening venues with either fees or fines?
Frankly, the entire thing sounds like a scam to me, and I wonder how you go about determining that these threats are on the level?


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM

Is the jam the only live event at that coffee shop? Does it ever feature professional performers?
Do the amateurs at the jam (I presume that they are amateur, from your objections) play copyright music?


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 01:33 PM

I know that we aren't paid, and we are amateurs. We occasionally perform songs that are of more recent vintage, White Freightliner by Townes van Zandt, for example. I know others perform there, and some may be paid for it, but I doubt there are any true "professionals" involved, Q.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: mrmoe
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 01:57 PM

"I know that we aren't paid, and we are amateurs. We occasionally perform songs that are of more recent vintage, White Freightliner by Townes van Zandt, for example. I know others perform there, and some may be paid for it, but I doubt there are any true "professionals" involved, Q."


.....sounds like you're in the habit of playing published material and that the coffee shop is benefiting by filling his room with coffee drinking musicians.....pay ascap!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: meself
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 02:24 PM

Just play public domain and original material, and don't pay ASCAP.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,browned off paddy
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 02:35 PM

yeah it a big problem i live in france its the same here and its hard to know where the mooney goes i feel in most cases not to the people who deserve it we should be paid for promotion rather than being taxed for it   if you dont like being done on it fill in the declaration in scots gaelic or manx ot breton and let them work it out


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 02:44 PM

From what I understand, ASCAP makes a blanket judgement regarding public domain and traditional material. For example, John Hardy is a tradional song in the public domain. BUT...ASCAP probably has at least a dozen copyrighted arrangements of it, so if it is performed, the assumption is that the version is close enough to a copyrighted version to require approval by ASCAP.
You want to contest it? ASCAP brags in their own literature that their fees and fines are legally unchallengeable. Most venue-owners will pay the 400 dollar (or more) extortion, rather than face possible fines up to 25,000 dollars.
And Mr Moe, if I play White Freightliner, I have few objections if a percentage of the fee goes to the estate of Townes van Zandt. But the fact is, it doesn't work that way. ASCAP monitors radio playlists at random, and money is paid to artists on the basis of the frequency with which an artist's work is played. So Lady Gaga is much more likely to get it. Secondly, ASCAP has one of the largest administration cost percentages of any supposed non-profit organization, with a big proportion of these fees going to salaries, office rental, and legal staff.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 06:57 PM

Considering the number of flagrant and willful violations of copyrights, it doesn't surprise me they would have a large legal staff; and given the number of artists, works and venues to be handled and patrolled, and the large sums involved, it doesn't surprise me that a sizeable proportion goes to administration.

The majority of what most "folk" performers play nowadays is indeed copyrighted material, so ASCAP's claims are, in the main, supportable, even if many of their contentions are of dubious validity. Ostensibly, they are not charging for ALL the music played, only the likely percentage which does fall within their rightful domain. If you can devise a better, more cost-effective, more equitable way of distributing royalties which places fewer burdens on venues or performers, please, go into business doing it and put ASCAP out of theirs.

That said, I still think it's a rip due to the sampling approach, and disproportionately unfair to small venues and artists. But then, I think the century-plus copyright periods, with durations often difficult to determine, are a bigger rip. I think it's also a rip that people can claim "arrangement" copyrights for work that is stylistically generic. Why aren't you chewing the ears off your legislators??


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 07:24 PM

PRS has exactly the same approach in UK !!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 07:49 PM

Bluegrass is ALL too recent to be public domain, even in the US. Even if the tune is old, you'll be playing Bill Monroe arrangements which will incur royalties. ASCAP is within its rights on this one.

There have been interminable discussions here about the PRS (the UK's equivalent body) doing similar things. You really don't want to read it all.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,Randy Paul
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 06:43 AM

"Secondly, ASCAP has one of the largest administration cost percentages of any supposed non-profit organization, with a big proportion of these fees going to salaries, office rental, and legal staff. "

This is simply untrue. I was an ASCAP employee for 20 years and was laid off five years ago. They have laid off many employees (one ex-colleague of mine after 41 years), and I know for a fact that raises for the past several years have barely kept pace with inflation - when they even have them. Their 2009 annual report had revenue of 995 million with 863 million going to the membership as royalties.

