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Copyright question about public performance Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Copyright question about public performance

My wife runs a flute studio, and has an annual recital. At times in the past, students have performed copyrighted material, such as “hypnosis” by Ian Clarke and we have never really worried about copyright infringement in such a situation. However, now a parent has raised the question, and we feel we should respond appropriately, and either pay licensing if required or no longer allow students to perform copyrighted materials.

I always thought performing for “friends and family” in a situation where the audience is not charged to attend, did not violate copyright. But as I read more, this does not appear to be correct.

Can any of you please try to clarify exactly when a license to perform is required and not required, and also how one would obtain a license to perform a copyrighted song for a recital or similar free performance event. Thanks.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Thanks Jeff- could you possibly provide a link to where that is described on ascap?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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My completely uninformed guess is that if you are performing it for no charge to the audience you would be on safe enough ground.

Did you hire or buy the sheet music from a music publisher or hiring agency for said scores ? If so I'd think you would have 'paid your dues' to the composer then and there, via that process...but again, just guesswork on my part ?

There may be a way of 'logging' it via AMCOS or similar body as a public performance, so that royalties trickle back to the composer (by whichever circuitous route these arcane money trails work) ?

In the latter case however, it's obscure who or what generates those 'royalties'..if the performance was free ? Maybe the sheet music hire fees mentioned earlier...in which case those rental companies would be required to do logging of their own (ie how many times annually and to whom the scores were rented) ? There's no doubt that these score hire companies are generating revenue, and it seems only fair that some of their 'action' goes back to the composer or rights holder (if it's an estate or music publisher) of the music ?

Ian Clarke - Hypnosis for Flute and Piano

Or.... cut out the uncertainty and contact the composer directly: [email protected]

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 01:21 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Jeff - Emily states that if it is a private event, wedding, bday party, no license is required. Later she says, if the event is open to the public, a license is needed. Generally events such as recitals are open to anyone, which makes it sound like a license is needed. However, there are recordings of all kinds of copyrighted songs on YouTube from people’s recitals but for which no license has been obtained...
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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The seasac q and a states -
Under the Copyright Law of the United States, anyone who publicly performs copyrighted music is required to obtain advanced permission from the copyright owner, or their representative. If you publicly perform any copyrighted song without proper authorization you are breaking the law
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Jeff - Emily states that if it is a private event, wedding, bday party, no license is required. Later she says, if the event is open to the public, a license is needed. Generally events such as recitals are open to anyone, which makes it sound like a license is needed. However, there are recordings of all kinds of copyrighted songs on YouTube from people’s recitals but for which no license has been obtained...
If your wife's annual recitals are by written invitation...in other words you know who your audience is to be (eg her students and their parents/family) then wouldn't make that a 'private event' and thus exempt from all this ? If it's advertised as being an 'open to all' public event, that puts it into the public performance category...so it all comes down to how it's advertised ?

Simple question, as a test of the whole concept...how do you know how many chairs to hire for the event ? That should tell you all.....
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Recitals are almost always considered public events. You are "supposed" to obtain a licence. Most small recitals don't, and the publisher won't waste their time with it. Larger organizations like schools and music teachers associations will get a blanket licence to avoid any trouble.

Quote:
However, there are recordings of all kinds of copyrighted songs on YouTube from people’s recitals but for which no license has been obtained...
Youtube uses an algorithm that identifies copyrighted material in informs the publisher. The publisher may or may not block it or decide to monetize it.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Dana_T.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
However, there are recordings of all kinds of copyrighted songs on YouTube from people’s recitals but for which no license has been obtained...
YouTube and CD Baby made this possible without having most anyone charged with Copyright Infringement. That is why it is now legal to do so. It now simply comes down to a moral issue if one belives it should be allowed or not. This is the explanation CD Baby released to the public.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Dana_T.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
My wife runs a flute studio, and has an annual recital. At times in the past, students have performed copyrighted material, such as “hypnosis” by Ian Clarke and we have never really worried about copyright infringement in such a situation. However, now a parent has raised the question, and we feel we should respond appropriately, and either pay licensing if required or no longer allow students to perform copyrighted materials.

