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Thread: Another Licensing Question...

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    Not exactly the best choice of song either, it doesn't mean what people sometimes think it does. "You Are My Sunshine" lyrics:

    "But now you've left me and love another
    You have shattered all of my dreams"

    Gee. So cheerful. Not!

    Another song that IMO is totally inappropriate for nursing homes, even though to my dismay I keep reading of people playing it for nursing home captive audiences like they think they're doing them some kind of favor, is "Goodnight Irene". Lyrics:

    "Sometimes I have a great notion
    To jump in to the river and drown"

    In case that's not obvious enough, it's spelled out at the Wikipedia page:

    "Several verses refer explicitly to suicidal fantasies, ..."

    So yeah, playing songs about suicide and loved ones leaving... Nursing home residents already have plenty of those kinds of depressing issues surrounding them daily. Why add to it with songs that have dismal lyrics.

    IMO it would be far preferable to play music that gave people a little break from all their troubles, instead of rubbing their noses in it more.

    Then again, probably a good percentage of nursing home residents don't listen any more carefully to the words of such songs, than the rest of the population who continues to think of these songs are cheerful songs when they're actually not. Of course lots of people don't listen to *any* lyrics anyway, especially if the singers mumble, so maybe it's just as well that people aren't aware of the lyrics in some of these songs.
    Those songs work well in a nursing home because the residents grew up listening to them and it stirs memories. A decade ago those are songs I would have played too, a fair amount of the residents now days aren't much older that I am so we play some of those, but newer country that would have been popular. We did a wheelchair dance last fall and the caller said we would take requests, she didn't ask us first, well I was surprised by the requests and we were able to do them all but one, an instrumental that I could not remember enough of to fake. It supported my belief to my other band mates what I was saying about song choices.
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  3. #27
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    I would ask who decides what exactly IS public place and what not? For the seniors is is shared home, not a public place, only friends and family can visit (other than the employees).
    Other thing, if your jam is in separate room behind closed door with "Private party - do not enter - only for invited guests" label on door does it still count as public performance? You are renting the room (even if just by the costs of your drinks) so it is no more venue of the restaurant.
    I understand public place as one that anyone and his unce can visit either without paying or by paying admision fee.
    It's not about whether it's a public or private performance, with all the ways that can be defined. It's simpler than that. The way the system works, as I understand it, is that the determining factor is whether it's a commercial venue.

    Is the owner of the venue operating a business that receives revenue from people being there (anyone at all, not just the musicians)? Then the owner needs a license.

    Private parties in a private house don't qualify. Private parties in a special event room at a restaurant would qualify. Nursing homes would qualify, with the possible exceptions of a non-profit operation, although the vast majority are profit-making businesses.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    It's not about whether it's a public or private performance, with all the ways that can be defined. It's simpler than that. The way the system works, as I understand it, is that the determining factor is whether it's a commercial venue.
    That is what I thought until I read the ASCAP website links posted with this thread. They have a pretty broad interpretation of what is covered. Their definition would seem to include a group playing in a park informally for free. Here is the definition from ASCAP's website. I hope I am not violating their copyright by posting this.

    A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place or any place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or its social acquaintances). A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public; for example, radio or television broadcasts, music-on-hold, cable television, and by the internet. Generally, those who publicly perform music obtain permission from the owner of the music or his representative. However, there are a few limited exceptions, (called "exemptions") to this rule. Permission is not required for music played or sung as part of a worship service unless that service is transmitted beyond where it takes place (for example, a radio or television broadcast). Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt. We recommend that you contact your local ASCAP representative who can discuss your needs and how ASCAP can help you.

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  7. #29
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Yeah, that's a pretty loose definition of "public performance" in the ASCAP quote above.

    I'm curious about how this applies to government-owned spaces like small city parks, state parks, national parks. If the space is used for a commercial enterprise like a big Rock or EDM festival selling tickets for profit, then you'd expect to pay a license.

