Broadcasting Legality Questions

Jason Pratt

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Apr 22, 2018
Location
Waterford, MI
Does anyone know the legality surrounding broadcasting school choral/band/orchestra concerts?

My school district has a public access channel for district specific events, and I am attempting to find out how to get approval (and from whom) to put the various concerts on this channel. I have heard from others in the past that the companies don't bother with high schools, but that answer isn't really sufficient for me or my district. Before we move our discussion along, I want to find out how to be 100% legal; as an artist myself, I also have a strong desire to ensure royalties and compensation are made appropriately.

If you have any information, please send it my way!
 
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chausman

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You'll have to contact whoever the music is bought from, and see what they allow. More than likely, they'll all say no. Some may allow you to buy rights to broadcast it however.
 
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Ancient Engineer

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There are three basic kinds of rights (at least here in the USA).

Performance - the right to perform the piece in public.

Mechanical - the right to perform the piece to a physical deliverable (CD, DVD, cassette, etc.).

Synchronization - the right to perform the piece on a broadcast medium (radio, television, distributed access, etc.)

Performance rights are usually clearanced via a company like A.S.C.A.P., B.M.I., S.E.S.A.C., etc.)

Mechanical and Synchronization rights are usually paid directly to the copyright holder (probably a publisher).


I wish you luck. I do this every day and it is a major PITA.
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
There are three basic kinds of rights (at least here in the USA).
[ ... ]
Synchronization - the right to perform the piece on a broadcast medium (radio, television, distributed access, etc.)

Mechanical and Synchronization rights are usually paid directly to the copyright holder (probably a publisher).
Not quite.

Sync rights are, rather specifically, the right to perform a musical composition *in synchronization with video*. Broadcasting per se is covered by performance rights, unless it's television.

None of this matters if the source material is out of copyright, like *nearly* all classical compositions, the only copyright that would inhere is in the performance itself, and the musical group owns that.
 

Ancient Engineer

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Jay, you are 100% right.

I got busted once because the dramatic actor on screen *happened* to be walking in rhythm with the track... "Synchronized" on my performance license. No fines because I changed the speed of the video slightly to have him walk without rhythm... Ahh the power of old-school analog MII video.

Wow, I am old.
 

MRW Lights

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It depends... but your better bet might be to webstream. Today, most performance agreements allow live streaming of a performance, but it cannot be available for replay/download. Ironically I work in a broadcast department for an education institution and that's an easier route for us to go even though we own a broadcast station 😂
 

Jason Pratt

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Waterford, MI
It depends... but your better bet might be to webstream. Today, most performance agreements allow live streaming of a performance, but it cannot be available for replay/download. Ironically I work in a broadcast department for an education institution and that's an easier route for us to go even though we own a broadcast station 😂
Ah, this is interesting to me. Would I reach out to the companies that the specific teachers purchased their music from to inquire about this possibility or is there another agency I should reach out to?
 
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MRW Lights

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Ah, this is interesting to me. Would I reach out to the companies that the specific teachers purchased their music from to inquire about this possibility or is there another agency I should reach out to?
It depends :lol: I would start with reviewing what agreements are already in place and determine if they allow for streaming, or prohibit digital transmission. After that, if it's not already there, you could see if the licensing agency would allow an addendum. Ultimately, you'll be dealing with whomever owns the copyright of the material and the performance rights.

Music can get a little complicated in that publishing, printing, performing and recording/broadcast can in theory all be handled by different agencies.

Start with the agreement you have and likely they can help put you in the direction of any other agencies related to the material.

And to the point earlier of these agencies not going after schools...they can, they do and they will. Recently experienced by this school's fundraiser embattled with the Mouse.... never square off against the mouse.
 

TimMc

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The primary rights agencies are BMI, ASCAP, and to a smaller extent, SESAC. Contact them to find out what licensing is available to schools. IIRC there is another group that focuses on public performance in Houses of Worship (and the various streaming/recorded ministries they use). Public performance rights generally do not extend to recording, synchronization, or off-premises delivery (streaming) of a public performance.

Any *broadcast* of a copyright work outside of regular radio transmission (radio has set rates for broadcast use) requires "clearance". Watch the credits on the singing competition shows, or a documentary (like Ken Burn's excellent "Country Music") and see how many people are involved in negotiating clearances.

