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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:19 PM

Music licensing agency putting squeeze on local governments for fees

So apparently this music licensing agency ASCAP has decided that counties have had a free ride long enough. Why should they get to use music without paying their fair share. I mean, those public town events are just raking in the dough for struggling towns.... Live or recorded music, ASCAP wants their cut.

According to our local Batavian newspaper (online is where I see it)
The music industry has apparently found a new source of revenue: taxpayers.
ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is, according to County Attorney Chuck Zambito, asking local governments to sign a licensing agreement for public performances of music and pay an annual fee for the privilege.
The fee varies based on population.


So according to this article, a lot of counties are dealing with this and most are just paying it to avoid any problems. This is just one group.... It doesn't include BMI or other separate groups. And I can see if one gets away with it the others will do it too. $637 is what is stated for my county, but there is extra costs for additional use of material on county property.

The license agreement also requires regular reporting of any events on county property -- such as the Holland Land Office Museum or the nursing home -- where music is played along with a copy of any program that goes with the event. If a band or DJ performs, the county must disclose the performer, provide contact information, and disclose whether the performer is licensed by ASCAP to perform ASCAP-licensed music.


According to Zambito, local governments that have refused to sign the agreement have already received visits from ASCAP auditors.
The penalty, according to a brochure published by ASCAP, for performing copyrighted music without permission is from $750 to $30,000 per song.
According to the brochure, a public performance of music is:
The Copyright Law defines a public performance as one “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gath- ered.”


Now, it may be their right to do this... but that doesn't mean it's not thuggish and assholish. Does this include schools? Our local school has concerts with band and chorus that sing a lot of current music They gonna drop the hammer on them too?

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Reply Music licensing agency putting squeeze on local governments for fees (Original post)
ejpoeta Aug 2012 OP
MADem Aug 2012 #1
TomClash Aug 2012 #2
ejpoeta Aug 2012 #3
Tanuki Aug 2012 #4
ejpoeta Aug 2012 #5
Tanuki Aug 2012 #7
spanone Aug 2012 #10
HooptieWagon Aug 2012 #9
Downwinder Aug 2012 #6
nc4bo Aug 2012 #8

Response to ejpoeta (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:22 PM

1. Time to go back to Sousa and ragtime, I guess.

Maybe a boycott of some of this shitty music is in order....?

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Response to ejpoeta (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:29 PM

2. I am surprised

It is never good to piss off a taxing authority, is it?

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Response to TomClash (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:52 PM

3. Most of them seem to be agreeing to sign.

My county did apparently.

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Response to ejpoeta (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:52 PM

4. ASCAP is making sure that the municipalities are in compliance with copyright law

ASCAP collects these fees on behalf of the composers and lyricists who created the intellectual property and distributes it as the royalties to which these workers are legally entitled. I am not sure why you consider this to be "getting away with" something.

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:58 PM

5. I was referring to the towns

And who else is going to go in demanding not only so much a year but to keep track of every song and played by whom. I find it ridiculous.

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Response to ejpoeta (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:13 PM

7. You probably wouldn't find it ridiculous if you made your living as a songwriter.

Since different songs are written by different people, and some songwriters are represented by BMI or SESAC instead of ASCAP, keeping track of what material is being used is important, so they can know who is entitled to the royalties. Nobody is forcing the town to play the music, but if they choose to do so, they have to comply with copyright laws. It is very easy to take songs for granted. For those who are not familiar with that ASCAP actually is and what it does, here is some info from their website:

<<<"ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. ASCAP's licensees encompass all who want to perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of music.

Who Is ASCAP?

ASCAP is its members — creative people who write the music and lyrics that enrich lives in every corner of the world.

ASCAP is home to the greatest names in American music, past and present — from Duke Ellington to Dave Matthews, from George Gershwin to Stevie Wonder, from Leonard Bernstein to Beyoncé, from Marc Anthony to Alan Jackson, from Henry Mancini to Howard Shore — as well as many thousands of writers in the earlier stages of their careers.

ASCAP represents every kind of music. ASCAP's repertory includes pop, rock, alternative, country, R&B, rap, hip-hop, Latin, film and television music, folk, roots and blues, jazz, gospel, Christian, new age, theater and cabaret, dance, electronic, symphonic, concert, as well as many others — the entire musical spectrum.

ASCAP members are individuals who make their living writing music. As a society of composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers, we know very well that there are many steps between creation and compensation; months, if not years, can pass between the creation of a song, its recording, its release, its performance, and the day when the revenues due to the writer actually arrive. A music creator is like a small business, and ASCAP exists to ensure that music creators are paid promptly when their works are performed publicly. Some of the many other ways in which ASCAP can help writers include workshops, showcases, our website and publications, and an exclusive, tailor-made benefits package that includes health and instrument insurance, a credit union, discounts on musical accessories, travel and much more. ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.">>>

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:37 PM

10. yep!

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:28 PM

9. Wrong! ASCAP is the dicks who sued the Girl Scouts!

You should really read up on them. They are an extortion racket that makes the Mafia look like pikers. They only distribute royalties to composers/artists who have been played on commercial radio, TV , and movies. They do not sample college radio, community radio, internet radio, or live performances for royalty purposes (although they charge them liscensing fees).
And they are even much more nefarious than that... I could go on for pages. I am very involved with the local music scene in Tamp Bay area, bit by bit I've been convincing local songwriters to register with US Copyright Office. It's much cheaper, they have lawyers that will help protect musicians from ASCAP's legion of sharks. They don't collect royalties, but neither will ASCAP if you don't have a hit record. ASCAP is pure scum!

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Response to ejpoeta (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:02 PM

6. Going to have to have a license to whistle.

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Response to ejpoeta (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:20 PM

8. hAhA - how could anybody think they'd stop with just us little people?

Interesting to watch.

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