    But what if a city puts on a free music festival in a city-owned park? Does it avoid needing to pay a music license because government is by definition is "non-profit," i.e. not a business? If that's the case (and I don't know if it is), then it would also cover you and your friends gathering in a city park to jam.

    This part -- "Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt. -- would presumably cover things like the Fiddle Tunes Festival at Fort Worden, WA (state park), hosted by the Centrum Foundation (non-profit), where "teaching" would include both the workshops and the concert series at the park.

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  9. #30
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    I'm kind of hoping it is.
    Sorry, it ain't. Just a hypothetical seniors' facility, where those who enter abandon all hope...

    I did play at a place here in Rochester that got closed down for multiple documented cases of abuse of residents. A for-profit facility, of course. It had a much more upbeat name.

    Responding to JL227z: I play both You Are My Sunshine and Goodnight Irene at almost every seniors' gig; I may add Oh My Darling Clementine (definitely features a drowning). Those Were the Days (loneliness and angst), Tennessee Waltz (faithlessness and lost love), It Had To Be You ("even be glad, just feeling sad, thinking of you..."), and of course Swing Low Sweet Chariot, which is basically about dying. Plus other songs featuring lost love, hard times, death and doom.

    Not calculating my set list to spread as much gloom as possible; just aiming for familiarity, which I have found is the most important factor in evoking involvement and participation by the senior audiences for whom I play. Goodnight Irene spent 35 weeks on the charts in 1950, 15 at #1, and there are few people of seniors'-residence vintage that don't know it. Ditto with You Are My Sunshine, which I may follow with Hey, Good Looking and Home On the Range.

    In my experience, my audiences don't internalize the lyrics, worrying about "shattered dreams" and jumping in the river; they are glad to hear a familiar melody and sing well-known words. One has to connect with them, and a well-known song, on whatever theme, is the "foot in the door."

    Polishing up my St. Patrick's repertoire for seniors, and I often lead off with Molly Malone -- who, of course, "died of a fever, and no one could save her." At least she ends up as a ghost, selling shellfish.

    Later:

    But what if a city puts on a free music festival in a city-owned park? Does it avoid needing to pay a music license because government is by definition is "non-profit," i.e. not a business? If that's the case (and I don't know if it is), then it would also cover you and your friends gathering in a city park to jam.
    Local towns were dunned by ASCAP for not obtaining licenses for their free summer concert series. Governments aren't exempt. It's the public access, not the identity of the sponsor, that the licensers seem to use to define "public performance."
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    as players have no real assets, the venue is the one that is going to be hearing from the ASCAP/BMI folks.. AFAIK..
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  13. #32
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    as players have no real assets, the venue is the one that is going to be hearing from the ASCAP/BMI folks.. AFAIK..
    It's always the venue, there is no variation to that whatsoever. Same as the electric bill.

    Weird how nobody ever posts about electricity company "thugs" coming around demanding payment.

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  15. #33
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by jesserules View Post
    It's always the venue, there is no variation to that whatsoever. Same as the electric bill.

    Weird how nobody ever posts about electricity company "thugs" coming around demanding payment.
    you obviously haven't seen my town's local facebook page :D . (city owned utilities accused of making up the bill)
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  17. #34
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    It's not about whether it's a public or private performance, with all the ways that can be defined. It's simpler than that. The way the system works, as I understand it, is that the determining factor is whether it's a commercial venue.
    There's no mention of thet in the definition posted earlier.... If I rent an appartment at the back of a restaurant and play few tunes with my friends would that qualify because it is part of commercial venue? I doubt that....
    Those laws are very fuzzy and allow very wide interpretation and noone wants to risk bullying by ASCAP/BMI lawyers. I think the good intentions of protecting authors by laws turned into monster that is impossible to stop or slow down.
    Let's assume you will be playing full set of your perfectly (hard to do in reality but certainly possible) original songs or your own arrangements of PD songs... they make you to pay fees that should cover nonexistent copyright for the songs. Isn't that against law or constitution? Something like presumption of innocence... Sounds like cops can fine you for speeding just because your car is CAPABLE of going that fast.
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  19. #35
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Yeah, that's a pretty loose definition of "public performance" in the ASCAP quote above.

