- February 2, 2017 at 9:21 pm #11078timinboveyParticipant
Total posts : 719
Just an update.
As many of you know, I operate my station as a business. As such, I do everything possible to make sure everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is legal and on the up and up. This includes music licensing. Note, this applies in the USA only, and I do not stream.
When I first started 3 years ago I contacted BMI, ASCAP and SESAC about music licensing. BMI had a form on their website, check sent, license procured. ASCAP never responded, cashed my checks, answered emails, etc until last year when I finally got a written waiver from them saying a license was not needed for Part 15 radio and I could broadcast their music.
Three years SESAC sent me a waiver, declaring me as educational and experimental and that no license was needed. Seeing as how SESAC has changed ownership since I started I thought it wise to contact them again and be sure a license was still no longer needed.
Reply from SESAC, received today:
“Your email was forwarded to me because I handle broadcast licensing here at SESAC. SESAC does not license Part 15 radio. You can continue broadcasting, and SESAC will not seek a license for your station. Thanks, Nate Williams, Senior Licensing Account Manager, SESAC.”
So, now you know.
TIBFebruary 3, 2017 at 8:53 am #53138ThelegacyGuest
Total posts : 45366
I didn’t think a music license was ever realistically required for flea powered Radio. At least some folks who worried about it can now sleep easier.February 3, 2017 at 10:43 am #53139timinboveyGuest
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If you want to be legal, at least in the USA, you do need a BMI license. BMI has the Part 15 information on their website, with the form, etc.
In the USA all public performances of copyrighted music must be licensed. It’s that simple. But in all likelyhood you’d probably get away with it forever if you don’t license. However, I make my station rather obvious. It’s known throughout the area. I have highway signs, an office, and ads in the newspaper. I sell ads on the air. This is why I do all I can to be open and blatantly legal.
Contrary to the “book” published by another proponent of Part 15, music needs to be licensed if you’re selling ads or not. Copyright is completely 100% NOT dependent on if you’re making money, or charging anyone anything. Although amount of money made will increase the rate you pay for music. There’s a base amount for stations that make nothing, and it goes up based on profits. By his logic however, I could help myself to everything on his website and republish it since I’m not making money from it. Copyright notices on a web site would mean nothing if one could just help themselves to what they want. After all, all music has copyrights, too.
Granted, you’ll probably never get caught. However, if someone decided to shut you down or make trouble for you, be it someone in the neighborhood who doesn’t like your devil music, or a full power who doesn’t like the “competition” or someone who doesn’t like your political position, two ways to “get” you are to complain to the FCC which may get you inspected, or complain that you’re playing unlicensed music.
Small businesses do get caught all the time. Local coffee shop a couple years ago had to shut down their open mic night because they did not have a license for music to be performed in their shop. Luckily they did not get fined or sued. But had to stop having open mic night until they had a license. Even though most of the performers were singing songs they wrote, they had to be covered “in case” someone sang a cover song.
So, yes, “realistically” and 100% truely, if you’re broadcasting music licensed by BMI with the intention of other people hearing it, you’ll need to be licensed. Of course, you could stick to SESAC and ASCAP licensed music, but that will eliminate probably 50% or so of the music out there.
TIBFebruary 3, 2017 at 5:56 pm #53140mram1500Guest
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Copies of the waivers would be appreciated as showing precedent. These could be featured on The ALPB site information section.
Would certainly answer the question which is often asked.February 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm #53141wdcxGuest
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SESAC also told me in writing that if I streamed privatly as a STL which we do for our LPFM, no additional licensing was required.February 3, 2017 at 10:24 pm #53143timinboveyGuest
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I was wondering about this, actually. Both are just emails from officials at ASCAP and SESAC and are part of an exchange between them and me, so I don’t know that it’s proper to share the full emails as they contain personal contact info, etc. My quote from SESAC above is pretty much the entire message. I had several exchanges with ASCAP before the rep had a full grasp of what the heck I was talking about and he finally tracked down a superior who gave the definitive answer and even then I had to ask him to send an email that specifically stated they didn’t license Part 15 and that I was cleared to play their music, which he did.
