minstrel: Re:Filks, copyright, etc.

QuestTMK at aol.com QuestTMK at aol.com
Tue Mar 14 09:29:13 PST 2000



>> Rowan Seer <QuestTMK at aol.com> wrote:
>> in most cases, the Venue requires Artist to clear any
>> and all copyrighted material before contract is
>> signed. this also includes any and all joke or 
>> stories that may be copyrighted.
 
> Have you ever signed a contract of this kind ? 
> What sort of venue was it ?

I am not a lawyer, but I am Director of Contract Administration for a Talent Agency.  I see contracts
all the time requiring artist to clear any and all material not whole owned by them prior to performance.

I don't know where you live but at any major theatre, concert hall, and so on. 
 
> Adelaide wrote:
>>
>> The best example for demonstrating this problem is
>> the Girl Scouts of America being sued for 
>> singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" around campfires.
>> They were (successfully) targeted by ASCAP for
>> unlawful performance (which was neither charged
>> for nor recorded for reproduction) and unlawful
>> publication (for having song sheets, which were
>> not sold, but made available for the campers' use
>> free).  ASCAP also routinely sues churches
>> for similar infractions, and they are usually
>> successful.  No amount of non-profit status or
>> good intentions can insulate an organization on
>> these counts.
> 
> In 1996 ASCAP sent letters to the many summer camps
> demanding that they buy licenses for performance of
> copyrighted music. (Wall Street Journal, August 21, 
> 1996, p. 1) They didn't "sue" the Girl Scouts.  In
> the wake of the resulting uproar, ASCAP issued a
> statement that ASCAP "never sought, nor was it ever
> its intention, to license Girl Scouts singing around
> the campfire."  (Wall Street Journal, August 27 1996,
> p. B2)  I think this statement was technically true:
> I think they wanted to license Girl Scouts singing,
> not around the campfire, but _in the dining hall_. 
> I read somewhere that ASCAP eventually collected a
> one-dollar fee from some camps, but in my opinion
> nonprofit camps shouldn't have  been required to pay
> any money.

what you may not know it that Shaq O'Neil (of the Los Angeles Lakers) paid the approx. $400.00 fee require
to cover performances.

> I'm not aware of ASCAP "routinely" suing churches.
> Singing religious music in church from legally
> bought copies is, as I understand,  not an 
> infringement of the performance right.
> Copyright might be infringed in some circumstances
> if copyrighted music, or copyrighted words (to the
> choir's anthem, say) are reprinted in the leaflet,
> or if copyrighted music is recorded on tape, but
> ASCAP doesn't license these things.  ASCAP might
> become involved, though, if the church played recorded
> copyrighted music in the  course of services, or 
> hosted performances of copyrighted music outside
> of worship. Can you cite any cases of this kind ?

I did not make this statement, and have not see
anything in my membership documentation regarding this.

> Obviously, the usual disclaimer applies:  I am not a
> lawyer, this post is private opinion, nothing in this
> post is legal advice, etc.
 
> Tim Phillips
> <hrothgar at telepath.com>

Rowen Seer


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