So now we are ALL illegal!!

Tips and techniques of the trade

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Lenny Love
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:06 am
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Venues are legal

#16 Post by Lenny Love » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:18 am

julius wrote:To be totally legal, a venue has to pay BMI/ASCAP a fee in order to play licensed music. I'm pretty sure no dance venues do this.
Here in the UK, all venues that present live music and/or DJ-led nights are legally obliged to pay fees to the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Public Performance Limited (PPL). Even a cafe or shop playing background music has to cough-up! The tariff for these fees vary - a shop or regular venue would probably pay an annual fee based on the capacity, whereas the promoter for a mega stadium gig would pay a one-off fee based on a % of the gate revenue.

As for the issue of DJ's using mp3 files or burning CDR's...
A couple of years ago, during a sound-check before a club night started, someone saw me putting a compilation CD that I'd burned into the CD deck. They informed me that if the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) came round, I'd get busted for 'piracy'. Not true - as long as I bought & own the original/oficial record company issued recording, and I'm not 'boot-legging' it - but it did make think about the issue.
I believe that most DJ's are quite happy to purchase their music 'legally', and only use the technology to convert their tunes to mp3 files or burn CDR compilations in order to save space/cut the weight & number of flight cases they have to carry to gigs, and/or to increase the number of tunes they can choose from.
At least, that's the way it works for me, and I'd happily go to any court in the land to defend that position.

In fact, IMHO, the ability for DJ's to carry a larger 'library' of music with them can only be beneficial to promoting more sales, and I personally look forward to the time when I can afford a laptop system that I can load-up with 20,000 tunes!

Having worked in record shops, for bands and for record companies in the past, I'm absolutely 100% in favour of writers and performers getting paid their royalties and, now that they can also get their money from legal downloads as well as from traditional record and CD sales, I can see no reason for honest DJ's to be concerned. The only ones who should be worried are the people who burn and then sell copies or compilations.

BUT, I hear you asking, what happens when happy dancers plead with us to make/sell them a compilation CD? (and I'll bet that happens on a regular basis to every DJ reading this). Well, I have no problem at all in explaining to them that I just won't - it's completely illegal, and my reputation means a LOT more to me than a quick tenner. And I've never had an argument about it. Instead, I simply offer to give them a list of songs and artists that I recommend and that they might like to buy for themselves.

Hey, I'm no saint. I'll admit that, among my collection of (literally) thousands of CD's & records that I've bought over the years, I have a total of 3 tunes that I don't actually own the originals of, on 3 CDR's that were given to me. I'm still trying to find original copies of them on eBay, so in the meantime, go sue me!

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#17 Post by Zot » Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:55 pm

Well see here's the kicker, my school does pay ASCAP fees every year -- more than enough to cover it. We want to do everything legally. It just seems that it's not possible at the moment (if you want to use up to date technology at least).
"Take the worst of neo-swing and put it together with Glen Miller. The man thinks the Count is someone from a horror flick. Take pity on him and let him play two or three tunes. But be sure you have some errands to run." -- Bill Borgida

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#18 Post by northbayclay » Thu Mar 24, 2005 2:14 am

Us too. Our venue is a dance hall with nightly lessons, and the ASCAP/BMI fees are paid by the place.
However, there is also a mechanical usage fee of sorts for making copies of a song, which is minimal, but can add up on a large volume of music. This is seperate from the broadcast/public usage of the music.
"If you can't hear it.... you'll never understand it." -Satchmo

Charleston Charlie
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Location: Vancouver BC Canada

#19 Post by Charleston Charlie » Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:42 pm

Up here in Canada all venues pay SOCAN fees for the privilege of playing recorded music, so we are essentially covered. The legality of playing mp3s is another question altogether, I guess.

What bothers me is that there is no way that any of the obscure artists I play (or even many of the not-so-obscure) will have any revenue from SOCAN fees go to their respective estates. I suspect that Bryan Adams and Celine Dion get the lion's share of that.

Kinda makes me want to vomit.
"‘Swing’ is an adjective or a verb, not a noun. All jazz musicians should swing. There is no such thing as a ’swing band’ in music.”-
Artie Shaw