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Author Topic: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline  (Read 13941 times)

Kevin "DJ Wave" Boreing

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American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« on: March 17, 2011, 06:44:24 am »

If you are an American DJ, pay close attention to the latest White Paper released by the white house regarding a request to clarify the laws on streaming music and making it a felony. According to the wording of the paper, anyone that is a DJ in the U.S. that isn't currently paying full performance royalties would be subject to a felony conviction.

As of now it's considered a performance and not distribution when streaming music without paying full royalties, and as far as I am aware there have been no real prosecutions for this. If the law is clarified to say playing the music becomes distribution instead of performance, it becomes a felony akin to the FBI warning on movies.

Something to keep an eye on for sure, as the increasing performance royalty fee's coupled with a possible felony conviction would drive most of us out of the market place and have a dramatic increase in costs for clients to hire a DJ.

Stay cool out there!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ip_white_paper.pdf
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Daniel Maki

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 05:48:31 pm »

isn't this just about internet streaming?

Chris Carpenter

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 06:20:16 pm »

isn't this just about internet streaming?

Perhaps relevant to internet DJs? Although if that were the case it has little relevance for a sound reinforcement forum.
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Brad Parsons

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 09:24:09 pm »

If you are an American DJ, pay close attention to the latest White Paper released by the white house regarding a request to clarify the laws on streaming music and making it a felony. According to the wording of the paper, anyone that is a DJ in the U.S. that isn't currently paying full performance royalties would be subject to a felony conviction.

As of now it's considered a performance and not distribution when streaming music without paying full royalties, and as far as I am aware there have been no real prosecutions for this. If the law is clarified to say playing the music becomes distribution instead of performance, it becomes a felony akin to the FBI warning on movies.

Something to keep an eye on for sure, as the increasing performance royalty fee's coupled with a possible felony conviction would drive most of us out of the market place and have a dramatic increase in costs for clients to hire a DJ.

Stay cool out there!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ip_white_paper.pdf

It depends on what the DJ is playing. Those royalty schemes are only applicable if playing POP music. If it's underground music or lesser known music, it doesn't apply. There's other ways around it, like not playing music that falls under these silly rules. It would be impossible for them to set up an office to monitor DJs around the world and have a staff of kids to identify every single song played.

The day they attempt to disallow DJs to play the music they bought, is the day the whole royalty scheme system will collapse.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 01:26:24 am »

It depends on what the DJ is playing. Those royalty schemes are only applicable if playing POP music. If it's underground music or lesser known music, it doesn't apply. There's other ways around it, like not playing music that falls under these silly rules. It would be impossible for them to set up an office to monitor DJs around the world and have a staff of kids to identify every single song played.

The day they attempt to disallow DJs to play the music they bought, is the day the whole royalty scheme system will collapse.

Uh... no.  Copyright exists from the moment a "work" is created.  The creation can be sheet music or embodied within a sound recording.  It is up to the creator to register the work with US Trademark & Copyright Office.  Registration is important for the creator so as to assert their rights regarding publication, distribution, public performance and "synchronization" (used in a predominantly visual medium, like TV (even in a commercial) or in a movie soundtrack).

The tussle regarding the difference between broadcast radio and streaming radio is far from over.  The broadcasters have traditionally gotten a much better deal on royalty payments for over-the-air use than streaming was getting.  It was particularly a problem for radio stations (some of them public radio) that streamed their broadcasts.

The "chicken little" approach the OP is taking isn't about stifling anyone's creative freedom, it's about making sure that the creators (and/or their publishers and royalty agencies) are compensated for the use of the creator's copyrighted works.  At question is how much should be paid & under what circumstances, and the penalties for violations of the resulting statutes.

Also note that the OP isn't clear about performance royalties.  In the USA, the royalties for public performance of copyright music is subject to a 'compulsory license' that is the responsibility of the VENUE to pay for.  This does not prevent the venue from adding a pro-rated fee to the tenant that uses the venue, but legally it's up to the venue management to pay for the license.  Streaming audio is considered distribution because it is not being done for the benefit of a proximate (in person) audience.

Buying music does not give you a right to publicly perform that music without the compulsory license.

The sky is not falling, return to the coop.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Randy Pence

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 02:05:52 pm »

It depends on what the DJ is playing. Those royalty schemes are only applicable if playing POP music. If it's underground music or lesser known music, it doesn't apply. There's other ways around it, like not playing music that falls under these silly rules. It would be impossible for them to set up an office to monitor DJs around the world and have a staff of kids to identify every single song played.

