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Performance copyright advice please!

Suegorgeous 29 Nov 11 - 09:03 PM
Suegorgeous 29 Nov 11 - 09:08 PM
Phil Cooper 29 Nov 11 - 10:12 PM
JohnB 29 Nov 11 - 10:56 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Nov 11 - 03:49 AM
Suegorgeous 30 Nov 11 - 07:58 PM
meself 01 Dec 11 - 12:58 AM
Acme 01 Dec 11 - 01:27 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Dec 11 - 03:29 AM
Suegorgeous 01 Dec 11 - 05:02 AM
Rusty Dobro 01 Dec 11 - 06:03 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Dec 11 - 06:27 AM
Howard Jones 01 Dec 11 - 06:49 PM
treewind 02 Dec 11 - 06:53 AM
tinasqueezer 02 Dec 11 - 09:53 AM
Suegorgeous 02 Dec 11 - 02:33 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Dec 11 - 02:50 PM
GUEST 03 Dec 11 - 08:21 AM
Suegorgeous 03 Dec 11 - 09:44 AM
Suegorgeous 05 Dec 11 - 04:28 AM
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Subject: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 09:03 PM

I apologise if this has been answered before, but I couldn't find it in the forum index...

I'm planning to perform 2 Xmas songs I've worked on:
1. at a couple of low-key local Xmas music events (unpaid)
2. possibly on local radio.

Song 1 is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (so in public domain), but recorded as a song by Sting (his melody) - I've used Sting's melody but slightly adapted it.

Song 2 is a poem by a contemporary poet that I've made into a song (melody is my composition).

I won't be recording either of them or playing them at paid gigs.

Do I need to get permission from anyone to perform them on either at the events or on radio?

thanks :)


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 09:08 PM

Sorry - should've said - this is in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 10:12 PM

I'd say go for it.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: JohnB
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 10:56 PM

Getting sued by Sting would be good publicity.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 03:49 AM

Yes you do. Indeed you have already infringed by your writing. But it is the venue (or station) that needs the licence, not the performer, in respect of the performance, so in practice I suggest you ignore it although if they want a cue sheet you will have to scratch your head a bit.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 07:58 PM

Richard

You mean my having composed a melody in my head is an infringement of copyright?!

What's a cue sheet?

thanks


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: meself
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 12:58 AM

Seems to me it would be common courtesy to at least send a note to the "contemporary poet" in question to say that you'd set one of their poems to music, and you were thinking of performing it, and would they like to hear it?


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Acme
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 01:27 AM

I think Richard has his attorney hat on here - but "fair use" is still an important concept and there are a lot of tunes that are too generic/traditional to be copyrightable. But I also agree - the poet might be interested to learn that they have been put to music.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 03:29 AM

Not "in your head". But if you have reduced it to a material form, yes.

A cue sheet is a list of the songs that you will sing. It is used by the venue for its PRS returns. One is also used by radio stations for PRS returns and film producers for MCPS licences.

The UK does not have a generic "fair use" exemption.

Copyright arises automatically.

Last time I checked a PRS licence for a poem does not include altering it or setting it to music, and an MCPS licence does not include significant alteration to a melody, or the addition of words.

If a musical work is out of copyright then it cannot be "copyrighted" - but an arrangement will have its own copyright.

US law is not always the same.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 05:02 AM

meself/SRS - common courtesy - of course, that goes without saying for me. I'm asking about technical copyright/permission.

Richard - so venues need to complete PRS returns every time a performer performs someone else's song/poem? but then how does that work for events like open mics, where a venue can't possibly know who will turn up and what material they'll perform? and I never notice OM hosts noting these retrospectively on the night. Such performers frequently perform other people's material.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 06:03 AM

Not sure of the technicalities, but a PRS inspector lady turned up at our 'round the room' evening once, and made notes throughout while listening to traditional/amateur and professional contemporary/ parodies of pop and standards and much else. She seemed to go away happy, and nothing has changed in the year or so since.

Come back, Countess Richard, we need you!


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 06:27 AM

I did say "if they want a cue sheet".

Major concerts pretty well always do.

The cue sheets feed into the distribution process so that the collecting societies have some idea who to pay.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 06:49 PM

I believe PRS has moved away from getting returns from every venue. They rely on returns from what is supposed to be a representative sample of venues of different sizes and genres. That may be OK for venues which are all likely to be playing the same selection of current hits, but I'm not sure how well it works for folk music, which is less subject to fashion, and where the done-to-death standards at one club may be unknown at the one down the road.

PRS inspectors also make spot checks. Then there's a 'pubs & clubs scheme', mainly for artists performing their own material or arrangements in small venues which might not be picked up by the PRS's sampling methods.

Most broadcasters, large venues, folk festivals etc will submit returns and will ask the performers to provide details of their own sets.

PRS then tries to deduce from these returns whose music is being played and apportion the income it receives from licensing the venues accordingly.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: treewind
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 06:53 AM

"so venues need to complete PRS returns every time a performer performs someone else's song/poem?"
Or their own. If you joined the PRS you could claim for you own writing and arrangement.

But most venues don't bother with PRS returns, and I don't think it's your responsibility, but if they do, you fill in the sheet listing what you did, authors etc. and it doesn't cost you anything.

The only places I've encountered PRS returns have been folk festivals and the odd town hall (e.g. Camden, when playing a ceilidh there many years ago)


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: tinasqueezer
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 09:53 AM

From personal experience, I would say as long as you give the venue your song list identifying the owner of each song (or arrangement) then you are OK. There is a standard form that the venues should have. It is the venue that is responsible for paying for a PRS licence and submitting performance lists. There is no cost to you.

I have requested permission from several owners to perform their material, the response without exception has been total silence. I conclude that you don't need permission to perform someone else's material. It's up to the writer of a song to register it with PRS, once they do that then they will get a royalty payment for each time it is performed.

Copyright is a bit of a different issue, it's clear that you must not copy the printed version of a song for instance without permission (and making a payment perhaps). Whether restrictions apply to performing I'm not so clear on.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 02:33 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice and thoughts! :)

OK, an update - I think I've sorted it. Having made contact with the poet's literary agent, they've given me permission to do my/our song at the Xmas gigs and on radio - initially for a fee, but they've now very kindly agreed to drop that (cos I'm poor and none of these are paid performances). Which is totally fab, and I'm very happy. As for the RL Stevenson one, I'll change it to my own tune.

However, this has brought up another question. They've asked me to send a recording of the song (from radio or gig), which I'm very pleased to do. But how do I lable the recording with my own copyright (for the music and arrangement)? is it enough to mark the cd with a statement to that effect, plus in the accompanying letter? or should I register it somewhere?


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 02:50 PM

Registration is unnecessary.

Label the poem CD as follows.

C in a circle NicePoet year of first publication

ALSO
C in a circle SueGorgeous year of first publication

ALSO (assuming you make the recording)

P in a circle Suegorgeous year of recording.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Dec 11 - 08:21 AM

And just a thought... what if they decided to listen and make a recording from the broadcast themselves (so no physical cd)? how would I assert/protect copyright of my music in that instance?


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 03 Dec 11 - 09:44 AM

Blimey, where my cookie go?! that last was me.


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Subject: RE: Performance copyright advice please!
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 05 Dec 11 - 04:28 AM

refresh - hoping for some thoughts on my last query? :)


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