I always thought performing for “friends and family” in a situation where the audience is not charged to attend, did not violate copyright. But as I read more, this does not appear to be correct.

Can any of you please try to clarify exactly when a license to perform is required and not required, and also how one would obtain a license to perform a copyrighted song for a recital or similar free performance event. Thanks.
Copyright Law: What Music Teachers Need to Know

Quote:
Performance: Most performances of copyrighted songs require a license from ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC (depending on which performing rights organization the writer has joined). However, Section 110 provides that “face-to-face” teaching exemption. “Performing a song live to demonstrate technique during a music class or playing a song on CD as part of a music history class, for example, would fall under this exception,” says Sam Mosenkis, vice president of legal affairs for ASCAP.

When it comes to performances of longer “dramatico-musical” works—an opera, ballet, or musical, for example—it is generally necessary to license the full work from the publisher or one of several licensing agencies, such as Tams-Witmark Music Library or Rodgers & Hammerstein Library.
Copyright Law is a beast to truly understand. My best advice is try and get a 30 min secession with a Attorney that deals with your situation. If there are none in your area, do a Google search and find one that will give you 30 mins of talk time over the phone or Skype. Many are doing this now days. Just make sure they can practice law in your state.

This may provide the answer you are looking for. It is a website run by the National Association for Music Education. It will also explain who to contact to get the license you may require. Hope this helps.

Last edited by Dana_T.; 1 week ago at 11:16 AM.. Reason: Fixed Link.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Copyright FAQs I don't know if they are correct or not. They seem to think there's a difference between holding a recital in a public space vs a private studio.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
My wife runs a flute studio, and has an annual recital. At times in the past, students have performed copyrighted material, such as “hypnosis” by Ian Clarke and we have never really worried about copyright infringement in such a situation. However, now a parent has raised the question, and we feel we should respond appropriately, and either pay licensing if required or no longer allow students to perform copyrighted materials.

I always thought performing for “friends and family” in a situation where the audience is not charged to attend, did not violate copyright. But as I read more, this does not appear to be correct.

Can any of you please try to clarify exactly when a license to perform is required and not required, and also how one would obtain a license to perform a copyrighted song for a recital or similar free performance event. Thanks.
You are asking a great question! This is one place to start down the rabbit hole...
Types of Copyright | Music Licensing | BMI.com

This is all operating under the pretense that the musicians are "hired." As far as I can tell, in the U.S., performers are the "hired help" who have no rights. If your wife were to perform "hypnosis," she would have to pay the right's holders to perform the piece...for free. She would also be hiring her students...

It is at the point where no one really knows how to obey the law or when they are breaking it. So, as you can tell, I need some clarification as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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I would not get worked up about copyright for a small recital. Might be making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary. However, consider how you'd respond to the person that asked the question. There are some thoughts in this thread that might help.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
I would not get worked up about copyright for a small recital. Might be making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary. However, consider how you'd respond to the person that asked the question. There are some thoughts in this thread that might help.
Remember that this thread originates in the land of litigation ! I'd suggest that the tutor/teacher simply contact the living artists and exchange emails about their preferred payment deals....as recommended above

I'd guess most, like Ian Clarke as an exemplar, would be happy to have the composer acknowledged on the printed program, or his sheet music purchased...end of transactions.

Cuts out the middlemen completely...the direct line between composer and performer has been established, agreed upon, and closed. Everyone else can just get lost..... as they must, by definition, be parasitic leeches upon the moneytrain...no ?

I'm surprised the mafia hasn't latched onto this as an extortion/income-stream: "I hear you've got a kid's piano recital planned for next Sunday 3pm....care to share the setlist with us (since we are also the local reps for ASCRAP)..... or pay $350 now, and we'll agree the event never took place"
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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From: Copyright FAQs

Do I need a music license from ASCAP or BMI to hold a piano recital for my students?

