Author Topic: PRODUCING: Preshow Music Copyright  (Read 4580 times)

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Michelle R. Wood

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PRODUCING: Preshow Music Copyright
« on: Dec 03, 2014, 10:07 am »
This topic is one I've thought about for a long time, and I just had a friend consult me for professional advice. A lot of theatres (mostly community, but even some pro) use canned preshow music now. This music has copyright on it: even if the music itself is in the public domain (like Mozart) the performance isn't. Technically, playing a CD mix before a show is a public performance, which would require at least permission if not royalties. But I have never seen anyone give this idea consideration. Goes doubly for people doing Junior versions of shows and using the soundtracks as preshow (Disney, MTI, etc).

Wanted to know what other people think, and if anyone's ever heard of someone facing an issue with using this kind of music for preshow.

Edit to add topic tag- Maribeth
« Last Edit: Dec 05, 2014, 02:56 pm by Maribeth »
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Mac Calder

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Re: Preshow Music Copyright
« Reply #1 on: Dec 03, 2014, 11:42 am »
I don't know about the US, but in Australia many/most venues will have APRA (Australian Performing Rights Association) licenses of some description to cover background music... However it is a legal quagmire and the APRA guys will tell you that if they really want to they will find some way to prove you are not legal in some aspect. Generally when I have spoken to them, their opinion is as long as you are not taking the mickey and are licensing the majority, they don't get tetchy about the minority - for example if you are paying for the grand rights for a production and your foyer area is licensed for the background music, they ignore the fact that the auditorium may not be licensed.

Gina

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Re: Preshow Music Copyright
« Reply #2 on: Dec 03, 2014, 12:19 pm »
An Arts Organization can purchase small rights through an ASCAP License which is the legal way to go about it. There are different kinds of rights you can purchase. "Small Right" are things like pre show music. "Grand Rights" or "Dramatic Rights" are if you had someone performing with it. Here's from the ASCAP website:


"ASCAP gives you a license to entertain your customers, guests and employees with the world's largest musical repertory. One of the greatest advantages of the ASCAP license is that it gives you the right to perform ANY or ALL of the millions of the musical works in our repertory. Whether your music is live, broadcast, transmitted or played via CD's or videos, your ASCAP license covers your performances. And with one license fee, ASCAP saves you the time, expense, and burden of contacting thousands of copyright owners.[/size][size=78%]"  [/size][/size][size=78%]http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.aspx#general[/size]

BayAreaSM

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Re: Preshow Music Copyright
« Reply #3 on: Dec 05, 2014, 03:29 am »
At the ballet we use ASCAP quite often when using recorded music.

I do remember a theatrical PM telling me once that you could pay a fee to a label and use any artist in their roster. He may have been referring to ASCAP, but this is fairly common, and professional theaters tend to be aware of this.

With that in mind, I have come across smaller ballet companies, while professional, choose to ignore music rights. Their runs are short, and basically they perform to recorded music and do it until they get a cease and desist letter - should the artist or label find out. Not the best method, but it's not uncommon.

Tigerrr

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Re: PRODUCING: Preshow Music Copyright
« Reply #4 on: Dec 12, 2014, 03:13 pm »
Here in Canada, there are two organizations you have to go through. SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and CMRRA (Canadian Music Recording Rights Association). If you are playing music in the lobby, in the auditorium when the audience enters/exits, or during intermission, you need to pay SOCAN. It's a moderate fee, depending on ticket revenue. You're looking at either Tariff 11a or 11b. SOCAN DOES NOT APPLY IF YOU ARE USING RECORDED MUSIC DURING THE PERFORMANCE. (Source: SOCAN rep during the CITT conference this summer.) When using parts of songs during a performance, you're dealing with the CMRRA. In that case, it becomes a recording issue and not a playback issue. By this, I mean CMRRA fees apply to the number of copies of the songs you make beyond 2 copies.

More simply put: if you are using full songs as background, you need to pay SOCAN. If you are using parts of songs that are not background, but an element of the production, you deal with CMRRA.

workinhard853

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Re: PRODUCING: Preshow Music Copyright
« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2015, 02:36 pm »
I have always wondered about this and now it's becoming more prominent because I have a director who wants to play popular modern music, for instance Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, in the preshow. I am not comfortable doing this without having permission but I don't know how to get permission or bring this up to the director.