The ASCAP rep said they would try to add something about Part 15 to their website, but as of this week I haven’t seen anything appear.
TIBFebruary 4, 2017 at 5:03 am #53146RichPowersGuest
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It’s an interesting discussion. There’s no question that Part 15 allows you to broadcast whatever you want, whenever you want, as often as you desire, and that you may utilize it for either personal or business purposes. However, obviously, if you use it for business purposes, then you’re usually going to need some kind of business license to operate as required by other ordinances which have nothing to do with part 15.
For example, you don’t need a license to write stories or articles, but if you decide to publish a public newspaper or magazine for distribution to your community, you will most commonly be required to obtain a business license to do so. And if your magazine should opt to also reprint copyrighted material in your publication, then naturally you are required to pay for the rights to use that material.
No matter how you look at it, the situation with Part 15 is the same.. BUT…
Let say you are writing a club newsletter that you send out weekly or monthly or whatever, no advertisements, no income involved, or maybe request for donations, but basically it is not a business venture.. Well, in such cases it’s unlikely a business license would be required – but what if you reprint copyrighted material in your newsletter? Do you have the right to do that if it’s not a business? No, you still don’t have the legal right to do that, although it’s hardly likely you would ever be cited for infringing on the copyrights when the distribution is so limited.
It’s all a question of if it’s for personal use or if its for public consumption. A business is by it’s very definition intended for public consumption, a business profits by (or at least has the capability) producing a product, and if that product is actually the property of another enity, well, then obviously you need to pay for its use.
It seems to me that most part 15 broadcasters don’t operate their stations as a business, nor do they profit from it, nor do they reach a large audience. So in my personal opinion, it doesn’t seem reasonable they should be required to pay royalties, and evidently as pointed out in this thread, ASCAP and SESCAP doesn’t think so either.
So if they don’t care, who is going to prosecute you for doing so?
All that said, it still appears obvious that it would be prudent for a business orientated part 15 station to pay any required royalties to legally operate – even if it’s just BMI, and to retain the written waivers provided from the others.February 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm #53150mighty1650Guest
Total posts : 45366
Thats always kinda been my take on it as well, make money with the part 15 and you gotta pay.February 4, 2017 at 5:54 pm #53151ArtisanRadioGuest
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Too bad that’s not BMI’s ( or the courts’) take on it.February 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm #53152MorningdjGuest
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Kinda thinking outloud….BMI says that Part 15ers must pay them because of copyright laws. ASCAP and SESAC say Part 15ers don’t have to pay them. I assume all 3 licensing services fall under the same copyright laws, so if ASCAP & SESAC say they are owned nothing, then does BMI have any legal standing to require payment? Just because they (BMI) says they should be paid, does that mean Part 15ers legally have to? It would seem that a legal precedent is set here by 2 out of 3 licensing services saying no money is owned. Why wouldn’t it be like any company, say Burger King, demanding money if Part 15ers play music? (Exaggeration used here for illustrative purposes only) Staying on that same thread, wouldn’t this be like Burger King wanting payment if you cooked your own hamburger on your backyard grill?
What am I missing here?February 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm #53153timinboveyGuest
Total posts : 45366
Whether or not you’re a business, or if you’re making money, or even collecting money and losing, copyright is still in force.
Using articles, cartoons, photos, etc even in a non-profit private club newsletter, or on your personnal website is still using someone elses copyrighted material and you CAN indeed be sued for it. Happens all the time. ALL the time.
SESAC, BMI and ASCAP are all individual corporations and can determine license rates, and who they want to charge, however they like. It’s completely up to them. You can’t ask BMI to freebie the Part 15’s just because the others don’t charge ’em. Well, you can ask, but they certainly don’t have to agree. Not any more than the store has to give you free donuts on Sunday because the other store does so.
