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PRS at it again!!

Anglogeezer 16 Dec 05 - 01:34 PM
s&r 16 Dec 05 - 01:58 PM
George Papavgeris 16 Dec 05 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,The Devonian 16 Dec 05 - 03:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 05 - 04:14 PM
Wesley S 16 Dec 05 - 05:28 PM
treewind 16 Dec 05 - 05:52 PM
GUEST, Topsie 17 Dec 05 - 03:48 AM
woodsie 17 Dec 05 - 04:09 AM
George Papavgeris 17 Dec 05 - 04:40 AM
woodsie 17 Dec 05 - 05:09 AM
treewind 17 Dec 05 - 05:16 AM
Betsy 17 Dec 05 - 05:54 AM
s&r 17 Dec 05 - 06:14 AM
George Papavgeris 17 Dec 05 - 07:01 AM
treewind 17 Dec 05 - 10:01 AM
s&r 17 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM
George Papavgeris 17 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM
John MacKenzie 17 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM
Mo the caller 17 Dec 05 - 04:13 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 05 - 07:22 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 05 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Top Cat 18 Dec 05 - 01:52 AM
treewind 18 Dec 05 - 04:10 AM
The Shambles 18 Dec 05 - 04:16 AM
s&r 18 Dec 05 - 05:32 AM
The Shambles 18 Dec 05 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,chris 19 Dec 05 - 09:14 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 19 Dec 05 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,anon 19 Dec 05 - 10:58 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 05 - 11:53 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 05 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,anon 19 Dec 05 - 03:20 PM
fiddler 20 Dec 05 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Folk club organiser 20 Dec 05 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,anon 20 Dec 05 - 07:32 AM
s&r 20 Dec 05 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,anon 20 Dec 05 - 07:57 AM
folktheatre 20 Dec 05 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,anon 20 Dec 05 - 11:02 AM
folktheatre 20 Dec 05 - 11:09 AM
Lancashire Lad 20 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM
folktheatre 20 Dec 05 - 11:17 AM
treewind 20 Dec 05 - 12:26 PM
PennyBlack 20 Dec 05 - 01:57 PM
BB 20 Dec 05 - 02:43 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 05 - 02:14 PM
woodsie 22 Dec 05 - 03:51 AM
The Shambles 22 Dec 05 - 04:17 AM
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Subject: PRS at it again!!
From: Anglogeezer
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 01:34 PM

The following is from the Daily Telegraph, 15 th December:-
***
Music shops to pay for listening to customers.

The owner of a music shop has been told that he must pay £114 in royalties if any of his customers try out instruments with a recognisable riff before they buy.
Steve Kowalski, of Jones Music in Macclesfield, Cheshire, has refused to pay for the annual licence from the Performing Rights Society. He said, "They say it constitutes a public performance."
A spokesman for the society said that royalties were crucial to songwriters and musicians and music shops received a 30 per cent discount.
****************
They just don't stop do they??
Jake


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: s&r
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 01:58 PM

Interesting that the PRS take from all the Festivals that are trying to be successful, and use part of the taxes raised to subsidise the Club Tent at CAMBRIDGE?

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 02:32 PM

More often than not I find myself defending PRS in these pages, but in this case I think Steve Kowalski was right not to pay up - this is extreme. As a potential buyer of an instrument, of course I would want to try it first, and of course I will do so by playing something I already know. This is not entertainment, it is a tryout. Who in their right mind would listen to a shopful of aspiring buyers trying out various instruments for "entertainment"? Let PRS sue, if they have the balls, and I am pretty certain they would lose - this is too extreme. Furthermore, should they sue, I would then as a member write to them bemoaning the fact that they use their cut from my royalties to fund such silly and nonsensical activities.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,The Devonian
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 03:04 PM

Will the PRS try to charge the likes of Hobgoblin and Bridge Instruments if any folkie plays a recognisable tune when trying out instruments at festival stalls?

I'm told the festivals already pay 3%+VAT of their box office income to the PRS. Will an extra tax now be levied on stallholders at festivals?