Personally, I can't stand their senior management team. They have ice water in their veins, are more interested in covering their own asses than treating their employees with dignity and respect. They are also obsessed with driving their operating costs down, especially in the area of salaries. I'm not defending them, but I can't sit back and let something that is demonstrably false be put out there.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:08 AM

I think that calling ASCAP `thugs` is a bit much. They have a job to do on behalf of songwriters and people who use the musical creations of others. That job is to collect royalties owed due to radio or TV play. In that scope is also live performance.

I think there IS a lawsuit that one could bring IF one could prove that they do not use other than their own material which is NOT registered with a performing rights agency. It would then shift the burden of proof to the ASCAPs of the world. That said, I will now shuffle off.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:23 AM

The writer, who creates, keeps the fuel in the fire of the music business, gives meaning to what the audience actually accepts and hears, is the most important cog in the music machine and guides what the public eventually accepts as a good song is not paid for but robbed by the corporate licensing agent.

This is true of the recording companies as well.

The artist is the lowest on the totem pole regardless of the myth that a star or writer is on top. Many leaches in the music biz are bleeding the artist dry.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:49 AM

Randy, I got my information from this webpage...http://www.woodpecker.com/writing/essays/royalty-politics.html
I can't vouch for all the accuracy of it.
I do think that forcing a small venue to pay royalties when a)the music is primarily in a jam format and no one is paid and b)much of the music is traditional in nature and playing it does the service of keeping it alive in the culture, is the sort of thing that discourages live music in an acoustic format, and that is the foundation of the music most on this Forum love.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 12:35 PM

You should check out Elizabeth Scarborough's PHANTOM BANJO trilogy. It postulates that the Devil has taken over ASCAP and various other performing rights organizations because humans are making their lives too much better out of making live music.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 01:00 PM

The devil has also taken control of music played over the airwaves. A radio station surely must want to play good music and they no doubt do but it is nothing but shit and drivel by the time it hits my receiver.
Now does ASCAP forward a royalty payment to old Satin for this?
Ditto on Stringsinger's post!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 01:05 PM

This sort of thing has been going on for some time. The BIG question:   are these folks actually from ASCAP, or—?

The following is an excerpt from the memoir / reminiscences of the Pacific Northwest folk scene that I've been working on. The following meeting between Bob Weymouth and myself occurred in 1961. At the time, I was singing regularly Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at a coffeehouse called "The Place Next Door." It was next door to the Guild 45th theater, which showed art films and foreign films and the coffeehouse was owned by the same man who owned the theater, hence, the name. The "Place" was pretty posh compared to a lot of coffeehouses (your elbows didn't stick to the tables), and in addition to the student crowd from the nearby University of Washington, later in the evening, it drew a lot of the after-show crowd, not just from the theater, but from downtown: the symphony, ballet, and opera. The owner of the place paid fairly well compared to most coffeehouses in the area, and he paid regularly. Good gig!
Clark's Red Carpet was a plush restaurant and cocktail lounge downtown, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Olive Street. The Clark family owned a chain of restaurants around Seattle. The Red Carpet frequently had entertainment in the cocktail lounge, and someone told me that a folk singer named Bob Weymouth was singing there. I'd never heard of him, so I went to the Red Carpet to see him.

Bob Weymouth was actually more of a popular singer. What made him a "folk singer" was that he accompanying himself on the guitar. A handsome fellow with a good, light baritone voice, he sang a whole variety of things: popular songs, Broadway show tunes, some country and western—and a few of the more "popular" folk songs. His guitar work was adequate for the job, but nothing fancy—he thumb-strummed, using simple, basic chords.

We got to talking between sets, and he was very pleasant and friendly. Clark's Red Carpet was covered by the musicians' union, so he was getting paid at least union scale, which was somewhat more than what most coffeehouses could afford to pay. Were it not for the money (or lack thereof), he was interested in coffeehouse folk singing and thought coffeehouses would be pleasant places to perform. The beverages in Clark's Red Carpet's cocktail lounge were alcoholic, of course, and although it was a fairly up-scale place and things were generally agreeable most of the time, he did have to put up with the occasional loud-mouthed drunk.

He asked me if coffeehouses were having the same trouble that lounges were having: people coming in demanding that the management pay them ASCAP or BMI money for any live music that was played. Not as far as I knew, I told him. In the coffeehouses that specialized in folk music—and that was almost all of them—it wouldn't do anyone much good to try to collect royalties, because the vast majority of what we sang was public domain. If the issue ever did come up, we could just do some minor pruning of our repertoires to make sure we didn't sing any copyrighted material.