    I'm curious about how this applies to government-owned spaces like small city parks, state parks, national parks. If the space is used for a commercial enterprise like a big Rock or EDM festival selling tickets for profit, then you'd expect to pay a license.

    But what if a city puts on a free music festival in a city-owned park? Does it avoid needing to pay a music license because government is by definition is "non-profit," i.e. not a business? If that's the case (and I don't know if it is), then it would also cover you and your friends gathering in a city park to jam.

    This part -- "Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt. -- would presumably cover things like the Fiddle Tunes Festival at Fort Worden, WA (state park), hosted by the Centrum Foundation (non-profit), where "teaching" would include both the workshops and the concert series at the park.
    Our local folklife association puts on a free music festival every Labor Day weekend in a city park. We absolutely pay licensing fees to the PROs for this.

  20. #36

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Forty years ago I was playing six nights a week on a circuit of restaurant bars. The venue made the bands pay the licensing fees, at the time $50 a week (200/mo). While wrong for the venue to make us pay, it amounted to 4% of the total band take home for a month. I have no idea what licensing costs are now, though if on that scale, it should not be too much for a venue to pay. I also remember a band consensus that the charge was fair for our use of the material. Clearly, the song circles are very different, and should not pay at even that level, if anything. However, if someone is making money -- we had SRO every Friday and Saturday with drink minimums (no cover) to the point where we sometime took forty minute breaks to turn the house over -- I believe the composers of the material should be compensated.
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  22. #37
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Let's assume you will be playing full set of your perfectly (hard to do in reality but certainly possible) original songs or your own arrangements of PD songs... they make you to pay fees that should cover nonexistent copyright for the songs. Isn't that against law or constitution?
    As a performer you will not be the one paying fees. The venue is responsible. No one will come from a PRO and hit up the live band.

    However, read on please....

    Quote Originally Posted by ddminpgfl View Post
    Forty years ago I was playing six nights a week on a circuit of restaurant bars. The venue made the bands pay the licensing fees, at the time $50 a week (200/mo). While wrong for the venue to make us pay, it amounted to 4% of the total band take home for a month. I have no idea what licensing costs are now, though if on that scale, it should not be too much for a venue to pay..
    Well, your band made a financial decision for itself and that was OK - but the venue was shameful to make you guys pay what they legally should have paid.

  23. #38

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    As a performer you will not be the one paying fees. The venue is responsible. No one will come from a PRO and hit up the live band.

    However, read on please....



    Well, your band made a financial decision for itself and that was OK - but the venue was shameful to make you guys pay what they legally should have paid.
    I completely agree, but we were so happy to have the work...

    And thinking on it, we never saw a receipt from a PRO.
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  24. #39
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    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Let's assume you will be playing full set of your perfectly (hard to do in reality but certainly possible) original songs or your own arrangements of PD songs... they make you to pay fees that should cover nonexistent copyright for the songs. Isn't that against law or constitution? Something like presumption of innocence... Sounds like cops can fine you for speeding just because your car is CAPABLE of going that fast.
    Let's run with your analogy. If speeding was treated like copyright infringement at venues, it would be the owners of the roads who would be fined - not the speeders. And the owner of the road has a choice to buy a license that permits drivers to travel at any speed without fear of fine, or forego the license and rely on the good citizenship of the drivers to stay within the speed limit. (As you say, "hard to do in reality but certainly possible.") The licensed road owner is not being fined because cars are capable of going faster than the speed limit. The owner is paying for a license because it is pretty much a certainty that despite all best intentions, some cars will exceed the speed limit. I mean, you can bring an original set to the venue, but some drunk is going to holler out for "Wagon Wheel."
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