Re: ASCAP and Singing Songs
Cheryl Singhal (csinghal@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sun, 25 Aug 1996 10:38:14 -0400
Sorry, guys, this is another of my HOT buttons, especially this month,
after many and varied discussions on whether the fact that something is
out of print constitutes the Public Domain, on whether one can ethically
copy an entire book published last month, and whether material on the
internet (such as scientific papers, history thesis etc) are ever
On Fri, 23 Aug 1996, Pete McMullen wrote:
> Unfortunately what you heard is true. ASCAP (the American Society of
> Composers, Authors and Publishers) can enforce this rule. Generally
It is NOT a "rule." It is a LAW: use of copyrighted material requires
payment of fee or express written permission waiving the fee. This is
true whether you are the President of the United States, an Eagle Scout,
the Governor of Minnesota, a Brownie, or John Q. Public. You CANNOT use
something that belongs to someone else without their permission.
ASCAP is the designated agent for many composers, lyricists and music
publishers to make the life of the user easier. It is much easier to
write to ASCAP asking permission to use "Fifty-Nifty-United States" as a
production number in a non-for-profit Scout Show on the Mall, than it is
to track down the owner of the copyright and ask their permission.
While it is true that for many years, organizations, such as the PTA and
Scouts, have enjoyed the benefit of ASCAP's policy of not enforcing
royalty fees on "informal, unpaid, group performances", such
non-enforcement can hardly be regarded as a right.
If your local high school's Senior Play must pay royalties (and I assure
you, they DO), I see no reason why Camp Wicki-Wachi, or any of the
Scouting camps should not be required to.
> anytime a sonc is performed in public they CAN demand such a fee.
> Recently they have been going after small restaurants and bars, I was
Because when that small restaurant or bar simply turns on WWDC or KOKO as
their "entertainment" it multiples the audience for which the STATION
paid user-fees/royalties. Since many royalties are based on audience ...
> suprised to see them go after ths couts. I heard on the radio this
> morning that they had reacted to bad publicity and were going to have a
> meeting with GSUSA on monday. I would suggest it would be in our
> interest to write or call ASCAP and keep the pressure on. The irony here
> is that one of the songs in question, "God Bless America", the composer,
> Irving Berlin donated ALL his royalties to Scouting in New York. When
If no one _pays_ the royalty, Scouting in NY receives no benefit of
> will the Greed end.
Greed has NOTHING to do with abiding by the law. I happen to own several
copyrights (which so far haven't produced 1 red cent royalty).
A friend happily grants free permission for others to use
his copyrighted material, with attribution, but has sued several others
who used it without asking his permission -- and he has own every time.
According to the Washington POST's Saturday edition, it is the American
Camping Association who is being sued, AFTER they ignored last year's
warning that they should pay a $400/yr flat fee royalty. This does not
sound like a sum that will impoverish any large group (ACA, BSA, or GSUA).
A Scout is Honest. A Scout is Trustworthy.
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City