Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

102
Fiddle Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

May 23, 2020 - 9:12:31 AM
117 posts since 6/11/2019

ascap.com/music-users

Anyone know how you navigate this issue? Me and my buddies want to play bluegrass/classic country for free at a twice-monthly show. Steel Rails, Doin my Time, Footsteps in the Snow, Pig in A Pen, Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain, that kind of stuff. Very little is public domain, I suppose. I just thought you went out and played. I am ignorant about this. What do you pros do? Thanks

May 23, 2020 - 10:28:20 AM
like this

2457 posts since 9/13/2009

Admission charge or how much you get paid doesn't matter.

Not sure what mean by show. There are different licenses.

Generally if in a restaurant, bar, or any other business... the venue/business you play for, is responsible to pay; usually as annual blanket license. Pretty straightforward calculation based on venue size and frequency. You just go out and play.

Event license for a concert in a rented hall, the event promoter (yourself?) is responsible. Different calculation.

May 23, 2020 - 10:55:50 AM

117 posts since 6/11/2019

This is a non-profit deal held in a community center; after overhead, the proceeds go to local causes. Several different bands play for maybe 200 attendees or so.

Anyway, sounds like I don't need to worry about getting fined. Maybe ask beforehand what I can play. However, we play a lot of Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs gospel songs in our church and I know no one pays any kind of license there.

May 23, 2020 - 11:05:23 AM
likes this

113 posts since 3/1/2020
Online Now

If you give a performance of music that’s not in the public domain in public, regardless of collecting any money, the current intellectual laws require that you pay the fees for the music so that royalties can be paid to the people who own the rights to the music you’re playing. If a venue is hosting, I believe they assume liability.

If you want to avoid the headache, it’s best to avoid music that’s not in the public domain.

People often go ahead and perform regardless of licensing, and most of the time no one cares, but there are actually people out there who go to events just to police licensing.

When I was growing up, my family went to a small local restaurant frequently. We got to know the family that owned and operated it fairly well, and they knew that my father and I played professionally, so they asked us to perform for an exclusive monthly dinner series. Because they were good friends and they fed us, we never charged. We played classical pieces mostly, with a selection of Celtic tunes for St. Patrick’s Day. One day when we were at lunch at the restaurant, the owners came to our table and told us they’d received a call from ASCAP. A patron had attended a dinner and had called them suggesting that we were playing music without paying royalties. To prove that there was nothing wrong, we had to submit a list of the music we had played and prove that everything was in the public domain so the restaurant didn’t get fined.

May 23, 2020 - 12:19:22 PM

1884 posts since 10/22/2007

The other "work around" is to perform original works, written yourself. Changing a word or two in a well known song won't pass either.

May 23, 2020 - 12:31:03 PM

117 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones

The other "work around" is to perform original works, written yourself. Changing a word or two in a well known song won't pass either.


Yeah, there was a lawsuit somewhere recently where a judge was ruling on whether a chord progression was a copyright infringement.  LOLOL, better watch what filler licks you play!

I've written words into 12-bar blues, but that's pretty vanilla.  I'm not talented enough to compose fun stuff like Jambalaya, Uncle Pen, You Win Again, etc.

May 23, 2020 - 12:55 PM
likes this

DougD

USA

9516 posts since 12/2/2007

I don't know about Doyle Lawson or Ricky Skaggs, but many of the religious songs recorded by earlier BG bands were older hymns and Gospel songs. You can find the history of a lot of them here: hymntime.com/tch/index.htm
ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC all have searchable databases of their material if you're curious, but as others have said its not really your problem. Also, you'll find many claimants to traditional tunes, so that's quite a jumble. Of the songs you listed, I think some are PD, while others are protected.

May 23, 2020 - 1:06:54 PM
likes this

1884 posts since 10/22/2007

LOL! You had to bring up 12 bar Blues. Each so alike, yet each so different.

Lightenin' Hopkins used to make them up on the fly. But if it was caught on tape, it's protected under copywrite laws. Even if He never played anything the same way twice.

I had a dear friends who was an underwriter. We would go back and forth and round and round. Ultimately, folks are supposed to do the right thing. In Nashville folks deal with this every day, so they are more sensetive. You may be in the same room, definately in the same town as the person you are covering.

May 23, 2020 - 3:05:53 PM
like this

Old Scratch

Canada

554 posts since 6/22/2016

As per the previous post, my impression is that how much of an issue it is depends on where you are - if in Nashville, it would be a big issue; if in Crabtree Corners, not so much. It's also my impression, based on anecdote, that there will be some kind of a warning issued, or an attempted shakedown, before an actual fine is levied.