I have also worked in photography for decades, which has similar copyright issues. I know a lot of photographers who make a nice little side income by writing to individuals who have private, personal, non business web sites where they’ve “borrowed” a copyrighted image to use on their web site. The copyright owner writes to them, telling them their copyrighted image has been stolen, and please send XX dollars for it’s use. Some pay, some don’t. But you can bet they take down the pilfered copyrighted image. And if they don’t come to an agreement they get the “we’ll be seeing you in court then for copyright infringement” letter. And you’d be amazed at how many COMMERCIAL sites grab images without the rights to use them.
If your intent is that others hear the copyrighted songs, then you own royalties. It’s that simple. Note that BMI’s rate goes UP when you make money. Unfortunately I’m over their beginning price line, so I pay more. But then, I’m also making money, and making enough that I top the lowest bracket, so I pay more than the base rate. That’s the way it goes. If you’re going to try to prove that you’re running a Part 15 station and you have no intention of anyone else hearing it you’ll have a tough time. What would be the point? And you can bet they’ll check your website if you have one, and of course if you’re streaming. Your license to stream does NOT cover your right to broadcast.
If you’re playing BMI music on Part 15, and your intent is that others hear it, you technically owe. Will you get caught if you don’t have your music licensed? Probably not. But it makes you vulnerable. If someone doesn’t like you, they can certainly report you.
I know everyone likes to wish, and believe, that if you’re not making money, not selling ads, not a business, and not commercial that music should be free to use. But why? Do you get free electricity for your station? Does Broadcast Supply give you free equipment? Heck, do they even offer it to you at wholesale? No. Why should song writers give you their songs? Remember, ZERO dollars of BMI, ASCAP or SESAC money goes to performers, labels, record companies or the RIAA. It goes to the people who WROTE the songs. That is the ONLY thing you’re paying for. Unless you’re streaming too, then you have to pay the performers, hence SoundExchange.
The bottom line is you have no right to copyrighted material just because you’re not a business, not making money, are a charity, aren’t registered with your State, or whatever. Whether it’s text in a newspaper, on a web site, or in a magazine. A song on a record, website, tape or whatever, photo, published poem, or anything else that can be copyrighted. Nowhere in copyright law does it state you can help yourself as long as you’re not making money. Nor does it say you can help yourself if it’s just for personal use! Does that mean I can freely copy friend’s CD’s for my own listening and not be violating copyright? No. It specifically means you CAN”T do that. They may never catch you. But if they do, be prepared to pay up. Is it legal to copy a DVD you get from Netflix for your own collection instead of buying it? No. And on down the line.
You can wish it wasn’t that way till the sun comes up but it doesn’t change the current law.
If you’re playing copyrighted music for others to hear you will, as of right now, and for the last 50+ years, need a BMI license. Or simply don’t play BMI music. That IS an option, if you want to go to the trouble to screen all your tunes. It eliminates just over half of most “popular” music.
Not a fan of the law. Just telling it like it is. The “that’s the way I’ve always interpreted it” stuff doesn’t fly in court. The correct interpretationn is that you have to play by the rules for the company in charge of lciensing the use of the music you want to play. In the USA that’s the three PRO’s. They have different rules, different rates, and cover different songs. You have the right to choose whose music you play, and hence who you pay. If you want all the songs available, you need all three.
TIBFebruary 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm #53154timinboveyGuest
Total posts : 45366
Yes, they all fall under the same law. The law which lets the owner of the rights charge whatever they feel like. McDonalds can decide to give free burgers to 12 year olds on Tuesday. Does that mane Burger King must do this also?
