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Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants

GUEST,Sally M 20 Jul 04 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Sooz (at work) 20 Jul 04 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,T-boy 20 Jul 04 - 08:19 AM
GUEST 20 Jul 04 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Sally M 20 Jul 04 - 08:58 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Jul 04 - 09:55 AM
Dave Bryant 20 Jul 04 - 10:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jul 04 - 11:32 AM
Leadfingers 20 Jul 04 - 11:42 AM
s&r 20 Jul 04 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 20 Jul 04 - 08:29 PM
s&r 21 Jul 04 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,Sally M 21 Jul 04 - 04:21 AM
Dave Bryant 21 Jul 04 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,MMario 21 Jul 04 - 09:37 AM
pavane 21 Jul 04 - 09:44 AM
The Shambles 22 Jul 04 - 08:40 AM
The Shambles 22 Jul 04 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Jul 04 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 22 Jul 04 - 08:49 PM
s&r 23 Jul 04 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 23 Jul 04 - 04:31 AM
Flash Company 23 Jul 04 - 04:37 AM
s&r 23 Jul 04 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,BYRON HAMIL AKA CHAPPA JAN 08 Sep 04 - 10:02 PM
Moonunit 09 Sep 04 - 05:21 AM
greg stephens 09 Sep 04 - 07:04 AM
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Subject: Performers Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Sally M
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:06 AM

Has anyone else experienced this ridiculous scenario recently ?
Yesterday evening a small group of us gathered in a small country village pub near Aylesbury, Bucks. for a regular monthly folk music session that has taken place there for at least the last 10 years. This is a typical informal session where we play invariably traditional tunes together and to learn, for our own enjoyment. However on this occasion the landlady requested that we didn't play as she had recently had a visitation from someone representing the PRS asking her if live - or indeed 'canned' music - was played in her pub, because if so she would have to pay an annual fee (to the PRS I assume ?). Thinking this was a PEL related issue she said "no" - but did mention our monthly acoustic folk session. The PRS rep. then promptly asked for details of when this occured and asked for a playlist!! She is now very twitchy about doing something 'wrong' so we ended up moving onto another pub in the vicinity - keeping an eye out for any PRS 'police' following us !

What on earth is going on ? - as if we didn't have enough to contend with, with all the PEL rumblings etc.   I can understand the PRS taking issue and wanting a 'cut' for the original composing artist from bands playing in big town centre pubs who charge an entrance fee to watch them perform. But targetting small, village country pub sessions where the only clientele are usually the folkies themselves, is ridiculous. Apart from the fact that we usually only play "traditional" tunes anyway which are so old the composers name is no longer known.
Sorry about the long rant, but I am a little cross about this !
Sally


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Sooz (at work)
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:14 AM

You should see the forms we have to fill in for a Festival! Seriously though, there are a lot of writers out there not seeing any return from their efforts and "traditional" is not as clear cut as it sounds.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:19 AM

Sorry to be pedantic, but pedants are at least correct. These people are at best trying it on.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:56 AM

I can see that all the form filling for festivals is understandable because you are playing to paying punters, so some of that should rightly go back to the original composer.
But what is the point in the PRS police spending their time going around small country pubs where no fee is paid, where folk session musicians are usually the only ones in the pub - because we deliberately choose the quiestest evenings to play - and the only money exchanging hands is for the odd pint or 2 to whet our whistles, fiddles, banjos and the like ?


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Sally M
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:58 AM

Sorry forgot to 'sign' it - the above was from me again. (I'll get the hang of this one day !)
Sally


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 09:55 AM

A recent debate in the uk.music.folk newsgroup on this complex subject resulted in the following piece, put together by Dan Plews, and hosted at musicmk.org:

The PRS and Folk Music


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 10:31 AM

Some years ago the EFDSS looked into the processing of PRS returns - the form a performer should fill in to register what music he has performed. This should form the basis for what the owners of the songs receive. They found out that for all but the very largest registered venues, the returns were chucked in the bin. Even most Folk Festival concerts were not deemed large enough to be counted in. The returns to authors/composers was then made on a pro rata basis based on those returns from only the big venues. In other words the only people who would benefit from the PRS fee paid for the average folk club venue would be mainly big names in the Pop Music field.