It's crackers.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 04:14 PM

yeh they're a gang of scufflers all right. its the fault of people like me (full members) who can't be arsed to attend meetings.

every so often they send me these awful magazines full of pictures, where clapped out rock stars from the last few hundred years hand over vast sums to classical scholars for writing a piano concerto that no one gives a shit about.

meanwhile evrybody plunders our music, and ludicrous stunts like this idiot who has raided the music shop....well it defies belief really!


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Wesley S
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 05:28 PM

But consider this - if this means that no one would ever be able to play "Smoke On The Water" or "Stairway To Heaven" in a guitar store ever again - that could be a good thing.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: treewind
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 05:52 PM

Some guitar stores display a big "No Stairway" notice.

And "GUEST Devonian": Will the PRS try to charge the likes of Hobgoblin and Bridge Instruments if any folkie plays a recognisable tune when trying out instruments at festival stalls?

The original post suggests: yes they will, if they think of it.

This is all absurd. If they charge the shop, then if George (for example) goes into the shop to try out a guitar and plays one of his songs he should be able to submit it to the PRS as a registered performance and claim money back from them. Even more absurdly, they'd probably pay up too.

We've (or Mary has) just had a return from the PRS. One entry (that paid us the princely sum of 55p) was for a song done in a session at Bedworth Festival two years ago. BUT... the PRS were making the festival fill in a report on every song sung and tune played at all events, so we had only dutifully done as requested - and that was the eventual result.

The entry for a song Verity Sharp played on Late Junction (BBC R3) earlier this year was nice, though :-) A bit more than the above mentioned 55p. I think it was the result of sampling because two other tracks played on LJ on other dates weren't mentioned.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 03:48 AM

If PRS payments result from sampling, presumably the likes of Verity Sharp will know in advance which broadcasts are being sampled, and can choose to play works by people they would like to support financially.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: woodsie
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 04:09 AM

"A spokesman for the society said that royalties were crucial to songwriters and musicians and music shops received a 30 per cent discount."

Yes, we agree royalties are crucial - but wait a minute. Isn't a "royalty" an agreed percentage of money paid for the performance? It certainly was when I worked in the accounts dept for Decca in the 70s. Lets say that the publisher has agree a royalty to the composer of a piece of music of, let's say 10% of sales. Then in the case of somebody trying out an instrument playing notes from the piece 10% of money paid to the musician for playing (£0) = £0.00.

The other scenario would be - what if I go into a shop pick up a banjo and play something that I have just made up - will I then receive a payment from PRS?

Somebody needs to kick these bureaucratic assholes into check. Sue the bastards for harassment or trying to obtain payment using menace.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 04:40 AM

Woodsie, you are confusing royalties from sales of the music (which is administerd by MCPS and is irrelevant to this discussion) with royalties from performances of the music either live, or by having the record played on radio or TV or in a public venue for entertainment (which is administered by PRS).

Also, in the case of playing something you have just made up, the tune is clearly as yet unregistered for copyright, so none of this applies.

I agree with your conclusion, however, even if the examples were inappropriate.

Issues of mechanical and performance copyright are in fact essentially simple in their basics - it is all the extra clauses and provisos in contracts that complicate matters. The issue at the heart of the example of Steve Kowalski above is whether trying out an instrument in a music shop constitutes "entertainment". I argue that common sense dictates that it is NOT entertainment, and therefore does not require licencing by PRS or PPL.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: woodsie
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 05:09 AM

Thanks for that El Greko. I stand corrected. If this is the case, then why have the PRS not collected these monies in the past - can they be sued for negligence?

We had a woman from the PRS attend one of our sessions. She sat and took a note of what was played. Nothing came of it, we heard no more from her. The building where the session was held is owned by Greenwich council and they already have a PRS sticker on the wall, so I can only assume they pay! - I wonder if the composers of the songs that she noted got any of it?

What's it all about? Did you know that PRS is regitered in UK as a charity!


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: treewind
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 05:16 AM

I'm with you both about payment for the performance.

Personally I don't think the PRS should be charging any venue a licence fee if the musicians and singers are unpaid for whatever they do. That automatically covers trying an instrument out in a shop, and it covers pub sessions and folk clubs that are singers clubs only, and in the case of a club that has booked guests and floor singers the licence fee should be proportional to the amount of paid entertainment (i.e. booked guests) vs. unpaid.