One of the characters on a harmonica forum said he was approached by a guy who said he represented the "America Society of Recording Musicians" (or something of that nature), demanding "royalties"; the harmonica-player told him he represented the "American Society of How-Would-You-Like-a-Punch-in-the-Face", and had no further issue. So there's always that approach.

May 23, 2020 - 4:15:08 PM

117 posts since 6/11/2019

My concern came from acquaintances that were picking in public (sidewalk, whatever) in Branson, MO, which is not far from here and sort of like the Trans-mississippi Nashville. They are confronted every time they go there. So, y'all are probably right about policing at the hot spots.

Thanks for the inputs, I don't think I'll worry much about playing covers in the backwoods gatherings. We're all "Dooley's" around here anyway--we're used to 'slipping through the holler' to avoid revenue agents.

May 23, 2020 - 11:17:26 PM

2457 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

This is a non-profit deal held in a community center; after overhead, the proceeds go to local causes. Several different bands play for maybe 200 attendees or so.

Anyway, sounds like I don't need to worry about getting fined. Maybe ask beforehand what I can play. However, we play a lot of Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs gospel songs in our church and I know no one pays any kind of license there.


Non-deal or proceeds going to local causes makes no technical difference. Technically venue or organization still need permission of the songwriter or copyright owner to use (perform) the music. The licensing grants that permission.

You (or owner) won't get fined... they are not the police. ASCAP/BMI can only bring criminal and/or civil action, ultimately decided in a court of law.

Edited by - alaskafiddler on 05/23/2020 23:18:41

May 24, 2020 - 8:33:38 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

554 posts since 6/22/2016

Re: "permission of the songwriter or copyright owner". Be aware that "permission" alone means nothing, if a "song" is registered with an agency, they must get their cut. The songwriter/copyright-holder can be standing beside you, and can announce that you have their permission; the agency will still demand payment, if they catch wind of it.

May 24, 2020 - 1:34:43 PM

Earworm

USA

107 posts since 1/30/2018

I think the Fair Use copyright laws may come into effect here: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html

It seems to me that if you are not receiving money, and you are not threatening the sales value of the original work, this may apply.

It would be the same law that protects teachers for providing copies of stories or music to students. Maybe you could wrap it into a educational theme?

May 24, 2020 - 1:53:39 PM
likes this

113 posts since 3/1/2020
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Earworm

I think the Fair Use copyright laws may come into effect here: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html

It seems to me that if you are not receiving money, and you are not threatening the sales value of the original work, this may apply.

It would be the same law that protects teachers for providing copies of stories or music to students. Maybe you could wrap it into a educational theme?


Fair use laws are pretty narrowly defined and interpreted. It doesn't matter whether you're collecting money for the performance. The organizations that hold the rights view it as a form of theft for you to perform the works without paying a fee, even if you never receive any money.

 

Some institutions are protected and can make use of the Fair Use laws, but the permissions are granted under strict guidance.

 

In college, I was in charge of the film society. We showed movies in our auditorium and we only posted signs to advertise them on campus. However, because anyone who came onto campus was welcome to attend the movies and the signs were in places that anyone could see (even though they were in the middle of the campus), we had to pay royalties every time we showed something. It was a little frustrating to have to pay at least $400 to show a movie, especially when the appearance of anyone who wasn't a student or faculty member was extremely rare and admission was free.  

May 25, 2020 - 4:42:01 AM
like this

RobBob

USA

2671 posts since 6/26/2007

IMHO these organizations are extortion rackets that feather their beds and those of a select few songwriters. Thanks again to Sonny Bono.

May 25, 2020 - 2:54:32 PM

2457 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

Re: "permission of the songwriter or copyright owner". Be aware that "permission" alone means nothing, if a "song" is registered with an agency, they must get their cut. The songwriter/copyright-holder can be standing beside you, and can announce that you have their permission; the agency will still demand payment, if they catch wind of it.


No. It's the owner that has legal rights. Registered doesn't give the agency ownerships rights themselves, can legally only represent and act on behalf of the owner.

When all is said and done...  legal cases have to be driven from the behalf of the owner. Ownership rights include the right not to pursue legal action.