Many folk songs are registered as arrangements by big (often non-folk names) even though they are traditional - for example ALL returns for "Scarborough Fair" go to Paul Simon - even if you are singing the tradition or Martin Carthy version. One of the few songs from the folk scene to make any appreciable money for it's composer's estate is MacColl's "The first time ever".

The PRS "agents" who put the wind up publicans etc. are nearly all freelancer's who work on a commission basis. I have yet to hear of a case actually brought by the PRS against a small venue - they even refused to get involved when a certain Bristol-based singer was giving the impression that he had written several songs which were actually by another singer from the Brighton region. I think that they realise that they would look fools in court if they tried to prosecute someone for singing a song that turned out to be traditional or nicked (by the so-called author) in the first place.

Until the time that the PRS start to really show an interest in processing returns from smaller venues, they shouldn't be trying to force these venues to have PRS licences.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:32 AM

Remember that it is the landlord that pays the fee and, hopefuly, benefits from the increased revenue! Try the sums on the £6.58 charged by the PRS per live session for an audience up to 100 people with the licensee.

Let us say that 10 extra people turn up because of the session and they spend an average of £3 each. That is £30. On a basis of 33% margin the landlord has made £10 - £3.42 more than the fee!

Now then, an extra 10 people spending 3 pounds is low so lets make it 15 people spending £5 - £75. 33% is also a low margin for a pub and it is more likely to be 40% resulting in a profit of £30 we are now £23.40 up on the night:-) So, the customers are happy. The PRS are happy. The songwriters should be happy (That's another story though...) and the licensee has made more money! Looks like a win/win situation to me!

Don't get me wrong here - I think that these agents are only in it for what they can make and the PRS is nothing but a legalised extortion racket but until the copyright fees are handled by someone better it is all we have! As I have pointed out no-one SHOULD lose out by it and if a landlord cannot make more than £6.58 aditional profit on a live music night I cannot understand what they are doing wrong!

Hope this helps

Cheers

DtG

BTW - If it is a managed rather than a tenanted or owned pub it is the brewery who should be paying the fee - Would that help your landlady in this case?


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:42 AM

Ask the PRS to send you a form by post (that'll COST 'em) with a prepaid return envelope (ThaT'LL COST 'EM EVEN MORE) Then IF they send you the form return it in the prepaid envelope with a complete list of all the tunes you have played . ALL credited to Trad or Anon , WITH -Arranged by -And a different name from your group on as many as you think you can get away with . That way the Landlady knows you are doing your bit and the PRS will be either impressed or will totally ignore you >


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: s&r
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 05:46 PM

Haaaaving read the long and detailed explanation linked above, I have less sympathy with the PRS case than before.

If I record a song for profit I expect to share that profit.

If I sing in a pub or concert or club where my singing increases my income or the landlords income because of the material used, I expect to pay.

If I sing for the joy of it or play for the joy of it, and no-one profits as a result of that performance I think any fee blackmailed from me is unjust.

In the interests of the promotion of musical activity I believe much of the PRS activity is counter-productive.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:29 PM

As a songwriter & former PRS member I'm sorry you feel so badly about this issue.
As a writer who has seen one of his songs taken to concert venues all over the country by a certain famous duo and used to close their act without even an acknowledgement let alone a contribution, and has seen one of his songs used to title track an album by a successful group without an acknowledgement or a contribution, you may understand that I feel differently.
I don't know if its still the case, but PRS used to get members to give them a signed authority to collect what PRS thought appropriate for any use of the material. That means that (in theory) they could ask a million for a performance. A certain hairdresser, who I will not name, was asked some years ago to pay an annual licence for playing a radio in his shop to his customers -- i.e.providing his customers with a service consisting largely of other people's copyright work. He refused and appeared in the local press announcing that he was not going to pay to play HIS radio to HIS customers in HIS shop. PRS, withdrew the request for a cheap annual radio playing licence and substituted a humungous bill. The hairdresser shut up and paid up.
Keep singing, but spare a thought for the fact that songs don't grow on trees.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: s&r
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 03:35 AM