The agencies that represent the composers of music, the authors of the words, and publishers of the resulting "work" do not care if a non-compliant presenter or performance is a non-profit, school, neighborhood tavern or restaurant. Their job is to represent the interests of rights holders and collect as much as is legally permitted for the use of those works.
 

spiwak2005

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None of this matters if the source material is out of copyright, like *nearly* all classical compositions, the only copyright that would inhere is in the performance itself, and the musical group owns that.
The original source material may be out of copyright but I would suspect the "arrangements" that school groups play may still be under copyright by the arranger/publisher.
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
The agencies that represent the composers of music, the authors of the words, and publishers of the resulting "work" do not care if a non-compliant presenter or performance is a non-profit, school, neighborhood tavern or restaurant. Their job is to represent the interests of rights holders and collect as much as is legally permitted for the use of those works.
Just one of the many reasons why, given the explicit purpose of copyright noted in the constitution, I assert that we should go back to 14 years, and you can extend it indefinitely for 14 years each time on payment of a nominal fee, say $100.

Copyright, like Mickey Mouse, was not intended to live forever; it does not do its job that way.
 

sk8rsdad

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With the consolidation of most of the major publishing houses under the "Concord Theatricals" banner the royalties on plays for community theatres are 5 times what they were a couple of years ago and 5 times what the few remaining competitors charge. There's no way a classic play from the 30's should cost as much as a first run broadway musical. I foresee a great number of theatre companies being forced to jack up ticket prices or close. Here's hoping the few independent publishers can stay solvent. I know which catalogs we're choosing from first.
 

urban79

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So, unlike theatrical productions, the license for music performance is generally inherent in purchasing said music... which also means there isn't a lot of detail there. Reaching out to a college or university might be your best bet as many are already doing this...
 

TimMc

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So, unlike theatrical productions, the license for music performance is generally inherent in purchasing said music... which also means there isn't a lot of detail there. Reaching out to a college or university might be your best bet as many are already doing this...
Not necessarily. 50 years ago it was presumed that if a school purchased 50 copies of an SATB arrangement that it would likely be performed for a choir concert or school assembly and none of the rights organizations were specifically going after schools. It turned out that even schools needed to pay for a "compulsory license" to perform or play copyright music outside of a classroom setting (choir concert, pep band playing at a game, etc) unless the purchase of, or renting of the scores specifically convey those rights (and that's a rare thing). When you purchase a score or sheet music, you gain the right of personal performance - to play and sing the song or work for your own amusement and for your family to enjoy in your home. You don't get the right to perform the work on your street corner for any and all to hear. You don't get the right to perform the work for an assembled audience in a hall. Those rights are separate and generally administered by "compulsory license" where the rights agencies calculate how much of their client's music is likely to be performed in your venue, apply some weighting formulas and statistical voodoo and they come up with a bill... but you're then free to perform all the music of that agency's clients for that fixed fee.
 

josh88

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"Concord Theatricals"
Is an absolute mess. I can't come up with a reason other than they absorbed too much too fast, but good luck getting rights to shows from them right now. Its been 6 months to a year now that I've heard left and right about how their customer service is non existent, nobody can get people on the phone, people have lost out on rights because theres nobody to get in contact with and they've basically ground to a halt. If it's a result of the acquisitions, they not only put the wrong foot forward, its like they gave their shoes to a 3 year old and said good luck, and bailed.
 

Greg Huffman

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Definitely not my area of expertise but leads me to some questions I’ve always wondered about and please tell me if I need to post it somewhere else or just ignore. They relate to dance competitions and recitals (both my daughters danced in that world). Specifically the music that’s simply pulled and cut, sometimes remixed slightly, to put into the 2-3 minute format used in the dance. It’s often recorded and later sold to parents and often live-streamed as well. YouTube is full of videos that the choreographer s are making money from. Legally speaking who’s responsible? The choreographer? Dancer? Dance school? Venue? Also does YouTube enforce
 

Ancient Engineer

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If the rights police decide to enforce... that would be everyone in that chain being liable. The dancer proper, if not involved with the music sourcing, is plausable to escape unscathed. Always, always ask if the music rights are secured before you engage in this type of buying or participating. If not, you are rolling the dice... Youtube is pretty good with enforcement, if notified.
 
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