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A wrinkle with playing covers that I hadn't thought of

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by socialleper, Mar 27, 2014.


  1. socialleper

    socialleper

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    Canyon Country, CA
    I read this story today on the Daily Beast:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...ohio-bar-cover-songs-don-t-come-for-free.html

    I wasn't aware that the live performance of another band's material was copyright infringement as long as you don't take credit for the piece and/or tell the audience who wrote it.
    If any live performance of another band's material IS a violation of copyright and publishing laws, then how is it that every single club on the planet and 50% of the people here on TB haven't been sued.:eek:
    Does anyone have any practical first hand experience or legal light they can shine on this?
     
  2. KB4178

    KB4178

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Because venues pay ASCAP, BMI, SESAC licences for performance royalties. This article at How Stuff Works gives a good explanation of how music licensing works.

    ASCAP are notorious a**holes when in comes to collecting license fees. Back in the 50s and 60s a lot of venues refused to work with them, and you'd see a lot of "You can't perform ASCAP songs here" signs backstage.
     
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Madison WI
    Disclosures:
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    The club pays for a license.
     
  4. Raf Seibert

    Raf Seibert

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    If you publicly perform music written by someone else, which is not in public domain, money is owed to the owner of the music. Usually, that money is collected in the form of licensing fees paid to BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. Usually, the licensing organizations collect these fees from the venue, rather than from the performers. Depending on the nature of the business, it's size and so forth, the organization collects a flat rate for the year.

    Raf
     
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  6. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

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    Dec 2, 2003
    It's not copyright infringement. It is a payable usage of published intellectual property.
     
  7. repoman

    repoman

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Location:
    Kinderhook NY
    So if you are playing cover songs at, say, an American Legion Hall or a church rec. hall or even your buddies backyard BBQ, somebody should be paying a fee?
     
  8. invader3k

    invader3k Supporting Member

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    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Atkinson, WI
    In the strictest legal terms, probably yes.
     
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Nov 13, 2009
    Location:
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle
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    Too many to list.
    Yep. Those are the "rules".

    Hopefully, there aren't any ASCAP-cops disguised as a "buddy".

    Remember, "you" are that "somebody" that owes the fees.
     
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    If there's a sound system, stereo, or stage, there's a good chance that ASCAP or BMI have cased the joint.

    My experience is that reps come through town and visit every 'new' place they find, the drop by, see if you're playing music in your restaurant, bar or coffeehouse, if it looks like you're posting live music shows or have stage space. Then they give you the shake down for the licensing fee. I've never known a band to pay that fee, just the bar/club/coffeehouse/resaurant/function hall.
     
  11. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

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    Location:
    rio grande valley, texas
    definitely not copyright infringement. it must be fixed into a format for that. it could be argued that a recording of such a performance would be copyright infringement, but not the performance itself.

    i think.
     
  12. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

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    Nov 19, 2005
    Location:
    rio grande valley, texas
    not sure about the backyard bbq. context is in play here.
     
  13. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

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    Location:
    rio grande valley, texas
    we got a visit one time for playing a local radio station for telephone callers placed on hold.
     
  14. repoman

    repoman

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    Aug 11, 2011
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    Kinderhook NY
    waaat? These guys are worst then the IRS...:)
     
  15. socialleper

    socialleper

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    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    Canyon Country, CA
    So if this is an extra cost of doing business by having local acts perform covers, do clubs still make more net profits after paying the licensing fees for the covers over just having original acts play?
    How are these fees assessed? Is it by the song, or by the act? Do certain songs cost more than others? Are there set fees that the clubs pay for "X" number of covers?
    It all seems very ad-hoc.
     
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

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    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    They don't usually pay individual song fees, they pay for a blanket license that covers a period of time for a certain amount of cash. No one tracks the actual songs, they just figure if you're playing background music on the pa/soundsystem and/or you've got bands coming in that's worth x-number of songs, at x-number of dollars average.
     
  17. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Not quite right. A public performance of a copyrighted song is infringement unless you have permission of the copyright holder (or an exception applies).

    Copyright comes into existence when an original work of authorship is fixed in a tangible medium. In the case of a musical work, that means that copyright exists as soon as an original work is recorded or written down. See 17 U.S.C.A. section 102. However, once copyright protection attaches, one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder is the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. See 17 U.S.C.A. section 106(4). Under section 501 of the Copyright Act, violation of any of the exclusive rights in section 106 is infringement.

    Under section 101 of the Copyright Act, "perform" means "to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." Thus, a performance at a family barbecue that is not open to the public is probably not infringement. A performance at a bar, on the other hand, would be infringement, unless the bar has secured a license allowing performance of the copyrighted work.
     
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    "worst then"? :eek:

    As one who derives income from royalties collected by ASCAP, I am glad they are worse than the IRS.
     
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

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    charles town, wv
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    I'm a Fuzzrocious-aholic. It's been one week since I bought my last Fuzzrocious pedal.
    You mean because, like the IRS, they collect money that is owed?
     
  20. Bass_Pounder

    Bass_Pounder

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    Palm Coast, Florida
    Of course they do.

    If it didn't, you would see a lot more clubs booking original acts instead of cover bands.
     
  21. icecycle66

    icecycle66

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    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Arizona
    Yes, how dare they expect me to abide by the rules!
     

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