If I write a song, I can license it to Taylor Swift myself. I can tell her I want a dollar day for her to perform it. Or Ten Thousand Dollars a day. It’s up to me. And copyright law says I have the right to charge what I want. And if she won’t pay it, she can’t use the song. OR I can license that song to her through, say, ASCAP. And then she pays the rate they’ve determined, a rate I agreed to let them negotiate for me, and they do the paperwork, keep a percentage, and send me a check.
When you license music, you’re licensing from three distinctly different groups, covering different groups of music, different writers, different operations. They all have their own library of songs and rates for their contracted song writers.
Your Burger analogy doesn’t hold up. But you can bet Burger King would stop you if you wer handing out burgers in trademarked Burger King wrappers, without paying the fee to be licensed to sell them under that name. You also wouldn’t be able to sell your burgers, or even give them away, caliming they were Burger King burgers.
If Walmart has TV’s on sale, shouldn’t every store offering that TV have to sell it at that price? No.
BMI is telling you that they charge Part 15 for the rights to use their music. Copyright law gives them the right to do this. Just like it does for BMI, ASCAP or you or I to charge for the rights to use something we created, be it a song, poem, photo, or whatever. I can sell the rights to my photo to a magazine for $100. I can let the kid next door use it on his poster for free if I wish. I can charge a big corporation a million dollars to use it, or I can completely refuse to allow some guy I don’t like to use it at all, no matter what price he offers. The copyright holders set the price. In the case of song writers over the years it’s become easier for these three groups to manage the copyrights for songs. Could you imagine if you had to negotiate a price with evry song writer for each song you wanted to play on the air? That’s why these groups exist. SOrt of a clearing house of songs.
Burger King can’t charge you for music, unless THEY hold the rights to that music, or are contracted by the songwriter to negotiate on their behalf. I bet if you wanted to use the Burger King jingle you’d have to make a deal with them! The PRO’s (performing rights organizations) work out the details with the song writers and publishers, collect, and pay out.
RAdio play is just one small part of the rights the PRO”s take care of. ANY public performance. Songs played on juke boxes. By bands in a bar, sung in high school choir concerts, parades, ANYWHERE that copyrighted music is performed, there’s a license in place for the music. If the 3rd grade class is singing “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” in their spring concert, rights have been paid that allow them to do so. Even if the concert was free, and only 3 people came to listen.
TIBFebruary 4, 2017 at 9:15 pm #53155MorningdjGuest
Total posts : 45366
Good explanation, Tim. You took a lot of time and thought in explaining the issue. You obviously have extensive experience in dealing with music licensing. I understand the logic, but have difficulty understanding the concept.
For example, If I play a song written by John Doe on the air, why shouldn’t I expect Mr. Doe to pay ME for giving him exposure to the public? If I and hundreds of other stations play his song, he will sell more records, CD’s etc., therefore, WE are the ones who should be paid. Same idea for the artists. Radio is the medium the song writers use to have their music exposed. If we didn’t play their songs, they would not get paid at all.
As far as Part 15 is concerned–if I play music on a legal Part 15 FM transmitter that goes 200′ in my apartment building and 3 neighbors hear it, then the law says I have to pay BMI. OK, what if I shut off the transmitter and open the door to my apartment and the same 3 neighbors hear it, do I have to pay BMI? Or if I’m driving a convertible down Main St. and 1 or 2 people hear it, do I owe money to BMI? These scenarios likely seem absurd, but requiring a Part 15er to pay a royalty fee when very possibly no one is listening seems equally absurd.
I took a quick look at the BMI agreement, and several things stood out…the first item is Call Letters and Station name. There are no call letters and no station name. The frequency can be changed dozens of times a day. There are no offices, etc. etc. It looks like a legal document, but only legal if signed by both parties. If the hobbyist doesn’t sign it, there appears to be no legal obligation to abide by it. And, there is no penalty outlined in the agreement. So, if a Part15er actually signed the agreement and violated it, how would BMI enforce it if there is no specified action? There is also a line in the agreement that says: “…with a total input power to the final radio frequency that does not exceed 100 milliwatts…” What does THAT mean? I know of no low power AM transmitter that has a “total input power to the final radio frequency”. Looks totally unenforceable.