The day they attempt to disallow DJs to play the music they bought, is the day the whole royalty scheme system will collapse.

software like shazam is verrrrrrrrry good at identifying what are still considered to be underground dance music songs.
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Brad Weber

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2011, 02:45:52 pm »

Also note that the OP isn't clear about performance royalties.  In the USA, the royalties for public performance of copyright music is subject to a 'compulsory license' that is the responsibility of the VENUE to pay for.  This does not prevent the venue from adding a pro-rated fee to the tenant that uses the venue, but legally it's up to the venue management to pay for the license.
According to my discussions with some of the licensing agencies and experts in copyright law, the way I understand it is that anyone who benefits is potentially liable regarding performance rights, the rightsholders and licensing agencies usually choose to go after the venue because a) the venue typically determines if it was a public performance, b) the venue almost always benefits from the performance and c) dealing with just the venues is easier and more likely to get some action.  Thus it has become accepted practice for the venues to handle the performance licensing, however that does not relieve all parties involved from potential responsibility or necessarily prevent the venue from contractually assigning responsibility to other parties.  And you may not be able to assume that for block parties, etc. someone else has addressed licensing.
 
Weddings and receptions can also be an issue as while there is a church related exclusion in US copyright laws, that exclusion is tied specifically to music performed as part of a religious service.  You might have an argument that music played during a wedding would beexcluded from requiring rights but music at a reception would pretty clearly not be part of a religious service regardless of where the reception takes place.  Many churches do not understand this and assume all events on their property are excluded or else get licensing only for a limited catalog.
 
This also only addresses Performance Rights and not duplication or other aspects for which copyright can also be relevant.  For example, numerous DJ companies have been hit with large fines for copying music files or drives in order to support multiple DJs within the company.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 11:32:35 am »

According to my discussions with some of the licensing agencies and experts in copyright law, the way I understand it is that anyone who benefits is potentially liable regarding performance rights, the rightsholders and licensing agencies usually choose to go after the venue because a) the venue typically determines if it was a public performance, b) the venue almost always benefits from the performance and c) dealing with just the venues is easier and more likely to get some action.  Thus it has become accepted practice for the venues to handle the performance licensing, however that does not relieve all parties involved from potential responsibility or necessarily prevent the venue from contractually assigning responsibility to other parties.  And you may not be able to assume that for block parties, etc. someone else has addressed licensing.
 
Weddings and receptions can also be an issue as while there is a church related exclusion in US copyright laws, that exclusion is tied specifically to music performed as part of a religious service.  You might have an argument that music played during a wedding would beexcluded from requiring rights but music at a reception would pretty clearly not be part of a religious service regardless of where the reception takes place.  Many churches do not understand this and assume all events on their property are excluded or else get licensing only for a limited catalog.
 
This also only addresses Performance Rights and not duplication or other aspects for which copyright can also be relevant.  For example, numerous DJ companies have been hit with large fines for copying music files or drives in order to support multiple DJs within the company.

Hi Brad-

Thanks for adding to this.

The reason the licensing agencies have gone after the venues first is because a lien can be attached to the business and because unlike DJ Joe, the business (venue) isn't likely to be going anywhere.  Tracking down Joe the DJ and fining him probably will result in zero collections, but that doesn't mean he's free of responsibility.

The licensing agencies have taken the same view that product liability cases have:  in the suit or criminal charges, name everyone who made a dime in any way from the alleged violation and let the judge sort it out.

Your comment about the use of music in houses of worship, outside their direct ministry, is spot on.  It happens to public and private schools, too, that rent facilities to the Boy Scouts, PTA "movie nights", etc.  Our school board just purchased a blanket license for motion pictures/video that covers all school board facilities to avoid licensing hassles from non-instructional use of copyrighted movies & video.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Brad Weber

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 09:55:36 am »

Good point Tim, the educational exemption for copyright is also very often misunderstood and much like the religious exemption in that it is related to the use and not the venue.  Copyright law is also fairly restrictive in what may be considered an educational application, e.g. it must involve face-to-face teaching, be directly relevant to an established curriculum, etc.
 
The bottom line is that you seem to have three basic approaches in relation to copyright law; operate in ignorance of the relevant laws (which is not a legal defense should it ever be relevant), operate knowing you are violating the laws and accepting the associated risks or educating yourself and making all efforts to comply with the law.  Which approach you decide to employ is a personal choice, but only one seems to represent a 'professional' approach.
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John Strzalkowski

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Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2011, 12:59:09 pm »

The KIAA is going after 'DJs' who play karaoke music in bars for profit. In Chicago I know a few business that got hit with a notice that they must show that they purchased all music on their hard drives. They actually ARE going after the small DJ Joe's in the world who buy 150,000+ songs off some guy on craigslist for $150 and then starts a business out of it...Luckily the businesses I know have legitamately bought these songs, and they just had a huge meeting with them showing all he music belongs to her. I don't know much else other than it's a pain in the ass for those who buy their music, and an even bigger pain in the ass for those that don't.

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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: American DJ's, pay close attention to laws in the pipeline
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2011, 12:59:09 pm »


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