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Kirk Lorange

The Copyright quagmire ... update

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Stratrat    0

Wow - now they're stooping to the old "Reefer Madness" approach. What a joke.

Bottom line (at least to me) is that the fatcats in the music industry don't really care about music - all they care about is making as much money as they possibly can in any and every way they possibly can. If that music wasn't lining their pockets and supporting their high-roller lifestyles, they couldn't care less if music itself dropped off the face of the earth. It isn't about the art, or the love of music - it's all about $$$MONEY$$$

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Lcjones    8

....and from the Scottish Performing Rights Society who says "we have nothing better to do so let's go intimidate some car mechanics" department......

That venerable and great gospel and bluegrass standard, "Turn Your Radio On" has been given new meaning.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Kwik-Fit sued over staff radios

Where do these people come from?

**

LC

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knight46    2

So not only can the police can arrest you for noise violation for playing your radio to loud, but also for copywrite infringement. Where does it stop...

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solidwalnut    5

The performance rights agencies have been around and been enforcing copyrighted music played in public places for years. This is nothing new, but these circumstances are. Who could blame anyone being on the side of regular dudes doing work and listening to the radio? The onus is completely on the company, Kwik-Fit.

The performance rights agencies are the good guys. They collect money on behalf of songwriters. Not a penny is mixed with record and publishing companies, by law (U.S., anyway). Since this deal with Kwik-Fit is some borderline issue, the PRS doesn't want to establish this precedence or restaurants and other places could just claim, 'oh, it's only the empolyee's radio playing in the back', and there goes a great income stream for the songwriter.

Steve

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knight46    2

I must still be missing something. If I play my radio loud enough for others to hear, am I infringeing on copywrite law, and what about Musak in elevators? Unless they can prove that the company profits from the playing of music where is the infringement?

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Lcjones    8

Kirk chose the correct word for this thread, quagmire.

The implications go way beyond this specific intention.

The PRS intends to show that an employee, in a place of business, playing a radio at a volume loud enough that "others" may hear is a public playing of copyright material and a public performance. As such, the company would have to pay the annual fee to the PRS to stay in compliance with infringement laws.

If a judgment settles to the favor of PRS, then the implications would be outrageous. For example, a parent purchases a CD of children's music to play at a birthday party for their child and invited guests. If the CD is played so that all the children and parents could listen, then that would constitute a breaking of copyright law, under the guise of a public performance.

But then realistically, it becomes impossible to police. Although I'm sure some hot dog of a lawyer or organization would test the law to use as scare tactics, such as the RIAA is doing now.

I believe in this case, however, judgment will be ruled against the PRS with a stipulation the employer enforce it's company policy of no radio's in the work space, which is a safety feature.

**

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knight46    2

Thanks LC, kinda what I thought. I have no problem with PRS protecting infringement of copywrite I just thought that this was way overboard.

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Dewy    0

I'd say from the moment music is made with intent for profit a sin is committed. Every act to insure or increase that profit is another sin.

Music was not intended to be harnessed for profit. Musicians made a living before "copyright" or the PRS came onto the scene. The RIAA represents itself first, the Recording industry second, and the artist marginally.

I'm all for John Kay making a buck if someone uses "Born to be Wild" in a car commercial. But for some agency to come along and sue his audience for a few more bucks because they didn't play his music in a manner that profited him, thats a sin. They want to make sure no one learns "Born to be Wild" from Kirk here unless they get a nice hunk-o-bacon from the food he's trying to put on his table.

The "Industry" wants to try and claim the moral high ground... "Infringement is theft"... but the fact is, they commit much more egregious sins daily with their lawsuits designed to squeeze the last few pennies out of a dying business model. That's not even mentioning the dastardly schemes they are working behind the scenes in the various capitols around the world, making sure that new laws strangle the new market choices.

If they truly supported the artist, they would be adapting to the changing world, not trying to litigate it into submission. Using Kirk here as an example, here is a revenue stream that did not exist 15 years ago... but rather than put a fair price on it to see what it could become, they price it out of range and hedge their bet to be prepared to sue him to make sure that revenue stream never materializes.

Way to go PRS and RIAA. That'll keep those pesky customers (we musicians know them as "the audience") at bay.

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Stratrat    0
...The implications go way beyond this specific intention.

The PRS intends to show that an employee, in a place of business, playing a radio at a volume loud enough that "others" may hear is a public playing of copyright material and a public performance. As such, the company would have to pay the annual fee to the PRS to stay in compliance with infringement laws.

Taking their tactics to the logical extreme, pretty soon you'll ONLY be able to listen to music in public through closed-back headphones - NO singing aloud permitted while doing so. If you want to listen in your car it must be with no passengers (can't risk having it as a "public performance - your friends didn't pay to listen to that music!), all windows rolled up and the music turned down to a volume which is inaudible outside the car. If you're listening at home you must be alone (wife is OK as long as you're legally married and in a state where community property laws apply, so she's legally paid to listen to that music) and the volume must be such that no neighbors or passers-by can hear your music. If, in the process of any of the above listening, somebody else inadvertently hears your music, you must immediately extract the appropriate fees from them and mail it directly to the PRS/RIAA - along with a penalty assessment from you for being so careless as to allow others to hear the copyrighted music.