Humor me with one more scenario. A musician writes his own music and gets licensed with BMI and then sings only his own music at a restaurant or bar. Would he then have to pay BMI to sing his own songs?
OK, one more–if BMI wants Part 15ers to pay for playing BMI music, shouldn’t they supply the hobbyist with a list of songs licensed by BMI? I checked out several CDs to see which licensing company is used and there is no mention of it all. One, for example, said the music copyright was owned by Capital Records. How would hobbyist know who to pay for those songs? And, at least, a rep should be able to identify what songs played on the air by a Part 15er were licensed with BMI. How likely is it that the reps even know or have a list of their songs? How could they require payment if they don’t even know whether or not there is a ‘violation’? These are all theoretical scenarios and questions, so I am not expecting a line by line answer.
It is easy to see why ASCAP and SESAC have no desire to try and collect fees from hobby broadcasters.
But, Tim, I appreciate your labor on this subject. Very carefully thought out and articulated. I also understand you are only the ‘messenger’, so I am certainly not arguing with you. It’s the concept that I have trouble with.February 5, 2017 at 5:31 am #53158MarkGuest
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There are two music licensing groups here and none require any fees for licensing with microbroadcasting like BETS-1 where there are no operating expenses and it”s not a business but if you stream then you have to pay them but it’s not that expensive. The biggest thing would be keeping a log if they would ask for it.
MarkFebruary 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm #53159timinboveyGuest
Total posts : 45366
In response to your first question — why shouldn’t YOU charge Mr. Doe for the airtime? Because, with few exceptions, Mr. Doe, who has the hit song, didn’t WRITE the song. We are paying the PRO’s to pay the writers, not the performers. In recent years the industry has tried without success to force radio to ALSO pay a license fee to the performer, (we presently only pay the writers). The way it’s been since the beginning of licensing congress has considered the exchange of air time for the right to use the song on the air as a fair trade. The only way the performer is getting any of your PRO money is if they also wrote the songs. Note that streaming, and satellite radio DO pay a seperate license to the performers, and that’s what SoundExchange does. They are the licensing agent for the performers, much like the three PROs are the agent for the writers. Generally a writer earns nothing from airtime. Often a publisher/record company will buy a song outright from a writer. “Here’s $5000 for your song” “OK”. They’re just glad they can pay the rent, and the song goes on to be a million seller and the company and artist make a fortune. This was VERY common in the 50’s through late 60’s.
In the restaurant scenario, the venue is the license holder with the PROs, and covers music performed in their establishment. So when you see a band playing in a bar, a guy singing in a coffee shop, etc. the bar or coffee shop has the license to allow copyrighted music to be played in their place. Hence our local coffee shop that got busted for not having a license and having music in the shop. They quit having music for several months till they finally got licensed. When you go to a parade, the city is licensed for music played at city events. When you go to the arena to figure skate during open skate and they have music playing, the city, or the arena if it’s privately owned, has a license to play music in their venue. And on and on.
The PRO’s used to publish a book with a list of their licensed songs, back in the olden days. The books were several thousand pages long in print that made a phone book look like large print. Every day thousands of songs are written and covered by one of these groups. It would be impossible to keep up. This is why it’s prudent to simply license all three. It used to be that in the USA SESAC had very few songs in the library, so it wasn’t to hard to avoid their songs, but that’s not the case anymore.