Behind this is a fundamental principle of what the PRS is supposed to be about, and I hope George, as a songwriter, will agree with me:
If you've written a song and someone else makes money by singing it at gigs, it's reasonable that you as the writer get some reward for providing the singer with (part of) the means of making his income. But if another singer performs your song at an unpaid session, he is not benefiting materially and it's not reasonable for the PRS to make a claim on your behalf.

The PRS doesn't seem to agree with this, and treats any public performance, paid or not, the same. Even more bizarrely, it DOES make a distinction between public and private performances.

So if I book Joe Soap for £1000 to sing some of George's songs at my daughter's wedding party (a private, if very hypothetical, event) the PRS don't seem to think George deserves anything for the trouble of writing the material used, yet if Jim Spriggs sings the same songs in a session, (no pay, no entrance fee), the PRS expect the venue to pay a licence fee.

As I understand it, some prominent songwriters seem to agree with this, and might even challenge the PRS (who are providing a service for them) for wasting their money trying to investigate and police unpaid sessions. But apart from that there's a general lack of motivation for most PRS members to lobby the organisation to change things.

Their excuse on the private gigs is that it's difficult to enforce.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Betsy
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 05:54 AM

I share the sanme PRS status as El Greko, and would heartily agree with his comments in his postings.
Common sense please - how can yu try a instrument with a tune you have never heard ?

Cheers Betsy


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: s&r
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 06:14 AM

As a festival we used PRS licensed premises. Set lists were furnished to PRS and everyone was happy. Then suddenly they unilaterally told us that we must tell the venues to suspend their PRS licence for the period of the Festival, and pay 3% of our gross ticket sales (which include camping, security, etc).

They also want additional payments for pub sessions, street dancing and workshops.

The extortion is the threat of legal action, which a voluntary festival cannot afford.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 07:01 AM

Anahata, I agree of course with you about the principles on which PRS is (or should be) based. But a slight correction, if I may (I am in prize pendant mode this morning) - and this might also serve as part answer to Stu's frustration in his first paragraph:

I think the criterion that PRS uses to determine if the event constitued public entertainment is not whether the performer is getting paid, but rather whether the audience pays - either through a ticket or through increasing sales for the venue (drinks in the case of a pub, more custom in the case of a hairdresser's etc etc). In other words their thinking pivots around the potential benefit to the venue, and that is why it is venues and not performers that are licenced by PRS.

The only exception to this that I can think of is major public events (like festivals), where it is the event organiser that gets licenced, as he/she is the main "beneficiary" (i.e. collector of monies). This explains the temporary suspension of the venue licence during a festival, that Stu mentioned (otherwise there would be double licencing during the period of the festival).

The wedding example is exempted because it does not constitute public entertainment (the important word being "public" here, i.e. it is by invitation and not open to all), and no financial "beneficiary" exists to be licenced.

I have to say that I can understand this logic as a basis. But extending licencing higgledy-piggledy to other circumstances without thought about these basic principles is what produces travesties like the case of Steve Kowalski's shop. It seems to me that PRS itself, or at least some of its officials, do not understand their own basic principles - or they choose to ignore them when it suits their money-grabbing purposes.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: treewind
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 10:01 AM

Topsie: on further thought I don't think sampling applies to the BBC's broadcasts. They religiously report everything, because being very public they have to do these things correctly. I haven't checked the details of our other bits of airplay: maybe they were covered in a separate return.

George: my point was that the PRS could safely ignore events where the only "payment" is increased sales of drinks just because a number of people happen to be using the pub for a social gathering (which happens to be a singaround). The whole turnover for such an event should be beneath their radar. As soon as a performer is paid, whether by the pub or by a folk club using it, the thing should becomes a commercial venture, what the licensing people call "putting on entertainment" - then license fees seem fair enough, payable by the pub or by the club as appropriate.

It wouldn't be difficult to make the distinction between one and the other.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: s&r
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 12:30 PM

It's a fine point as to whether a non profit making body is a beneficiary (ie festival) and a public hall which retains profits from the hire of the hall and the revenue and the sale of food and drink is not a beneficiary. The logic is to say the least a bit suspect.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM

Sure, there are holes in the logic, Stu - just because I understand it it doesn't mean that it cannot be imroved. And indeed Anahata's suggestion would be an improvement; if only PRS could be persuaded to adopt it.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 03:27 PM

Perhaps the onus is on those PRS members who do not agree with the tactics used in their name to ensure that tactics which bring the whole process and their organisation into question and public ridicule are not used? And to pursuade their organisation to act to their wishes.