"As a writer who has seen one of his songs taken to concert venues all over the country by a certain famous duo and used to close their act without even an acknowledgement let alone a contribution, and has seen one of his songs used to title track an album by a successful group without an acknowledgement or a contribution, you may understand that I feel differently"

No problem - I would defend your   right to payment/acknowledgement.

As for the hairdresser - all seems a bit petty; how was his income increased by this evil use of copyright material - you could argue that he should be paid for promoting the artists that he played.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Sally M
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 04:21 AM

Thanks everyone for all the info on this. I hadn't realised how complex the issue was.
As regards the landlady DtG, the pub in this case is one of those dying breed of small owned village pubs that struggles to survive. We do like playing in these type of pubs - and for our own enjoyment - as clearly they are glad of our custom, but understandably they are not keen to have yet another fee whacked onto them. At the time she was really worried about 'doing something wrong' so rather than create any trouble we moved elsewhere.
I may well follow up your suggestion Leadfingers, as I am fairly confident that most of the tunes we end up playing are "Trad" or "Anon". Mind you I may well have a bit of difficulty, because often when I am asked what tunes I have just played, I am hopeless at remembering the names of them!
Playing the radio for customer benefit does sound like a bit of a double whammy to me, surely the PRS claims a hansome fee from the radio station for broadcasting the music - and rightly so - but it seems a bit rich to then charge whoever actually turns a radio on to listen to it.
Sally


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 09:29 AM

Aren't the rights for recorded material handled by a different mob ?


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 09:37 AM

yup - at least in the US.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: pavane
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 09:44 AM

And in the UK - the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society)
If you make a CD containing copyright material, you should pay them a fee, which is based on the price and quantity of copies.
You can then put the letters MCPS on your insert. If it is not there, they can chase you for the fees.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 08:40 AM

The problem is similar to the PEL issue in the respect that the onus is placed upon the venue to prove their innocence. In the case of sessions and PEL, that the event is not a licensable public entertainment. In the case of PRS, that the material used is not under copyright.

The same as when the tax people estimate what they think you owe them and it is up to you to prove them wrong. The PRS should have to prove that the material used in the session is liable for a charge and present the bill to to the venue for each session, as the level of copyright material would vary.

The default is seen as all music being under copyright and therefore liable. In the case of traditional music sessions, it is more than possible than on many nights, no copyright material at all is played.

The result of both PRS and PELs, in their current form, is that live music making is inhibited. This is no good to anyone and needs to be addressed urgently.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 08:54 AM

The following from the Government's latest PR on the new Licensing Act, states:

Unamplified live music in small venues to be treated exceptionally to ensure traditional and amateur folk music thrives.

Perhaps this incident can be the subject of a letter for your MP to bring up with the DCMS and the PRS, to try and ensure that amateur folk music does survive? In this case it is being treated exceptionally.............


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 11:04 AM

Re Dave Bryant's copy;

The public use ie; broadcast, use in pubs, clubs etc of commercially available recordings is indeed handled by another mob; PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). This of course does not apply to live appearances of any kind be it pub or concert hall.

Regarding the reply by MMario I guess he means ASCAP and BMI.

The story about the formation of BMI is quite ineteresting. It seems that early country music performers songwriters were not accepted by ASCAP because they weren't nusicians!! or some similar claim so BMI was born.
Can't remember all the details

Just bear in mind folks that these organisations are part of the "music industry" and the last thing that the music industry is interested in is music.

I have explained to our landlady that should she be approached by PRS that she should tell them that all of our material is non-cop and I will gladly furnish a list each week.