You can’t go by the CD itself. One artists CD can have songs licensed by all three groups. Remember, it’s the songwriters who belong to the PROs, and a band or performer can perform songs from any license group, so most albums, CD’s etc have songs by any 1, 2, or all three of the PROs. I just grabbed three random CD’s off the mountain in my office. Charlie Daniels “Fire On The Mountain” album — all songs BMI. Gene Vincents “Greatest Hits” has no listing for any of the PROs, and Ramsey Lewis Trio’s Greatest Hits has 12 BMI songs, 4 ASCAP songs, and 2 songs that are BMI & ASCAP! The dual credit would apply if the song had one or more co-writers that belonged to different groups. e.g. if a song had three writers who collaborated, and 2 blonged to BMI and 1 belonged to ASCAP both agencies would get some $$. And no, you don’t pay double. When the songs are registered the writers must list a percentage of the writing among them, e.g. two writers could go 50/50, or 20/80 or whatever they decide among them, and the payments are divied up accordingly. You can quickly see why with the milliions of songs and writers there has to be organizations that keep this all straight. And one thing you don’t realize behind the scenes — there’s a publishing company involved too. Doesn’t really effect the licensee directly, but a percentage of those payments goes to the publishing company, and this is decided between that company and the writers. Often the writers have their own publishing company so they get 100% of the money. What is paid to the publisher is in the contract between them and the writer(s) so it doesn’t really change anything to the licensee. And also worth noting that they can list ANYONE as a writer, whether or not they had anything to do with it. Maybe the writer owed a favor to a friend, or owed money to his Dad, or whatever, he can list Dad, or a friend, or whomever he wants as, say a 10% or 20% writer on a song. If that song hits, that person gets a chunk of the money. This was pretty common in the 50’s. They would often put DJ’s, record store owners, recording engineers, etc down as writers to give them a piece of the action for helping them out. DJ Alan Freed is a co-writer on an awful lot of great R&B records from the 50’s. Norman Petty is listed as a co-writer on a lot of Buddy Holly records.
If you or your band wants to release a record or CD with cover songs on it, you have to pay the rights for the songs. Most are covered by the Harry Fox Agency, known as HFA. In fact you can go right to their website and license songs. It’s based on how many you plan to print. 500 CD’s. 10,000 CD’s, etc. This gives you the mechanical reproduction rights to release your performance the songs. Even if you’re doing songs and giving away the CD’s free you are still, by law, required to buy the rights. Then, if your performance gets radio play, the song writers get paid for the on air license. You get nothing from the radio play, but hopefully due to that play you sell some albums. But the writer gets nothing for the sales of your album.
The reps do (nowadays) carry a laptop with the library of their agencies songs in it, readily searchable. That’s how they most often catch a bar or coffee shop, etc. They sit in the crowd and listen to the songs. They only have to identify ONE that belongs to their group, and if the place isn’t listed as a licensee they have several options. From telling them they have to get a license, and letting it slide, to filing a lawsuit for lots of money (federal law has specific penalties and fines, as well as amounts for damages in these cases. It can add up to hundreds of thousands). Its’ just like an FCC agent. Some can be a hard ass, and some can give you a little leeway. It is not looked at as a theft case, but rather copyright infringement which is a federal offense. This is how our local coffee shop got put on notice. The rep sat in on Open Mic Night and heard several songs from their group that were not licensed. And the reps make the rounds. Lots of small bars get caught every year. Many have had to shut down ’cause they couldn’t pay the fines. Plenty of horror stories online. Obviously most of these are simply a “you need to get licensed before you play more music” sort of thng and it never makes the news and we never know about it. Jukeboxes also must be licensed. I can’t remember, nowadays, if the venue or the operator has to have the license.
Up until recnetly you had to have a license if you played the RADIO in your store with speakers placed so shoppers could hear. This has changed and there’s some relaxing of the rules that now allows playing the radio, with a certain number of speakers, based on size of the store, etc..
The song writers really have no direct connection sales. They may or may not have a contract with the record company, performer, publisher, etc that allows any royalties based on sales. More recently song writers have become more aware, and are getting better deals, but all those great oldies really screwed the songwriters and about all they got was radio license money. Also the song writer doesn’t get income from touring, sales of merchandise, etc.