I fear that reform of these kind of restrictive practices is not undertaken from within by its members - it will be imposed upon them.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM

We should all go into our local music store play a tune by George Papavgeris, and walk out without buying the instrument. We must however tell the music shop the name, and the composer of the tune we played, so that the composer of the said tune/song will receive his well earned royalties.
Giok ☺


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 04:13 PM

Our dance club pays (through EFDSS) a license fee to play recorded music, and I have to fill in a form stating ever track of every recording used.
What a chore.
Some tapes have no catalogue numbers on them. Some are , e.e. American.
Do I still need to fill them in.
how does anyone get any money out of this?


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 07:22 PM

The trouble is the poor old composer doesn't usally get the royaly it's swallowed up in the machine - only the rich artis get richer!


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 05 - 07:30 PM

http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,Top Cat
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 01:52 AM

Until recently I presented a music programme on BBC local radio for an hour every month. I made a point of playing original tracks by artists who deserved the PRS payment. Filling in all the forms was a chore but as I wasn't paid by the Beeb for presenting the show I at least had the satisfaction of knowing artists I respected were getting a few quid.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: treewind
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 04:10 AM

GUEST said:
The trouble is the poor old composer doesn't usally get the royaly it's swallowed up in the machine - only the rich artis get richer!

There was a time a few years ago when this was true. The PRS were very slack about small payments like folk performances, but they got into big trouble over this and their system seems to cope with the small stuff now.

If the PRS form is filled in, and the writers mentioned are PRS members, it doesn't get lost in the system - the PRS pays up.

What's more likely in many cases is either the venue doesn't send in a PRS form, or there are songwriters involved who aren't PRS members, in which case they don't get anyting.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 04:16 AM

I think this way of ensuring that individuals get what they are entitled to is the best way - but it is time-consuming.

From the organisation's point of view - you can see the attractions of having a catch-all blanket licence.

And perhaps from everyone else's point of view - see the dangers of an approach where the implication is that no music can take place without this licence?

If this move to insist that all retail music shops need PRS/PPL/MCPS type licences is to be a general one - the effect is hardly likely to result in good publicity for PRS and its members and the increased financial burden is not really going to do these music shops or the general interests of music making any good.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: s&r
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 05:32 AM

Thanks Shambles for the link to the site. It's worth reading the legal disclaimer on the site which is quite frightening

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 08:49 AM

http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/

The following definition of performance - from the above site.


Any performance of copyright music, whether live or recorded, that takes place outside the home is regarded as a public performance and will usually require a licence from PRS. Licences are usually issued to the owner of the premises where the music is being performed.

I think the rather tenuous nature of the PRS claim that music shops are in any shape or form involved in a performance of copyright music is reflected in the 30% discount that PRS is so generously offering them.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 09:14 AM

If you play a song/tune, by a known composer, in a session doesn't this constitute some free advertising for the song/tune composer and therefore increase the likelyhood of someone hearing said tune, liking it and spending money on composers CD etc. Shouldn't the PRS see sessions in this light-as long term free advertising.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 09:53 AM

I wish they had the sense to agree with you Chris. Perhaps their members should be lobbied to see what they think of the idea.

The result might shake the PRS.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 10:58 AM

I think a lot of people are getting the wrong end of the stick here. Firstly, PRS licence for the public performance of music as layed out in the 1988 Copyright, designs & patents act.

The act does not specify what is considered a 'public performance', in that it does not say how many people are required to make a performance public. Nor does it highlight the length of time a piece of music has to be played for.

For example, if Jimmy Page walked into a unlicensed music shop where someone was playing 'Stairway...' on guitar, he could (under the aforementioned act) sue the shop owner, (as it is the person responsible for the premises).

I feel that although this is a very difficult situation, (and my personal belief is that the music shops should not require a licence for someone trying out a guitar, etc), the act from which PRS works is not the most detailed, hence these situations.