If you're practicing your guitar at home and the neighbors call the police on you for being too loud, the PRS/RIAA will monitor all such calls and respond to the scene with the police. They will interview neighbors and inquire if any of the songs you were playing were even remotely recognizable as a copyrighted song. If so, they will collect their fees from you on the spot and have the police arrest you for copyright infringement.

Some artist will re-release and copyright "Happy Birthday to You", thus removing it from the public domain. The RIAA/PRS will then monitor all children's birthday parties to ensure that the appropriate fees are paid if the song is sung. Since the words "Happy Birthday" comprise 50% of the actual song (do the math), merely uttering those words will be a copyright violation, since that goes above and beyond "Fair Use" of the lyrics to that song.

Sound pretty far-fetched? Yeah, it does to me too - but in this day and age, nothing would surprise me anymore.....especially from the music industry.

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Stratrat    0

Interesting, Si.....I wasn't aware of that, I actually thought that "Happy Birthday To You" was in the public domain. And here I thought I was doing a fine and dandy job of engaging in sublime hyperbole!

From that link, Warner claims that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to them......I'm appalled, but not surprised. With the way things are going, they'll probably soon have undercover "agents" patrolling ice cream shops, pizza parlours and public parks, looking to snag heinous "copyright violators" who would DARE sing "Happy Birthday" to their children without paying the appropriate fees!

"Sorry, little Johnny - we were going to buy you that tricycle you wanted for your birthday, but instead we had to pay Warner $1,000 so we could legally sing "Happy Birthday" at your party!"

I can see the next poster - the big satanic-looking "communist" monster from P-90's poster looming over the shoulder of parents at a two-year old's birthday party, with the caption "Singing 'Happy Birthday' is THEFT!!!"

Jeez - where's it gonna end?

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solidwalnut    5
...If a judgment settles to the favor of PRS, then the implications would be outrageous. For example, a parent purchases a CD of children's music to play at a birthday party for their child and invited guests. If the CD is played so that all the children and parents could listen, then that would constitute a breaking of copyright law, under the guise of a public performance.

Not unless the parents are charging admittance and have a licence to be in business and claim the profits, etc...

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solidwalnut    5
Interesting, Si.....I wasn't aware of that, I actually thought that "Happy Birthday To You" was in the public domain. And here I thought I was doing a fine and dandy job of engaging in sublime hyperbole!

From that link, Warner claims that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to them......I'm appalled, but not surprised. With the way things are going, they'll probably soon have undercover "agents" patrolling ice cream shops, pizza parlours and public parks, looking to snag heinous "copyright violators" who would DARE sing "Happy Birthday" to their children without paying the appropriate fees!

"Sorry, little Johnny - we were going to buy you that tricycle you wanted for your birthday, but instead we had to pay Warner $1,000 so we could legally sing "Happy Birthday" at your party!"

I can see the next poster - the big satanic-looking "communist" monster from P-90's poster looming over the shoulder of parents at a two-year old's birthday party, with the caption "Singing 'Happy Birthday' is THEFT!!!"

Jeez - where's it gonna end?

I know you're just having fun with the hyperbole, but you gotta realize that most of this is just unenforcable. And unless parents are going into the business of raising their child with the intent of making profit, they're not going to be liable for any public performances of the song anytime soon!

Any ice cream shops or restaurants are already paying blanket fees for the public performance of music. If Warner/Chappel is concerned about collecting for that song then they'll take it up with the performance rights agencies, not individuals.

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solidwalnut    5
So I guess this means that, should I play publicly, and it's not all original material, I have some payments to make?

No. It's the responsibility of the venue to pay the fees.

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solidwalnut    5
I must still be missing something. If I play my radio loud enough for others to hear, am I infringeing on copywrite law, and what about Musak in elevators? Unless they can prove that the company profits from the playing of music where is the infringement?

No. Unfortunately, you're getting caught up in the hyperbole.

The issue isn't about individuals listening to their radios loud enough for others to hear. The issue is about places of businesses allowing that. Places of businesses are liable to pay blanket licenses to the perfomance agencies when playing music in their establishments. Musak in elevators is licensed music. Musak pays the fees. Companies who use Musak are helping Musak pay those fees.

It's not about proving that a company makes a profit from the playing of the music, it's that they make a profit at all and they are playing music for the enjoyment of their patrons.

Playing music in public is not about infringing on any copyrights. It's all about the performance rights agencies making a revenue stream for the public performances of the songs of their members (songwriters and publishing companies). It's just that the work has a current copyright registration and is NOT in the public domain that makes it eligible to be covered by a blanket license to be issue by the performance rights agency.

Steve

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solidwalnut    5
Thanks Steve, I appreciate the time that you take to answer questions posed here and always respect your opinion.

You're totally welcome. It's just that I have a bit of knowledge in the area and I want to try to separate fact from theory. My two cents, anyway.

Steve

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P-90    1
No. It's the responsibility of the venue to pay the fees.

Note to self: federal property is an ideal setting for public performances.

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