- April 8, 2019 at 3:46 pm #110828KeithParticipant
Total posts : 24
I called each of the 4 US organizations personally. I have found that the extra hassle of going through phone menus to get to a human has a bigger payoff than e-mail or other communications.
I guess I should’ve mentioned this in my earlier post, but each PRO has a license fee for terrestrial and streaming… so 2 fees for each company.
Again, SESAC has never answered me; not the messages I left, nor the e-mails I sent.
When I called BMI, the gentleman I spoke to said that they (BMI) was asked by the Part15 community for a plan specific to that type of radio. I don’t recall off hand how much it was, but it was as ‘cheap’ (or a hair more expensive) than a non-profit license. But the terrestrial and the streaming combined were about $400/yr.
ASCAP told me over the telephone they don’t have any Part15 specific anything. To them it’s commercial radio. Oddly enough though, for their purposes, they don’t care at all about terrestrial. Guy told me to jam all I want. But streaming, as we know, was a different matter and I am pretty sure it was $261/yr.
SoundExchange says their system works like a prepaid credit card: you pay them upfront $500/yr. And then based on your listeners or listening hours (I don’t believe station income is involved at all), they debit that $500 every month. If you go over, they send you a bill. You re-up every year.
So, not including SESAC it’s roughly $1200 a year. Add your streaming service, roughly $100/mo. Not cheap, but not bad I reckon. SESAC is probably much more pricey as they are a for profit company.April 9, 2019 at 8:45 am #110842AMRadiolegendParticipant
Total posts : 334
Possible streaming solution HERE. We use them for our LPFM. You can stream live as well as upload other files as backup or when your station is off the air. Legal coverage in the States, Canada and UK.April 9, 2019 at 9:07 am #110843ArtisanRadioParticipant
Total posts : 526
To make things even more complicated, each country has different copyright laws. If you are located entirely in one country (corporately or individually), and stream from a server in that country, then only that country’s laws apply to you. So you can’t, as an example, live in the U.S. and then stream from a server in Canada using Canada’s laws – the copyright police will go after you in the U.S.
It is entirely possible to stream and broadcast over the air using public domain music in Canada. You won’t be able to use the latest hits, but then, why would you want to if you’re trying to be different than those licensed stations that everyone slams?
Virtually all classical music recorded and released in 1964 and earlier is in the public domain in Canada (both performances and obviously the music). A great deal of vintage jazz (recording and released in 1964 and earlier) is in the public domain as well, although it takes some research to determine whether the music itself is (copyright exists for 50 years past the death of the last person involved in its creation – there are databases that one can check, although I also do further checking, as sometimes the results are suspect).
There are a smattering of oldies recorded in 1964 or prior that are in the public domain, but for me it’s just too much hassle to do the research on the life of the composers, and there are too many variables. In a lot of cases, musicians have gone to court to get back the rights to music, as the business practices of promoters and record labels in that era was dubious at best (fraudulently taking credit for song compositions).
When I operated a Part 15 station in Canada as a business, and took sponsorship money, I was informed by SOCAN to license myself as a non commercial radio station (which also gave me the right to stream). So while SOCAN and the other licensing bodies here may not care about over the air BETS broadcasters who don’t have income, they may care if you stream, or even if you are operating as a business.April 9, 2019 at 9:49 am #110844MarkModerator
Total posts : 608
Keith’s breakdown of the costs is good to know. $100 a month just for the streaming provider and $1200+ an unknown amount. VERY expensive and reaffirms my position with streaming. Canada is not near as bad(expensive) but there’s the cost of the provider also.
I will stick to over the air radio.
It must be very time consuming and painstaking work to go through individual songs to find out if they are in the public domain. I wouldn’t even know where to start.April 9, 2019 at 8:39 pm #110845ArtisanRadioParticipant
Total posts : 526
It’s actually not too bad for classical music, as most composers are long dead (well past the 50 years mandated in the copyright laws), and so you don’t have to worry about the music itself. Canada changed the performance copyright laws in 2015 to extend them to 75 years after release, but anything in the public domain already wasn’t affected. Prior to that, performance copyrights lasted 50 years, so anything recorded in 1964 and earlier is in the public domain.
The TPP was supposed to extend music copyrights to 75 years past the death of the last composer, and that change was mostly at the insistence of the U.S. The U.S. (i.e., Trump) then pulled out of the agreement, and I don’t believe the modified agreement, signed by the 13 remaining countries in 2018 (including Canada), did anything with copyrights. I haven’t seen anything at any rate.