May 25, 2020 - 3:18:42 PM
likes this

DougD

USA

9516 posts since 12/2/2007

Quite a few misconceptions in this thread. ASCAP and BMI are not publishers, extortion rackets, or the police. They are organizations of publishers and composers, designed to collect royalties due their members for the use of their intellectual property. ASCAP is the "American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers."
Supposing you are John Prine and have just written "Paradise," or Steve Goodman with the "City of New Orleans." How are you going to receive compensation for your talent and work? Run around the country trying to see who is selling records or performing at Bonaroo? You might have a publisher, but someone needs to keep track of who's using your music - that's the job of the rights organizations. I think the copyright laws in this country are too restrictive, but if you think so, contact your congresswoman. If you think other people's creations should be free to use, just write your own hits and share them.
Or maybe you'd rather end up like Stephen Foster with a few pennies in your pocket and a slip of paper that says "Dear hearts and gentle people."

May 25, 2020 - 3:51:08 PM

Old Scratch

Canada

554 posts since 6/22/2016

@alaskafiddler I don't know nothin' about 'ownership rights', but I do know of at least one instance in which the composer - my brother - gave permission for a piece of his music to be performed, was at the performance - and a, hmmm ... 'representative' of the agency appeared demanding payment before the performance could proceed without legal repercussions; being informed by the composer that permission had been granted made no difference - the piece was registered. I've heard anecdotes along similar lines, but this is one I can vouch for.

May 25, 2020 - 4:36:23 PM

1642 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

@alaskafiddler I don't know nothin' about 'ownership rights', but I do know of at least one instance in which the composer - my brother - gave permission for a piece of his music to be performed, was at the performance - and a, hmmm ... 'representative' of the agency appeared demanding payment before the performance could proceed without legal repercussions; being informed by the composer that permission had been granted made no difference - the piece was registered. I've heard anecdotes along similar lines, but this is one I can vouch for.


I expect that it's a matter of communication. Alaska is correct as far as I know. But for ASCAP and BMI field representatives, or whatever they are called, to know about personal permission from anyone on their roster is probably difficult without an artist reporting to the company about it. There must be a procedure to avoid what happened to your brother.

Edited by - Brian Wood on 05/25/2020 16:38:18

May 25, 2020 - 6:48:21 PM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2506 posts since 2/3/2011

My experience with ASCAP was negative. The restaurant where we had our weekly acoustic jam was great for us, it helped fill a slow night for the restaurant, everybody was happy. One of ASCAP's stringers reported us and a string of dunning letters and phone calls to the owner of the restaurant ensued. We played public domain music. Didn't matter. Eventually the owner asked us to stop because she was trying to run a restaurant, not explain the facts of life to a professional bully. I do not believe that the income streams of any songwriters was harmed in any way throughout. Nor that of the lawyers.

May 26, 2020 - 5:41:59 AM
likes this

1884 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

My experience with ASCAP was negative. The restaurant where we had our weekly acoustic jam was great for us, it helped fill a slow night for the restaurant, everybody was happy. One of ASCAP's stringers reported us and a string of dunning letters and phone calls to the owner of the restaurant ensued. We played public domain music. Didn't matter. Eventually the owner asked us to stop because she was trying to run a restaurant, not explain the facts of life to a professional bully. I do not believe that the income streams of any songwriters was harmed in any way throughout. Nor that of the lawyers.


Had a nearly identicle situation. Heard many similar stories. Lot of ways, scenarios, and solutions. I think we played it the simplest. We moved the jam. That jam is still going , nearly 20 years later. Always on private property. Invitation only.  

May 26, 2020 - 9:49:37 AM
likes this

docmarc

USA

47 posts since 11/15/2008

My work life was in Marketing. Often, we would create music CDs to be offered for free to booth visitors at venues like large trade shows. For instance, in Chicago we would create a 'Chicago Blues' compilation that a large exhibitor might hand out to visitors as a thank you premium. We were religious about licensing every tune through The H**** F** Agency of New York - often thousands of dollars depending on which tunes we used and how many copies we created. The fact that they were distributed free was not relevant.

Here's the sad twist. We licensed blues tunes authored, played, copyrighted and owned by several Chicago bluesmen and women. We knew these folks. We held parties at their bars and restaurants for trade show attendees. We of course gave several copies of the CDs to them.

Following up, we asked curiously how much of the licensing fees were downstreamed to them as the owners of the songs. The answer was consistent - '...not one dime...'. The Agency, the middlemen, the music cops, the secretaries, etc. got the money.

We quit using licensed music.

May 26, 2020 - 1:20:53 PM
likes this
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2506 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by farmerjones
quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

My experience with ASCAP was negative. The restaurant where we had our weekly acoustic jam was great for us, it helped fill a slow night for the restaurant, everybody was happy. One of ASCAP's stringers reported us and a string of dunning letters and phone calls to the owner of the restaurant ensued. We played public domain music. Didn't matter. Eventually the owner asked us to stop because she was trying to run a restaurant, not explain the facts of life to a professional bully. I do not believe that the income streams of any songwriters was harmed in any way throughout. Nor that of the lawyers.