As for your open door or loud car radio example, it depends. We had a local farm that has an open house type thing for kids and families at Halloween. They give hayrides, do face painting, have games for the kids, etc. They got busted for playing CD’s outside during their event. It’s music played for the purpose of entertaining the public. If you were regularly parking your car and cranking up the music for the enjoyment of the public and an ASCAP guy drove by, he just might try to tag you. In cases like this it’s partly intent. Are you playing music for the enjoyment of others intentionally? Or is the fact that they are hearing the music incidental? Just like Part 15. Is your intent that others will hear your music being played? If you’re running it like a radio station, and you’re clrealy programming it with the intent that someone else may hear it, you’re on the hook. There are always people that say “well then everyone of those little in car mp3 transmitters better have to buy a license too” the difference is — those might carry to the next car. Is it your intention that the people in the next car listen? Do you have a sign on your door that says “Tune to 101.5 to hear my stereo” Then you have intent to play music for others. A good example of incidental music — I run an online network broadcasting live play by play of roller derby bouts. (Really!) I did NOT have to get a music license, as all the music used (in commercials, for intros, etc..) is music purchased from a music production company that is NOT icensed by one of the PROs so they have no right to collect. I bought the music outright from the company. However, at a ’bout in Minneapolis the team management wanted to be sure we had a music license before we could broadcast, as music is used extensively during a bout (much like any other sports event) and they were concerned that we would be broadcasting some of this music in our broadcasts. No. No license needed. That is incidental music. We are not trying to broadcast it. In fact, it impedes our ability to broadcast somewhat. It is clearly in the background, only for a few seconds here and there, and completely incidental to our broadcast. Another quirk in the world of music licensing. Driving through the neighborhood with music blasting would clearly be incidental. Unless you park to entertain and are soon surrounded by dancers! LOL. Obviously thousands of scenarios can be thought of, and it’s going to come down to the mood of the agent if he happened upon you, which, face it, isn’t too likely.
I don’t know about SESAC but I know that BMI and ASCAP do have agents that travel the USA and bust people for not having licensed music. In todays world they can carry an iPad with their entire song database and a list of licensee’s in it. Stop at a bar or coffee shop, town festival, etc see if they’re in the database, and if not, listen for a bit, hear your songs, and BAM.
And copyright is NEVER based on making money. The RATE you pay can be based on this. e.g. radio pays based on ad rates, billing, coverage area, potential listeners, etc. It varies among the groups and the type of station, etc.
Remember, Federal law defines copyright and the p enalties for infringing. It’s up to the copyright holder to decide what they want to charge, and who they want to charge. In our specific case ASCAP and SESAC have decided not to charge Part 15 operators. BMI has not decided to exempt us. It’s fully within their right to do as they please. If you use copyright materials without authorization you are open to the fines and penalties available through law. Heck, any group can decide to exempt any spefic person, station, or group if they so choose. The law says you need the rights. The rights holder determines the conditions of obtaining those rights. Just like the law says you have to pay for that box of donuts or it’s theft. But the donut shop guy can give you a box if he wants, but that doesn’t mean he has to give a box to the next guy. And every donut shop can charge whatever they want for their donuts. But no matter which donut shop you steal a box of donuts from the theft charges are the same.
If your local drama club, a non-profit, is performing “Mary Poppins” they not only had to get the rights to the play itself, but also the music. This rate will be determined by number of perfommances, seating capacity, and ticket prices. If your hall holds 1200 people, your rate is based on 1200 people, even if you only get 14 people to buy tickets and show up. If admission is free, you still get a rate (lower) based on available seats.
The examples are endless and as you can see it can get very complex! And the same sort of laws apply to anything that can be copyrighted, from a water color painting to a photograph, to a poem to a novel. The rules are different for each.
Anyway, maybe that addresses some of your questions anyway! I hope I explained some of it coherently! I tend to start getting kind of random once I get started!
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