Re: SCOUTS-L Digest - 23 Aug 1996 to 24 Aug 1996
Jim Smith UT (jsmith@SAREK.OSMRE.GOV)
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 14:00:14 -0600
>From several contributors:
> ... However, for non-profit organizations, the ASCAP yearly license
> is only $25 per location - hardly a hugh sum compared to other camp costs.
> A spokesman for ASCAP reiterated that they were not trying to quash
> anyone's camp singing, but they were trying to protect the artists rights -
> which is what they are supposed to do.
> ... Basicallly, anyone who collects money for a
> service (as camps do) and provides music as part of their program (ditto)
> is legally obligated to pay a royalty to the copyright holder. ASCAP
> acts as the clearing house for these copyrights. They have a list
> available which is 77,000 pages long and contains approximately 4
> million songs.
> ... One paper reported on a girl scout camp where the girls were learning
> the new dance craze, the "Macarena." Because they couldn't afford the
> fees, the girls were learning the dance in silence, no words, no music.
If the use of the music was part of the planned program, the fees were due.
> ... I heard about this on the news the other night, but the details were a
> little fuzzy. I was under the impression that the limitations on public
> performance only applied when the performance was for-profit. Is this
> not the case?
If any individual or group, such as Scouts, sponaneously breaks into
"God Bless America", "Macarena", or "Happy Birthday" the ASCAP limitations
If the BSA os GSA camp or any group prints the words on a sheet or in a camp
book or uses the music as part of the planned program, the ASCAP royalties are
clearly due the writer. The unclear area
as I understand it is if a BSA or GSA leader initiates the "spontaneous"
singing without any written supporting material. I am not a lawyer, but my
understanding is that if the leader or program
is using music purchased through a legitimate source, that is one that
complied with ASCAP policies and requirements before publishing, there
should be no problem because permission for personal, casual, or
non-profit performance is usually
included with the purchase (check the copywrite statement to be sure.
Check a hymn book; you will probably find a mixture of public
domain and copywrited songs. The latter should be accompanied by
copywrite releases and\or conditions for use and performance).
> If this has changed, I see all sorts of absurdities which would follow:
> school bands cannot play any music from ASCAP at their concerts without
> paying a fee
Again, as I - a non-lawyer - understand it they DO pay a fee, included in
the purchase price of the music. If they
are performing music they have not purchased, i. e., photocopied music
sheets, they are not only stealing from the writer/composer but from the
publisher who has contracted to distribute the music.
> Perhaps this could be taken a step farther and ban all readings from
> copyritten materials in public as well -- so much for reading
> Shakespeare's plays aloud in English class or having poetry sessions.
Don't compare apples and oranges. Shakespeare's works and many others are
public domain. (However, a newly published book containing public domain
works such as Shakespeare's can itself be copywrite protected).
> ... They talked with a local storeowner who got accused
> (had songs playing over the PA system, I believe) and fought them in
> court. After two years of litigation, he had to settle out-of-court
> because the fight became too expensive and time-consuming (it's a small
Small or large, he was in the wrong.
> First, you can use the Boy Scout songbooks -- performance rights for these
> songs have been obtained, we should assume. You can perform any of these
> songs without paying additional royalties.
James D. SMITH
Utah Div. of Oil, Gas, and Mining
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City