Covered songs, copyright and payment issues.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Rockin John, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. I had a minor altication with a guy in a band over their CD. This band is a typical, local outfit covering others' songs. They play local pubs and clubs and the like. They'd produced a small series of CDs, mainly taken from live gigs, and offered them for sale to their audience at £10 each. The original artistes and/or writers were acknowledged on the CD.

    My stance was that, as the original artistes hadn't received any money from that band (by their own admission), making and selling CDs using other's songs wasn't really a legitimate thing to do. They prefered to think that 'it was only very small sums so it didn't matter, anyway'. And, in any case, how was it any different from earning money from playing covers as, in that case too, the original artiste doesn't get paid.

    I, too, play covers so I am I suppose as guilty as this band? (Yet I do often buy the artistes' songbooks, but I don't make CDs)

    I wonder, therefore, whether TB holds any wisdom on this general issue?


  2. If the venues they play in do the right thing and pay their APRA/ASCAP/whatever it is in the UK licenses then the original artist does get a trickle of money down the line.

    What this band is doing sounds illegal.

    Oh, and I play in a cover band too. It's one thing to play live music in a venue paying the appropriate licenses. It's a whole different ballgame when you are creating merchandise of other people's work and selling it for a profit without re-imbursing the artist who wrote it.
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    In the USA, if you record another's performance, reproduce that recording and sell it without permission of the performer, you are breaking the law. The original performer owns the copyright over that performance - and any recording of that performance. There is absolutely no doubt about this under US copyright law.

    How your laws apply in Merrie Old England, I dunno.

    And - whether it's worth pursuing is another matter.
  4. they ain't recording other's performances... they're recording their own covers of other people's work...

    they owe royalties to the composers of the songs they've covered at the standard cover rate...
  5. alexnw


    Feb 1, 2008
    From reading that article, would they not have to of obtained permission and arranged to pay royalties up front?

    They obviously have not obtained permission, (or intend to pay royalties) if they believe that "acknowledging" the copyright owners in the CD insert covers them.

    As far as I'm aware performing in a pub/club/function room etc is covered by the venue's music license (this is a catchall license for any Music played at an establishment: Jukeboxes/Karoke/Disco's/DJ's/Cover Bands/Tribute Bands etc..)

    If you record and distribute your performance of another artists material (without permission) , then you have breached copyright (even if you are not charging for it, i.e. uploading to YouTube/MySpace,give the CD away free, etc...)

    £10 :eek: a CD and only "acknowledging" the copyright owners, is criminal, on more than one level!
  6. First off, I'm indebted to manicbassman for the link. I've read the article (and added it as a favourite). Making CDs is not part of my agenda (maybe it is for the others, tho?) but it does give an interesting insight into copyright issues.

    Second, I'm glad to hear venues do pay some kind of performance royalty with their music licenses.

    And, third, although I'm not a 'goody two-shoes' I do believe in doing things right at the outset. I've already had issues with one guy who wanted to make our band's logo from a thinly disguised, internationally recognised trademark, and also the use of very famous peoples' faces on our logo. Also, I had issues with how any band earnings are used and accounted for.

    Usually the response is a big grin and a wink followed swiftly by, 'You worry too much. No-one will ever know / catch us / do anything to us if they do catch us...'

    How very wrong and foolish that is. One day, a relative of mine recieved an out-of-the-blue letter from the Revenue people asking him to pay their estimated tax bill on the earnings they estimated he'd recieved over the last ?? years whilst doing his on-the-side DJ work. Get out of that!!! :eek:

    Pligrim said:
    This is a very good point. My view is to assume they will! Then I think of what might happen if they do (court, etc?), whether the risk is worth taking and, finally, if there's a legitimate way to do whatever it is I want to do.

    Yeah. A minefield...

  7. I had that same problem when my band was putting our backdrop and flyers together. One member just yanked an image off deviant art dot com, added some text to it and printed it up as a flyer to show us, and wanted to put it on a backdrop as well.

    I went to deviant art and by merely asking the artist who owned the image we borrowed, I got permission to use the artwork for anything we want. I also got permission for a few other designs along the way :)

    Sure, the artist probably wouldn't have cared either way, but I felt a lot better about it, and what if he had??