He said that Clark's solution when these blokes came in was first to insist on seeing some kind of credentials. Usually all they had was a business card, and sometimes not even that. Then Clark would tell them that he had no one to keep track of the music. The entertainer was too busy entertaining and the bartenders and waitresses were busy with their own duties. He wasn't about to hire someone just to sit there and write down song titles. If they wished, they were welcome to send somebody in to keep track of the music and then present an itemized list of selections and how much in royalties was owed for each. The alleged royalties collector usually made some angry threats, then stomped out never to be seen again. But it had happened several times with several different people, each one claiming to be the official ASCAP or BMI representative.

Everybody wants a piece of the pie!

© Copyright 2010, Donald Richard Firth
If someone shows up with his hand out, the first thing you should do is ask for some credentials, then make some telephone calls and check to see if they are really who they say they are.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 01:38 PM

Good advice Don!

Man, that is exciting that you are putting your story down! Sign me up for a copy when it's available. I have always enjoyed your tales of the Golden Age of Folk!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: fox4zero
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:23 PM

Lonesome EJ....come off of it with that "thugs" BS. Composers are
entitled to be compensated for performances of their creations. Establishments that play music, even from radios or TV's have to get
blanket licenses from BMI and ASCAP. They use the music to help create
income when serving food and liquor etc. They have to pay for it, just like they pay rent, pay employees, pay their food and liquor suppliers
You may be playing for no cash compensation,but that's your doing. ASCAP and
BMI certainly are not sampling your performances, their concern is with
the proprieter of the establishment. Stop whining and worrying about the
cafe owner...he's in the business of making money.... music is part of his overhead.It would look a lot different if you created songs and
were not getting your share of performances because of unlicensed
establishments.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:46 PM

This article comes from the Providence (RI) Journal. Patrick's Pub had to pay $14,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by ASCAP on behalf of the copyright holders of four songs performed one night in 2008. I went to the fundraiser for the pub. http://www.projo.com/news/content/PATRICKS_PUB_SETTLES_02-28-09_NRDFVNK_v12.386601d.html


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:46 PM

Yessir, Mr Dylan, sir. Give me a call when you get your ASCAP royalties, and maybe we can get together and you can buy me a beer and give me some songwriting lessons.
If you had ever actually owned a small business, especially one that provided a place to play for people because you like them and you enjoy listening, NOT because they bring in a bundle of money knocking off ASCAP, you might have a smaller attitude about this, and you could more neatly fold it up before cramming it up your ass. Put that in a song, why don't you?


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 11:48 PM

Sorry, above post addressed to fox4zero, with best wishes.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 12:38 AM

fox4zero, why should I or my employer pay royalties to anyone when I sing songs that have been around for many decades and in some cases for centuries, no one knows who the composer is, and I am playing and singing my own arrangements?

By the way, if the coffeehouse owner isn't making his expenses and a reasonable profit to make it worth his time and effort, he'll probably close up shop. And I, not to mention other singers who perform there, am out of a job.

Why should ASCAP or BMI have a right to collect royalties under those circumstance? Who are they rightfully collecting those royalties for?

A lttle reality check, there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: fox4zero
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 12:42 PM

Lonesome EJ
"before cramming it up your ass"...I love that intelligent and rational
give-and-take discussion.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Acme
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 12:59 PM

ASCAP sounds like it is to folk music what Monsanto is to small independent farmers. A pain in the backside. The 800-pound gorilla.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,calico jenny
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 03:59 PM

ASCAP does behave in a boorish manner at times, but there are ways to scoot around them. They have a right, indeed, to collect royalties on songs that are ASCAP registered (and the songs thus registered are legion). It is my understanding that if an establishment hires musicians to perform in order to attract customers, and those musicians play licensed material, then the establishment owes royalties. Case in point: the local bluegrass jam in our neck of the woods was asked to pony up $35 a night for ASCAP coffers. If the owner of the establishment ceased to advertise the jam, ASCAP would have been out of luck. Guerilla music, that is music sung spontaneously by folks in a public venue, and unsolicited by the owners of that venue, is considered free speech.

In the town of Annapolis, Md., a particular establishment known and loved for its live music, was eventually shut down by ASCAP. We continued singing there anyway, organized and publicized the events amongst ourselves (funny how it always seemed to happen on the third Thursday every month). If anyone called the venue to ask about it, the caller was told that no such thing happened--certainly not authorized by or under the auspices of the establishment. If a group of people saunter into a bar and decide to start singing, who can stop them?