PS There is no equivalent to PPL in the US, therefore performers appearing on commercial recordings could be broadcast 24 hours a day and not get a cent UNLESS they were also the writers/composers.


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 08:49 PM

Sorry that a couple of people missed the point of the barber shop story. The radio compnay pays to broadcast music as entertainment. The hairdresser was using a radio in his shop as an attraction in his business --- a completely separate matter. Nobody asks you to pay for listening to radio music at home, that's not your business. The radio station, whose business it is, pays. If you run a restaurant or a shop that uses radio music as an attraction, why shouldn't you pay the people who create it?
If you sing for fun in non-commercial venues there's no problem, so sing for fun! That's what it's supposed to be isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: s&r
Date: 23 Jul 04 - 01:39 AM

I still miss the point Barrie - is there any income to the hairdresser from the music? Is the hairdresser publicising random artists? Does anyone go to get a haircut to listen to a radio program freely available?

Stu


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 Jul 04 - 04:31 AM

For recorded music in the UK (and presumably for live music), the radio station already pays a licence fee for the public use of the commercially available product to PPL and you can listen to it in your home/car etc with no charge. If the radio happens to be on in work premises why should another fee be added ?

If the hairdresser were playing commercially available recordings on his own equipment he would need a licence himself from PPL.This seems fair enough but I repeat why should there be a second fee.

Personally I do not patronise any shop if at all possible where aural wallpaper is used and if a business does not have this facility they would save money on licences and get my custom.

How about we all join "PIPEDOWN"


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Flash Company
Date: 23 Jul 04 - 04:37 AM

The kind of music played on radios in hairdresser's shops usually makes me walk out and find another hairdresser!
No gain there!

FC


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: s&r
Date: 23 Jul 04 - 08:51 AM

As a bizarre thought - ought the rail companies pay a fee for my listening to somebody's walkman turned up too loud all through the journey?


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: GUEST,BYRON HAMIL AKA CHAPPA JAN
Date: 08 Sep 04 - 10:02 PM

I AM TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH SOMEONE FROM THAT DEPARTMENT I AM NOW IN LA CAN YOU PLS GIVE ME A CALL 310 838-0589 OR 323 715-5907 THANKS CHAPPA JAN


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: Moonunit
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 05:21 AM

The Brinklow Folk Weekend versus the PRS is hot news round these parts... Here is a cutting from the press release of the "Festival Formally Known As The Brinklow Folk Weekend":


The show goes on, despite enforced closure of the Brinklow Folk Weekend

The famous Warwickshire village for folk music, Brinklow will be celebrating three days of music and song this summer, despite the enforced closure of its annual Folk Weekend.

The two main venues for the Folk Weekend – the Royal British Legion on Heath Lane and the White Lion on Broad Street – have both decided to open their doors to folk entertainment this year, Friday to Sunday 9-11 July.

This is in spite of the decision by the Brinklow Folk Weekend committee not to stage an event this year because the charging regime imposed by the Performing Right Society no longer made the event economically viable.

Says committee member and local folksinger, Lesley Celic: 'It was with great sadness that we decided no longer to run the Folk Weekend. This was forced on us when the PRS charged us more for royalties than we actually made on ticket sales for some of last year's concerts.

'But the Legion and the Lion have announced that they still want to play host to folk music this summer so they will both be staging their own weekend of events under their own music licences.'

BlueClick here for the rest of the article


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Subject: RE: Performance Rights Society (PRS) pedants
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Sep 04 - 07:04 AM

As far as I can judge((from my own experience) the PRS is basically an organisation which practises theft on a grand scale. I play at a lot of festivals. The festivals send money to the PRS. I fill in forms, detailing the tunes and copyright and publisher details.A lot of that stuff is copyrighted to me. But the money never gets back to me. So where is it going? The PRS gets the money from the festival, ostensibly tp pass it on to me and people like me. it doesnt do so, it gives it to someone else or keeps it. That,to my way of thinking, is not right.


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