"One of the rights held by a copyright owner of a musical work is the exclusive right to perform the work in public. If music is performed in a public place or if music is transmitted to the public via radio, television, music on hold, or by the Internet, it may only be done with the permission of the copyright holder. That permission is typically obtained by purchasing a music license from the three primary music licensing organizations of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Please note that a music license from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC is only required for public performance of music. Music performed in a private residence, during an educational lesson in a private studio, or as part of a private recital involving a selected group of students does not constitute a public performance. Therefore, recitals by a music instructor’s students for a select group of family and friends would not constitute a public performance and would not require a music license."

I assume the same applies to flute recitals.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Remember that this thread originates in the land of litigation ! I'd suggest that the organizer simply contact the living artists and exchange emails about their preferred payment deals....as recommended above

I'd guess most, like Ian Clarke as an exemplar, would be happy to have the composer acknowledged on the printed program, or his sheet music purchased...end of transactions.

Cuts out the middlemen completely...the direct line between composer and performer has been established, agreed upon, and closed. Everyone else can just get lost..... as they must, by definition, be parasitic leeches upon the moneytrain...no ?

I'm surprised the mafia hasn't latched onto this as an extortion/income-stream: "I hear you've got a kid's piano recital planned for next Sunday 3pm....care to share the setlist with us..... or pay $350 now, and we'll agree the event never took place"
Paragraphs 1-3 - These ideas seem to be what works the best right now.

Paragraph 4 - This is what a "Researcher" does for Performing Rights Groups. Businesses of a potentially less than noble nature are "researched," not piano recitals. I wish I was kidding too.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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I have found on my 77 year journey through mountains of "mixed signal legal matters" and other conundrums, that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission!
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
To the OP.

Are these shows being recorded? You will need to contact the Harry Fox Agency for that permission as well.

I guess your wife could "limit" the audience to only those who are performing and not have it be an open recital.

I worked a lot with copyright in my former job and it was a "royal pain in the a$$". Some composers are harder to contact than the artist who perform their compositions. In one case the composer was literally living on a desert island and for all intents a purposes was unreachable through normal channels. Even his publisher had no way to contact him.

Best of luck! and

Good luck
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
My wife runs a flute studio, and has an annual recital. At times in the past, students have performed copyrighted material, such as “hypnosis” by Ian Clarke and we have never really worried about copyright infringement in such a situation. However, now a parent has raised the question, and we feel we should respond appropriately, and either pay licensing if required or no longer allow students to perform copyrighted materials.

I always thought performing for “friends and family” in a situation where the audience is not charged to attend, did not violate copyright. But as I read more, this does not appear to be correct.
I suggest simply removing any copyrighted material, or that which you haven't expressly contacted the composer about and made a direct, no-middleman deal with. Just default to a stultifyingly boring program of old, regressive and safe material, don't record it, and roll over and say that Big Brother has won.

The losers will be the kids of course, but it's important that fear of litigation and reprisal gets instilled in them early...as, again, Big Brother (or is that Big Commerce) would have it

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 03:30 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Gentlemen - thank you all for your thoughts and responses.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Gentlemen - thank you all for your thoughts and responses.
Please let us know what you find out. It will be very interesting as well as educational.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
To the OP.

Are these shows being recorded? You will need to contact the Harry Fox Agency for that permission as well.
I don't think you needed any permission just to record.

But - if you then want to publish and release the recording - you do need to have permission and pay any royalty due.

But, just to record for yourself - that's fine as long as the performers don't object.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Again, cautioning that one needs to independently make sure this is correct, page 8 of this publication discusses making a single recording for the purpose of evaluation or rehearsal purposes to be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher. https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I don't think you needed any permission just to record.

But - if you then want to publish and release the recording - you do need to have permission and pay any royalty due.