These are unplugged events, and organizing them as hit-and-run sing outs is fun, rewarding, and the bars/coffeehouses are generally quite appreciative of the unsolicited business these events generate.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 05:32 PM

Sorry, fox4zero. My comment was based on my immediate reaction to your previous post, and what I interpreted as an arrogant and condescending attitude on your part. On the chance that you are not usually actually arrogant and condescending, I will admit that my initial reaction was off target, and my comment inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 08:39 PM

IF ASCAP is anything like PRS (The UK Equivalent) MOST of what they collect goes to a very few TOP writers and performers , or the Pollutocrats who have bought up copywrite ! The people who are writing Folk Orientated songs and tunes , and are PRS members think its their lucky day if they get a PRS Check that would buy them a beer once a year !
AND they try to get Royalties from Traditional songs as well !


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Suffet
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 11:39 PM

I have worked with two venues that have had to deal with both ASCAP and BMI, and in each instance the performance rights organizations were ready to negotiate reasonably modest fees based upon seating capacity, price of admission, number of shows presented, and whether or not the venue had not-for-profit status. Nevertheless, while ASCAP and BMI were willing to accept affordable fees, neither would accept, "We only play traditional music or original material" as an answer. Instead, they warned that that would closely monitor what was performed. It was easier to pay each PRO what came to about $10 a week to make them go away.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 11:54 PM

"And Mr Moe, if I play White Freightliner, I have few objections if a percentage of the fee goes to the estate of Townes van Zandt. But the fact is, it doesn't work that way. ASCAP monitors radio playlists at random, and money is paid to artists on the basis of the frequency with which an artist's work is played. So Lady Gaga is much more likely to get it. "

That statement is misleading. I would almost guarantee you that the estate of Townes Van Zandt IS getting royalties from ASCAP. That fact that Lady Gaga gets more is based on the fact that she sold more recordings and her concerts have significantly higher attendance over those who attended Townes Van Zandt concerts in his lifetime.

ASCAP randomly monitors radio stations as well as venues of all types to determine percentages of artists being played. Television's Nielsen ratings are similar - they do not count every household, just a sampling.   Fair or not, they do attempt to work out percentages. I know many singer-songwriters who receive checks from ASCAP.   Unfortunately, I also know many artists who feel they can "borrow" songs from other writers without paying for it.   I also know many people who think nothing of making illegal copies of songs. Ultimately, the artist loses on the deal.

The fee that ASCAP is asking is usually negotiable, and usually within the means of the operation. $400 a year comes out to slightly more than $1 a day if the operation is open 365 days a year.   I would imagine that the owner of the coffeehouse is making much more than $400 per year from the artists who play music in the establishment, and from the public that might come in to hear it.

It is easy to paint ASCAP, BMI and others as the "bad guy" when they try to collect what is legally within their right to collect.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:00 AM

I should have said that "It is easy to paint ASCAP, BMI and others as the "bad guy" when they try to collect what is legally, MORALLY, AND ETHICALLY within their right to collect." They are not perfect, but they are working for the rights of the performers and writers, regardless of size.   They are not going to get a nickel for every song that is played in a small coffehouse, but they are going to try to be fair to the artist AND the venue.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:23 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with what you say, Ron.

But—

Within my experience, and the experience of Bob Weymouth, the singer I mention above, not everyone who says he's from ASCAP or BMI actually IS from ASCAP or BMI.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: reggie miles
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 12:26 AM

There was a Pacific Northwest restaurant owner. His place was quite small. Being an ex musician himself, he liked featuring live music in his establishment. No, not all of the music featured in his place was public domain. He liked blues music but featured a variety of styles from bluegrass, folk, swing and rock.

His own musical background was quite impressive. He had been a drummer and had toured with several major rock and blues bands. The experience ultimately left him deaf in one ear.

I played a number of shows at his place. He eventually asked if he could jam along on drums. Since I played primarily acoustic oriented folk/blues, his rock background was kind of a strong contrast, that didn't quite fit but he was, after all, the owner. I didn't want to bite the hand feeding me. We organized a combo of musical misfits, a narcoleptic lead guitarist, a marginally talented sax player and offered several shows as a band. Our events packed the house with standing room only audiences.

Then, one day, one of the professional threat guys came by to try to make him pay up. They told him, that if he didn't pay them, they would sue him for $10,000. He informed them of all of the various bands that he had played with in the past and told them that he had not received a dime in royalty compensation from them. Then, he told them that he was going to sue them for $10,000 for not providing him with any royalties. They never came back.

