We have paid song Royalties at Camp Thunder,
Ed Henderson (BigEdBSA@AOL.COM)
Sun, 25 Aug 1996 02:55:54 -0400
As the Chaplain at Thunder Scout Reservation in the Flint RIver Council I am
always looking for good songs to use at our Vesper service. One is a swahili
song called Yumyong Semose which is a kind of an international song I first
heard at my Lutheran Church on world mission day sung by the youth.
When I asked my pastor for the words she told me that if we wanted to do the
song at camp and make copies we would need to write and pay a royalty fee.
Fine, I did, it cost $5, and we used the song on about half of the weeks at
I thought we were being responsible in going to all of the trouble, but I
also admit that we have done dozens, hundreds of other songs that I have
accumulated from a thousands different places (especially AOL and the
Internet). I have about 3 dozen other song books written by camps, Pow Wow
Books, and National Camp Schools. I would bet every one of these sources has
"illegal" copywrited material.
I am sure the videos from the Blockbuster we show on Wednesday Movie Night to
scouts is also a violation. What am I to do? Ban songs from Camp and cancle
movie night (Follow Me Boys, Scout's Honor, and Mr. Scoutmaster were some of
the videos we showed this year).
Look, I am sure we have done more than most camps ever do in paying the
royalty for the one song we used at our vesper service. I had the publishing
source & address - it was the lawful and easy thing to do.
Now what am I to do with the hundreds of songs that float around in my head,
the ones from our last cub pow wow, the ones from BSA Camp School. I have no
idea who wrote them, if they are copywrited, or where to send a payment.
The articles on this incident said that a $400 payment would take care of
this. ARE THEY SERIOUS???? There is no way our camp is going to shell out
those kinds of bucks for that. Who do we send the money to? Will I have to
have a sensor at the next camp songfest to cart away any law breaking patrol
that might choose to belt out a bootleg copy of a song. An I going to hire a
copywright protection staff coordinator to sit in the camp office, trying to
anticipate every song that might be sung at camp, and do endless hours of
research to send checks to obscure publishers.
ASCAP needs to get a grip. Attacking a Girl Scout Camp over a campfire song
may be within their legal limits but it is a foolish gesture which could
backfire in a public relations nightmare. In our increasingly legitious
society I can now invision the BSA Risk Management Section furiously writing
a new chapter in the National Camp School Syllabus for Program Directors on
music liability and Lyracist Protection. Dining Hall songs will soon join
Paintball, Sky Diving, and Auto Racing as unapproved acitivities in the Guide
to Safe Scouting.
Beam me up Scotty!
Business Manager, Thunder Scout Reservation
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City