But, just to record for yourself - that's fine as long as the performers don't object.
In other words, to post on Soundcloud or YouTube would be stupid...but otherwise the 'law of benign ignorance' is on your side. If usb thumb drive or CD-r copies happened to leak out, they wouldn't have details printed on the face either...
Old 5 days ago
  #24
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Remember that there is no one "copyright".
I was taught that the concept of "copyright" is a BUNDLE or different rights/permissions/licenses, etc.
These are the major points I remember:

1) Right of the composer/lyricist who wrote the original work. Note that this is typically sold off to a 3rd party publisher.
Which is why "contacting the original composer" typically is useless because they probably sold their "right" to the publisher.
To be sure SOME composers have enough clout to retain their own copyright, but many (most?) sell their right in exchange for promotion and distribution,
Also, there are some composers who operate their own publishing house. For example Daniel E. Gawthrop operates Dunstan House publisher.
The Berne Convention established that a copyright exists the moment a work is "fixed" (typically written down or recorded)

2) The right of the publisher/distributor. They typically BUY the right from the original composer and lyricist and hold all the cards in modern times.
Most publishers/composers are affiliated with a particular performance rights agency. For example ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN, PRS, et.al.
Those agencies collect license fees for different kinds of "performances" and distribute royalty money to their members based of "performances".

3) My understanding is there is also the right of the engraver/printer in the UK (but unknown in the US).

4) There appears to be the right of the arranger in the case of old public domain music.
Much (most? all?) old PD music is available as a modern edition/engraving which "re-establishes" modern copyright on what we think of as ancient PD works.
Most original scores of old PD music is "engraved" in a form that modern musicians would find difficult/impossible to read.
So we mostly have modern "editions" of old PD works and those modern editions have modern copyright attached.
We frequently make new arrangements of copyright music (for example, creating a TTBB choral arrangement of an SATB original).
But the copyright owner (typically the publisher) grants permission only on the provision that THEY own the arrangement.

5) There is the right of the performers. To distribute recordings you must get a release from the performers. Professional performers are paid for this.

6) There is the right of the recordist. They own the recording itself (separate from the physical media).
But the recording is typically a "work for hire" and the recordist sells their right to the producer who hired them.
The recording by itself is of no practical value without other rights/license (typically "mechanical license" for audio or "synchronization license" for cine/video.)

At least in the US, you can record whatever you want. But you must acquire the proper right{s} to "perform" or "distribute" the recording.
As others have mentioned, playback in a private setting (at home, in your car, in a recording studio, etc.) is typically exempt.
Whether an invitation-only recital is required to have a performance license is something you should probably get competent legal counsel for.

Many public-performance venues carry blanket licenses and include public performance fees as part of the rental.
But we have seen performance rights agencies going after shops, restaurants, etc. for playing a radio as background music because that broadcast is NOT licensed for "performance" in a public space.
And they have gone after bars, pubs, etc. for licensing of live performance of copyright "covers".

"Performance" includes not only live playing of a work, but also playback of a recording, and broadcast (terrestial, satellite) and also streaming.
Performance in formal schools and houses of worship are typically exempt. But I wouldn't want to assume in high-stakes situations.

"Publishing" lyrics (as on a projection screen or in a printed handout) requres permission/license from the copyright holder (typcally publisher).
The widespread practice in churches, etc. has led to the establishment of CCLI which provides blanket license.
And CCLI has also branched out into selling licenses for live streaming of covered musical works.
But many major streaming entities don't seem to recognize proper CCLI licensing and flag otherwise licensed "performance".

Live streaming over the internet requires the proper license for distributing "performance' (either live and/or pre-recorded).
And on-demand downloading of recordings is yet another category of licensing.

Traditional distribution of physical media (wax cylinder, vinyl disk, cassette, CD, SD card, etc.) requires a "mechanical license" to distribute.
In the US there is a "compulsory license" For any but the first recording of a new work.
And there is a "statutory rate" of payment per copy, etc.
However, this seems to vary in other countries.
In the US, the Harry Fox Agency has a convenient online service for buying small-scale (a few hundred) licenses.