In litigious matters, it's not the threat of your size but the size of your threat that matters.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 02:06 AM

The 'profession threat men' make a percentage against a small guarantee for small venues that get on board. That's how they build their reps and move up the corporate ladder @ ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. It's the nature of the beast and ain't gonna change.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 07:06 AM

I had PRS on my back for months trying to get fees out of me on the assumption that as a company director, I might be 'publically broadcasting' copyright music to 'my staff' at 'their workplace', and threatening all kinds of retribution.

Not only were they sending letters, but also making telephone calls.

They seem to take the line that it is up to every business to provide they are not 'broadcasting'.

At first I just ignored their letters as I work from home or at my clients' premises, and I do not employ staff.

When I started to get unpleasant telephone calls then I had to go to lengths to finally shut them up.

Another thought occurs to me probably more appropriate in another thread - Disney, in Snow White makes the suggestion - "Whistle while you work." if people did that, would that be a public broadcast?

Secondly, should those that play their iPods, MP3 Players, Personal Stereos, Mobile Phones too loud in public places pay a fee as, in my opinion, that constitutes broadcasting.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 07:42 AM

......and how about those idiots who stuff their cars with huge speakers and amps that would wake the dead from three blocks away?


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 11:00 AM

Don - your point is well taken. No one should be handing money in a brown paper bag to anyone who simply claims to be part of ASCAP. The payments are more structured, and I really think the instances like the one you mentioned are relatively few these days.   Every should be careful.

The "professional threat men" are basically bounty hunters. I do not believe that ASCAP has anyone on their payroll that goes around looking for venues with music. The bounty hunters will work with ASCAP to get a cut of what they can collect.

The "whistle why you work" and the idiots with speakers in their cars are not normally applicable - no one goes to a workplace or a business just to hear a worker whistling to themselves, but if you can make the case that they do - then certainly it would fit the criteria. If the addition of music is done purposely to please the customer, then it would fit the criteria for requiring payment.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:08 PM

In the early Sixties, in the very middle of "The Great Folk Scare," a plethora of cheap paperback song books hit the bookstores and drugstore paperback racks with titles like "Songs for Singin'" and "Songs for Swinging Housemothers," containing songs like "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," "Yankee Doodle," "On Top of Old Smoky," along with a whole bunch of stuff that I remember singing at Boy Scout summer camp—stuff that had been around for generations. Some of these books also contained gleanings from other collections, like "Song Fest" compiled by Dick and Beth Best, the Lomax books, Sandburg, et al.

Every damned page had a copyright notice at the bottom. Totally Bloody Bogus!!! Every flamin' one of those songs were public domain, and had been for generations.

At one point, some nineteen different individuals and music publishing companies claimed a copyright on "Greensleeves!"

I would love to see that one come to court!!

Don Firth

P. S. Yes, I am aware that if a person takes a song in the public domain and makes substantial changes in some twelve measures of the song, he can copyright that specific version of it. Or if he makes a specific arrangement of the song that differs in a substantial way from the public domain version, he can copyright his arrangement. But none of these books made any substantial changes at all. Yet, there was the copyright notice on every page.

If anyone tries to collect royalties off any song I sing that I know is in the public domain (such as "The Unquiet Grave" or "Geordie," I will haul his ass into court.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,Randy Paul
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:15 PM

"I do not believe that ASCAP has anyone on their payroll that goes around looking for venues with music."

They absolutely do I worked in licensing radio and television stations for ASCAP for twenty years and they do have area licensing managers who do just that. From their website (http://www.ascap.com/jobline/exempt.aspx#ALM):

"ASCAP Jobline
Exempt Positions

Exempt positions are salaried positions under the guidelines of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for which no overtime is paid.



Area Licensing Manager
General Licensing
Field Locations

You will act as liaison between music users and copyright owners as an Area Licensing Manager, you will call on restaurants, bars, hotels and other businesses that play music in order to sell performing rights licenses."