Had a nearly identicle situation. Heard many similar stories. Lot of ways, scenarios, and solutions. I think we played it the simplest. We moved the jam. That jam is still going , nearly 20 years later. Always on private property. Invitation only.  


As it happens, not long after the restaurant changed hands for unrelated reasons.  The new owners were going to pay somebody a fee to pipe in whatever music was deemed worthy.  No smelly musicians on-site.  In said fee paid to said service provider are the relevant fees to ASCAP or BMI or whomever.  Once again, no lawyers' fees were imperiled at any time.  Our jam eventually found a nice home in the offices of our local trad music festival.  It's better than the bowling alley, if you can imagine, but the restaurant had really great food and the occasional adult beverage. 

May 27, 2020 - 6:55:52 AM

2457 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by docmarc

My work life was in Marketing. Often, we would create music CDs to be offered for free to booth visitors at venues like large trade shows. For instance, in Chicago we would create a 'Chicago Blues' compilation that a large exhibitor might hand out to visitors as a thank you premium. We were religious about licensing every tune through The H**** F** Agency of New York - often thousands of dollars depending on which tunes we used and how many copies we created. The fact that they were distributed free was not relevant.

Here's the sad twist. We licensed blues tunes authored, played, copyrighted and owned by several Chicago bluesmen and women. We knew these folks. We held parties at their bars and restaurants for trade show attendees. We of course gave several copies of the CDs to them.

Following up, we asked curiously how much of the licensing fees were downstreamed to them as the owners of the songs. The answer was consistent - '...not one dime...'. The Agency, the middlemen, the music cops, the secretaries, etc. got the money.

We quit using licensed music.


That story makes no sense... you might have misunderstood some ot the process?

Harry Fox  is mechanical rights; it has a very direct per copy payment method. It's a whole different rights than ASCAP or BMI.

The songwriter/creator owns the exclusive rights. They are not obligated to use any of those PROs to help performance/publishing rights (and collection of money) .  It's usually the most pragmatic way. They can do it themselves if they think that's a better option. They have to negotiate a contract with each individual user. More likely it's a guarantee not getting paid. There is also the Creative Commons route.

FWIW most songwriters I know like the idea of getting paid... and quite a few do get a check from the PRO; once the song actually starts getting used a significant amount.  Most that don't get paid simply because it doesn't get used significantly enough.

I'm not sure how quit using those owners songs helps the owner?

May 27, 2020 - 7:29:59 AM

4241 posts since 6/23/2007

RobBob was correct about Sonny Bono. When he was a congressman, he created legislation to extend copyright periods. Sonny Bono was a songwriter. More money is probably going to lawyers than songwriters. Whenever possible, I try to buy from the builder/creator. That way they can't be cheated out of the rightful earnings.

May 27, 2020 - 7:43:47 AM

2457 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

My experience with ASCAP was negative. The restaurant where we had our weekly acoustic jam was great for us, it helped fill a slow night for the restaurant, everybody was happy. One of ASCAP's stringers reported us and a string of dunning letters and phone calls to the owner of the restaurant ensued. We played public domain music. Didn't matter. Eventually the owner asked us to stop because she was trying to run a restaurant, not explain the facts of life to a professional bully. I do not believe that the income streams of any songwriters was harmed in any way throughout. Nor that of the lawyers.


The PROs can only issue license for their library. ASCAP can't issue license for BMI material. Public Domain requires no license.

ASCAP cannot falsely claim to issue a license for material that is not in their library. Not only would they not succeed in court... they can be charged with fraud, plagarism... criminally and civil damages.

That said... folks are often quite mistaken in their belief of what's public domain. The restaurant is liable for what musicians play.

 it helped fill a slow night for the restaurant

That's the songwriters point. The songwriter's creation is being used to help the restaurant. Why shouldn't the songwriter get paid? Like any other expense, supplier. Note that a license is often also required for playing recordings; and TVs; it's a blanket license, adding live music is not much more, and goes down if more often. Thing is, if you break it down, the blanket license is generally not that much, covered by profit of something like selling 2 extra pizzas. But it's the restaurant's choice if the expense is worth it.

I do not believe that the income streams of any songwriters was harmed in any way

Unfortunately many, not just restaurant owners just think music should be free, songwriters didn't do anything that deserves payment, often extends to the musicians don't deserve payment. (Similar justification for illegal copying or downloads).

The songwriters (and their PRO) believe in value of music, in helping bring customers in.

Page: 1  2   Last Page (2) 

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.28125