Using copyright music in cine/video requires a "synchronization license".
At least in the US, there is no compulsory license nor statutory rate for sync licensing.
The licensing must be arranged with the copyright holder.
Although in other countries (AFAIK) there are more convenient mechanisms (more like mechanical in the US).
Old 5 days ago
  #25
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Absolutely no one is going to come after you for flute recital performances regardless of the theory and technicality of copyright law. The absolute worse case scenario possible is a YouTube of the event gets taken down at some point, and even this is unlikely.

For all practical purposes, proceed without a 2nd thought.
Old 5 days ago
  #26
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Richard, as usual, has nailed it. It is virtually the same in Canada, with the substitution of CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Association) for Harry Fox. I think all these organizations are running hard to keep up with the technological and delivery changes in the music industry so there is little time for them to worry about flute recitals from a small teaching studio, thus newguy1 is also giving good advice.

Of course, if you do end up in Sing Sing, all your slutz friends will send letters and postcards...
Old 5 days ago
  #27
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Googling around a bit, I see ZERO historic precident of a student recital running into copyright problems. Its never happened before in the history of the world. No one cares man, do your thing.

This is what came up, which is what I was saying is the worst case scenario possible (IE no big deal): Google Groups

^^These are spotted by algorhythm bots and there's no repurcussion outside it getting taken down (or left up, with the copyright holder getting the click money). If the bot spots a work, it means the kid performed it well enough to be spotted mathematically, which is essentially a compliment to the student's ability. "Who's so good they get busted by Youtube bots" could even be a goal to strive for.
Old 5 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
GIf the bot spots a work, it means the kid performed it well enough to be spotted mathematically, which is essentially a compliment to the student's ability. "Who's so good they get busted by Youtube bots" could even be a goal to strive for.
I love it! My second classic quote from GS.

(My first classic quote from GS: "A $200 cable is better than a $2 cable. But it is not better than a $5 cable.")
Old 5 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff spicoli View Post
@ this almost entire thread).
@Reptil , it is hard to report a post when the report button does not work. So here again, no advice to the OP, just posting to flame the thread. This member has chosen to insult most other members who decided to participate with this thread, in a positive way.

I know about the ignore list but this is 100% BS. I am going to ask you publicly, is there any restrictions or consequences on insulting other members, on a consistent basis? I understand we all have a bad day every now and then. I am guilty of it myself.

I think I will go find another community to spend what little spare time I do have, learning from others and offering advice to someone who may need it, if I can. I placed a link from my community to yours a week ago. It will be taken down in the next min or two after I post this. To All Members.



Quote:
facepalm
the new "epic fail"

a relatively new internet meme that is quickly gaining popularity.

a gesture used to empathize the hopelessness of someone else after they do or say something extremely REETARRDDEDD.
I respelled the last word in the quote above, as it was flagged by your profanity filter. I don't think I have ever read a reeetttaaarrrddded answer in the community, except for the person I have quoted above.
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Old 5 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana_T. View Post
@Reptil , it is hard to report a post when the report button does not work. So here again, no advice to the OP, just posting to flame the thread. This member has chosen to insult most other members who decided to participate with this thread, in a positive way.

I know about the ignore list but this is 100% BS. I am going to ask you publicly, is there any restrictions or consequences on insulting other members, on a consistent basis? I understand we all have a bad day every now and then. I am guilty of it myself.

I think I will go find another community to spend what little spare time I do have, learning from others and offering advice to someone who may need it, if I can. I placed a link from my community to yours a week ago. It will be taken down in the next min or two after I post this. To All Members.





I respelled the last word in the quote above, as it was flagged by your profanity filter. I don't think I have ever read a reeetttaaarrrddded answer in the community, except for the person I have quoted above.
The unsubstantiated face palm is indeed the weakest, most pathetic, least creative, least original, most banal, most trite, least musical, and least artistic post possible on gearslutz.

I'm left completely embarrassed for whoever does it every time I see it. Its a big flashing sign that says "I'm worthless."
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