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:20 PM

I fully appreciate your attitude on this, Don.
What ASCAP seems to be proclaiming is that any tradtional song falls into a gray area, due to the numerous copyrighted versions, and that they WILL win any lawsuit based on this, and on the fact that they have 1000 times the legal horsepower you can muster, unless you can find a pro bono banjo-playing attorney who will take your side based on principal alone and be prepared to grind out a protracted suit at great expense of time and money to himself.
That is why I believe the term extortion, severe as it sounds,may be applicable.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 03:22 PM

Thanks Randy Paul. I was under the impression that work was contracted out or paid by commission. Regardless, they have someone doing the job.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM

I'm no stranger to litigation. On two occasions, I've had to haul someone into court. One was a slander and libel case, in which I moved my guitar teaching operation from one music store to another and the owner of the first store started bad-mouthing me, claiming that I was such a lousy teacher he'd had to fire me/ Which he couldn't have done, because I wasn't working for him, I was renting studio space. But he wanted to cut me down and promote the new teacher he'd got in.

The SOB kept at it for over a year, so on the advice of the manager of the music store where I was now teaching, I retained an attorney and filed suit for slander and libel. The guy folded like a cheap lawn chair. It got him off my back, he had to pay me some compensation, and the attorney didn't cost me that much (among other things, the attorney hired me to sing for a house party he was throwing, and paid me rather lavishly!).

The second time was when my wife and I signed a contract to buy the larger apartment across the hall from where we were living. We had agreed on a price, but the guy's wife got hinky and wanted more money. So he tore up his copy of the contract and insisted on jacking the price an additional $50,000!

Barbara and I talked to an attorney and all hell broke loose. The tangle was that it was a co-op apartment and there was a major question about what kind of real estate a co-op apartment really is. Regular real estate laws don't apply. We won in state superior court, the guy appealed, and he won in appellate court, so we took it a step further—Washington State Supreme Court.

We won there. AND—we wound up making some case law that applies to all co-operative apartments in the state!

We're on the law books! Case law. We established a new legal precedent! There, too, it didn't cost us all that much in legal fees, they had to pay court costs, and we got the apartment on the agreed upon initial price, saving an additional $50,000!

You've got to pick your fights. To be avoided if at all possible, but if push comes to shove. . . .

Don Firth

P. S. Hadn't oughtta get me riled up!!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,Ben Waters
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 02:14 PM

As a performing artist and song writer, I certainly have no problem with a system that collects money to distribute to the writer and original performing artist. The problem with the current system is, I've been doing this for 20+ year and never received a dime and my music has been played in restaurants, bars, department stores, on the radio and television.

These guys are out of control, but I believe I may know how to put them under control and make eveybody happy - stay tuned!


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: JHW
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 06:15 AM

I've always thought it fairer that those who profit directly out of copyrighted material should be those who pay; ie the headline acts who are paid to sing that song. Their pay comes from the promoter and the punter pays in the ticket price but at events where no money changes hands how are the promoters supposed to recover the fees?


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 11:01 AM

Many times I have seen people claim (or assume) that one can copyright their arrangement of a traditional tune. However, in all the reading I have done about copyright, I have never seen that verified.

The US copyright is available online as a PDF. Recently I searched it, and the words "arrangement" and "chords" do not occur in the law. That's a good indication that one cannot copyright an arrangement.

That makes sense, because even if somebody noted down the many, many (and ever-changing) notes in the typical modern accompaniment, Congress would never okay the money to store, search and protect all that data.


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 12:39 PM

Think "derivative work".


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 02:38 PM

Leeneia,
Richard is right. The thing is, though, that the arranger's "right" in the arrangement *really* consists only in the newly contributed content, not to the previously existing material -- and yet your song book publishers and performance rights registrars will presume to claim control of the whole work and not just their added bit (chords, tweaked words...).
As in most things legal and contractual, everyone wants to interpret the wording to their own maximum advantage, and usually the guy with the biggest lawyer budget wins.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: ASCAP Thugs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 08:23 PM

THUGS!

When Miley Cyrus plays in a stadium, the promoters pay less than a penny per ticket to each of the 3 copyright mafias.

But if a church holds a folk concert in the basement once a year and they don't charge admission and they ask everyone to sing only traditional or original songs, the mafiosi still say the church has to give them 500 dollars for one year of copyright licensing, because it's likely that someone will sing something that's copyrighted, and it only takes one song to require the license.

They also say that if you have another couple over to dinner at your house and you play a CD or sing Happy Birthday, then you also owe them 500 dollars. Owning a CD only gives you a license to play it in your own home in the company of your immediate family.

This is not hearsay. I did my research on their own web sites: ASCAP, BMI, and the other one that doesn't have much but it has Bob Dylan. They're all thugs, intent on destroying music except as a consumer product.


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