On another note, I do feel that traditional musicians (as always) are often overlooked by collection societies and perhaps a body should be set up to address this...


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 11:53 AM

The act does not specify what is considered a 'public performance', in that it does not say how many people are required to make a performance public. Nor does it highlight the length of time a piece of music has to be played for.

If this Act does not specify to PRS what is considered a 'public performance' perhaps reference should be made to and PRS members now guided by the new legislation that does deal with what is now the performance of Regulated Entertainment and which does specify what this is - in The Licensing Act 2003?


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 11:56 AM

Schedule 1

Entertainment

2 (i) The descriptions of entertainment are-

(a) a performance of a play
(b) an exhibition of a film
(c) an indoor sporting event
(d) a boxing or wrestling entertainment
(e) a performance of live music
(f) any playing of recorded music
(g) a performance of dance
(h) entertainment of a similar description to that falling within paragraph (e), (f) or (g),

where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose. of entertaining that audience.

(2) Any reference in sub-paragraph (1) to an audience includes reference to spectators.

(3) This paragraph is subject to Part 3 of this Schedule (interpetation).


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 03:20 PM

Again, The act that you are quoting (The Licensing Act 2003), has nothing to do with copyright. I understand that it may be used as a guide by societies when licensing for the public performance of music... But this does not change my argument; as the law stands, it is very unclear on certain situations, hence the dispute. I believe that the blame should not be entirely on PRS, as the law (1998) is so unclear.

Also, the details you gave above are still very unclear - what can be deemed 'a performance of live music' (2e) - the whole song?, 1 minute?, 2 seconds? two bars?

This is the problem...

Of course the issue should be addressed, and I'm sure it will be, after articles appearing in the press. At the end of the day, royalty collection societies throughout the world work on behalf of their members, so, as you say, they should be consulted.

Also, in regards to merging all licences into one - I think this would be an ideal situation, but from what I have read, it will be very difficult to do this, as they have some fundamental differences. One example is the way they charge a premises (PPL & PRS), one can only dream.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: fiddler
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 05:42 AM

You see you guys understand this!

I tried to book a hall for my 50th - Music by a few mates of mine - who shall be nameless - all traditional stuff arranged by them.

The Hall insisted on a £50 PRS fee irrespective of this as the PRS had told them they had to pay to have live music there at all!

A good healthy debate is needed - and PRS like all such bodies need to recognise the limits of what is logical practical and accepatable and also to protect their members. I bet this little one will cost them more than they will ever make unless they establish a presedent and get every music shop in the UK to register and pay.

Andy


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,Folk club organiser
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 06:07 AM

There has to come a point when sensibility comes into it.

Most folk club organisers run them for love, not profit. All these additonal costs will force clubs to close.

I know that performers should get there dues.

However, when we are trying to make ends meet and spend a lot of our free time to provide a form of entertainment for the good of the locals and keep the tradition of folk alive, additional costs only help to make us want to stop.

Less venues, less publicity for the performers.

You have a a choice performers. Collect the small amount from PRS if anything, or look at things on a more open basis.

Stop PRS hitting the folk clubs. We are the ones who give you the chance to entertain the public, without us, you can't.

The world is going bonkers.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:32 AM

Good points, but what you need to remember is that PRS can only licence for copyright music. If the music is not copyright, then they cannot licence for it.

For example, if you have a folk club where all the music played is traditional, then you do not require the licence. But, as I'm sure you'll understand, if people start playing covers then the writers deserve the royalty.

I do think folk clubs in particular do get a raw deal, but it really is up to the members to bring this up with PRS, otherwise they won't know that people feel hard done by.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: s&r
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:35 AM

Sorry, anon. Many traditional songs/tunes have been claimed by a whole raft of performers/writers.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 07:57 AM

I actually disagree with that. It is their 'interpretation' that has the copyright, not the actual song. So as long as you didn't do 'Canadee-I-O' the same way Dylan did it, you would be alright.

It would also be incredibly difficult to prove that people were playing the exact versions.

The wonder of copyright law...