You’re right, though, that it’s extremely tedious to determine whether more modern music is in the public domain. Performances, particularly those released on record (or CD, or whatever), are easy. SOCAN has a publicly available database that is somewhat accurate, but I’ve found numerous errors (i.e., songs NOT in the database that were composed by individuals who were still alive and breathing past 1964). I’ve also found songs that were listed as copyrighted when all the composers had passed away prior to 1964, and according to the laws, should be in the public domain. To be safe, I passed on those, as there could have been litigation to put the songs back under copyright. Finally, there are a lot of songs that just aren’t in the database, period, regardless of copyright status, mostly European.
So my process for jazz was to look the song up in the SOCAN database. If found, then stop. If not found, then research all known composers to ensure that none survived past 1964 (sounds somewhat ghoulish, I admit, but it’s necessary).
It takes a lot of time, and that’s why I’ve moved on to a classical (supplemented by Old Time Radio) format.April 10, 2019 at 3:55 am #110848timinboveyParticipant
Total posts : 710
LOL, it was about time for a nice long music licensing thread to pop up again!
When I first started my station 5 years ago, and doing everything humanly possible to make sure I was clearly technically and legally blatantly legal, I contacted all the music rights outfits, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. By all methods available. Phone, Email, letter. BMI was the easiest, as they have a Part 15 form/contract on their website. Fill out, enclose a check, you’re done. The current license fee for year with BMI is $265. This covers TERRESTRIAL broadcasting. The also offer an internet rider that allows you to STREAM BMI licensed music for one year for an additional $153. Note this streaming rider does NOT cover Sound Exchange fees, only the BMI fees — two different things. These forms are at:
Of course many (most I’ll bet) scoff at paying any music license and don’t bother. And yes, you pay even if you make no money. If you make over the limit (I believe it’s over $16,000 yearly) you pay a higher rate. My station pays a higher rate.
My conversations with SESAC resulted in me being declared both “experimental” and “educational” and I was told no licensing fee was necessary, They confirmed this by letter.
After several email exchanges and phone conversations with ASCAP they told me no license was needed for Part 15 and this was also confirmed in writing.
I keep these letters and BMI license contract in the station files.
SoundExchange ONLY applies to streaming licenses.
Note that ALL the PRO’s (performing rights organizations) require an ADDITIONAL license if you are streaming, in ADDITION to Sound Exchange. So if you buy the BMI website rider for $153 that covers the use of the SONGS but not the performance, you STILL must pay Sound Exchange for the PERFORMANCE.
So the breakdown:
For over the air use ONLY you pay BMI, and ASCAP and SESAC are freebies. Over the air use only pays the song writers.
If you STREAM you must also have an additional license from BMI, ASCAP and SESAC for streaming rights to the songs (and yes. all three will want money for this) AND you must ALSO pay Sound Exchange for the rights to the PERFORMANCE of the song (the actual recording). Do not be mislead into believing the BMI web rider allows you to stream BMI songs — it gives you the rights to the songs but not the performance of those songs, which is collected by Sound Exchange.
Remember the “oldies” clause about the pre-1972 songs ONLY applies to the PERFORMANCE of the songs — you might get away with not paying Sound Exchange for playing oldies (still legal questions there) but you will certainly have to pay the PRO’s for the rights to the songs themselves, unless the songs go back to before 1922.
Remember, the Sound Exchange costs are based on your number of listeners and total time you were listened to. So there is no flat rate. You have to provide them with an accurate accounting of every song played, how many people listened, and for how long they listened. This is a big part of why signing up for a stream service like StreamLicensing or Live 365 is popular — they keep track of all this data and report it for you. You pay one company for everything, and they do the data collection.
I can’t remember specifically, but I looked at Live 365 and there was one reason that made them completely unsuitable for my station. I can’t remember what, but there was an immediate deal-breaker. StreamLicensing was a possibility however. But at this time I still have no intention to start streaming. Never have.
So, there’s the USA quagmire.
TIBApril 10, 2019 at 7:08 am #110852MarkModerator
Total posts : 608
TIB’s summary is (in the USA), a little easier to do as only BMI ($265 a year) is needed for over the air only part 15.
That is affordable but I don’t know what is required in the way of keeping a log of what is played for BMI. Do they just require a log sometimes, all the time? With me that would be the biggest hurdle.April 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm #110853timinboveyParticipant
Total posts : 710
BMI’s logging requirements are spelled out in the agreement:
“8. Upon reasonable notice, Part 15 Radio Broadcaster agrees to furnish BMI lists and certain required information concerning its performances of all musical works on forms provided by BMI. Such lists need not be furnished for more than one (1) week of each year of the term.”
Basically, once a year (at most) you’ll receive an envelope with a tablet of logging forms to write down music played over the period of one week. Also acceptable in modern times is a computer printout of songs played during the dates specified. You’ll receive this and be notified well in advance of the time period they would like you to log. Broadcast radio has been doing these for decades. Of course, now automated stations and stations where all the music is accessed off hard drive even when live, can simply submit a computer list. Easy Peasy.
TIBApril 11, 2019 at 4:40 am #110859
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