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: folktheatre
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 10:34 AM

Can't stand the thought of there being some all-bearing super power that has the rights and influence over all performance. If I play a Bert Jansch composition in my set and get £30 for playing that night then had to pay Bert for the opportunity I'd be kinda deflated. Especially as it's not even my 'real' job. There's lots of different factors in this situation that a single statement cannot contend with. If the PRS wanted to charge me for a small event they'd have to drag me kickin' and screamin'. I dunno. Has anyone here ever had real trouble with them about anything whereby it's resulted in court action?

Mike.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:02 AM

Again, you have got the wrong end of the stick.

PRS charge premises that hold live events, as far as I'm aware do not charge musicians. As far as the law is concerned, it is the person responsible for the premises who needs to pay for the public performance.

Also, Bert Jansch and others pass over their rights to PRS to collect royalties on their behalf, otherwise any time a premises played a song it would have to ask the individual composer each time. So royalty collection societies are not 'all-bearing super powers', but societies working on behalf of musicians.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: folktheatre
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:09 AM

I meant I was the person organising the event and playing at it.

Flippin' 'eck! I'm sorry I didn't realise it was such a touchy area. I don't know much, I just didn't like what I'd heard. Can't you tell PRS that you have a folk night then still perform copyrighted music? They wouldn't even know and there would be a fee incurred if they did. Ah, I don't know. By the way, this is my first post on the topic so you don't have to say that 'again, you have the got the wrong end of the stick' stuff.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM

If what I heard from a live venue owner is still true, the PRS were trying to make it the responsibility of organizers to submit accredited set lists from live gigs at one point. If that is the case, how on earth is an organizer meant to know if a song is played in the "trad" arrangement or the "trad / arr smith" version?

Additionally, I believe that the MCPS is now also considering monitoring artist sales of self produced CDs (usually CDRs). If this IS the case, artists will have to keep damn good records of what they press themselves if they are covering songs by MCPS (and affiliated) members.

LL


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: folktheatre
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 11:17 AM

Or just keep it quiet. Shhh!

Surely if you're doing it for fun and it isn't your job it ain't fair that they grab money off you for producing you own CDs. Why should they care? Is there a big market there or something? Sounds daft. I'm leaving this thread before I get to angry! haha.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: treewind
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 12:26 PM

Re MCPS, a bit of historical background:

MCPS exists to make sure that artists and authors get royalties from the sales of CDs. A record company selling CDs must therefore register each pressing run (actually it's done by the pressing plant) with the MCPS, which gives the MCPS an exact tally of how many were made and (hopefully) sold so they know what royalties are due.

They never bothered about CDR media initially because CDRs were expensive and unreliable and took a long time to burn. Theye were usually demos or specialist short runs. For a few years now it's been easy to produce reliable CDRs cheaply and fast in quantities of hundreds, and it's therefore possible for a record label to knock out lots of CDRs and sell them in the shops, not keeping any accounts and not paying royalties to the artists who made the recordings, and the there are some clear indications that at least one unscpupulous record company has done this, to the detriment of some well respected folk arstists.

Obviously if somebody makes a few CDRs of their music at home and sells them to their friends or at gigs then MCPS aren't likely to be bothered, (or even to know), but there are good reasons why they should want to know about CDR production generally in case it is running to thousands and somebody's being ripped off.

In theory, if you record your own compositions on CDR and register it with MCPS, they should be taking it away with one hand and giving it all back with the other. If some of your material was written by someone else and in copyright and that author is registered with MCPS, they'll get their share too. I think that's how it's supposed to work.

My guess is that MCPS will only bother with anyone making enough CDRs to be selling them through retailers.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: PennyBlack
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 01:57 PM

In theory, if you record your own compositions on CDR and register it with MCPS, they should be taking it away with one hand and giving it all back with the other. If some of your material was written by someone else and in copyright and that author is registered with MCPS, they'll get their share too. I think that's how it's supposed to work

Only if you're registered with PRS as well!

All the time we've been producing CDRs for sale we have always registered with MCPS after all if we're making money from someones ability and hard work, surely they're entitle to be recompensed?

I know of several producers of CDRS, who do so for Artists and charge for doing so, fail to comply with the law and do the run without a certificate - to me this is totally dishonest and robbing a fellow musician.

I would also urge all songwriters to register with PRS/MCPS.

PB


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: BB
Date: 20 Dec 05 - 02:43 PM

Folktheatre, please don't think I'm having a go at you, but surely if you are earning money from other people's work, even if it's only £30, it would be reasonable that the person who provided the material from their hard work should benefit, even if only in a small way, either from you or the person employing you? I don't see that the fact that it isn't your 'real' job makes that any less the case - in fact, perhaps more so, as to Bert Jansch or whoever it may well be their 'real' job, i.e. their music *is* their livelihood, whereas for you it's bunce on top of your livelihood.

Like Anahata, I would be far happier if PRS were only taking money for redistribution to their members in situations where musicians are being paid, and where they are not, i.e. floor performers in a club or festival or those taking part in a session, no money should be payable to PRS. It is certainly true that songs are spread through those very performers, and then may be taken up by 'professional' performers, in which case the writer benefits through that person's gigs, recording, etc.

And yes, I would like to see PRS members take responsibility for the way that PRS acts on their behalf, and try to do something about this situation.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:14 PM

http://www.macclesfield-express.co.uk/news/s/207/207169_its_a_fiddle.html

The following posted on uk.music.folk.

Here's the local paper article: Published: 14th December 2005
by the Macclesfield Express. (It is likely that this is where the Daily
Telegraph got it from initially - available on-line.)

IT¹S A FIDDLE!

Music shop boss Steve Kowalski has been told he will have to pay to play if
his customers want to try out his instruments before they buy. And that, he
says, is a fiddle.

The Performing Rights Society claims he needs a licence if he, or any of his
punters, want to "have a go" on anything from a harmonica to a harpsichord
or castanets to clarinets. And officers have told him that if he doesn¹t
stump up cash to the tune of £114 he will have to face the music.

But Steve, 53, who is gob-smacked by the order, said: "They can go whistle!"
He says he wants the threat removing ­ no strings attached! Talking from
his shop, the well-established Jones Music on Charlotte Street in
Macclesfield, he asked: "Has anyone used their common sense here?"

Steve, who took over the 78-year-old established business a year ago,
received a call out of the blue from PRS who asked if he or his customers
tried out musical instruments. He said: "I thought, what a daft question,
of course we do."

When he said they did, they told him that if anyone played a riff ­ an
identifiable piece of music ­ he was in breach of copyright and was breaking
the law. "They said it constituted a public performance!" he gasped. "I
thought someone was winding me up.

"I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. It means that
customers will either have to try something out without the piece sounding
melodious or they will have to buy it untried. "I am certainly not going to
pay for a licence. I am making a stand for all musical instrument shops who
are just going about their business."

When Steve, who lives in Macclesfield with partner Sally, asked PRS what
they were going to do about it, they told him they would send in their
copyright protection squad. "I could tell that meant trouble," he said.

Steve, who himself plays lead guitar in a band, ironically called "Rough
Trade", said the cost of the licence was also determined by the size of the
shop and since Jones Music was 1,500 square feet he would be in for a £114
bill. "It¹s not the money," he said. "It is the principle. I don¹t intend
to rock over this one."

Keith Gilbert, PRS Performance Sales Director said: "Music shops pay like
everyone else, but get a 30 per cent discount if their only music use is for
demonstration purposes." "Royalties are crucial ­ they keep songwriters and
musicians writing more music. And royalties are paid by everyone that plays
music in public.

Pat Hills


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: woodsie
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:51 AM

Further to my earlier comment about the woman from PRS attending our session in Greenwich. I have now got some more info.The management of the building where the session is held, have been paying a PRS annual fee of £800. During her visit she compiled a list of titles performed. Lots of stuff was either traditional or self penned. What I didn't know was that this list was a random sample which has been averaged out over 12 months to come up with a fair assessment. The new PRS charge is now only £150. So I would advise clubs to invite PRS to attend and ensure that all traditional stuff is played that night.


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Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 04:17 AM

If you ensured that it was ALL non-copyright material on this night - you should be able to continue without a PRS licence at all. For under these circumstances I can't see they would have a valid claim.

They would make the assumption that possibly some of their material might be played at other times and try to levy some fee,I am sure - but perhaps it should be up to them to visit and charge only for what they do hear played rather than make any charge based on an assumption of some guilt?


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