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Topic: Music Copyright
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 25, 2006 07:27PM)
There are many posts here at The Café that centre around "What song is this?", and that question is [i]usually[/i] motivated by a magician's desire to use recorded music in his/her magical performance. In the past few days, there have been a few mentions of music copyright law, so I thought I'd start a dedicated thread.

[b]Copyright laws protect all recorded music, and the use of copyrighted music is subject to permission from the copyright owners.[/b]

If you use music that someone else recorded, then [b]SOMEONE[/b] has to pay a fee. If no-one pays, my understanding is that you, and the venue, and the employer, and maybe others, are all on the hook. Churches & schools are not exempt. Charitable events are not exempt. Free performances are not exempt. Performances in someone's living room are not exempt.

If you use "royalty free" music, then you already have paid the fee and are allowed to use the music within the limits of the agreement.

For the ins-and-outs of copyright law, don’t rely upon hearsay, or on any exceptions or work-arounds you read about in online forums.

I'm not an expert, but these people are:
- [url=http://www.bmi.com]BMI[/url], [url=http://www.ascap.com]ASCAP[/url], [url=http://www.harryfox.com]Harry Fox[/url] (USA)
- [url=http://www.socan.com]SOCAN[/url] (CANADA)
Each country has its own publishing rights organization(s), and each can answer all your questions.

Have a nice day!
Dan.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Oct 25, 2006 07:38PM)
Good post Dan!

Actually, I think that we could get into more trouble [i]downloading[/i] copyrighted music than we ever would actually using it publicly... ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 25, 2006 07:56PM)
This is why I record and write my own music for myself and others. I have seen too many people get stung with a 10,000 dollar fine. This is also why, with DJing, I stick to AVLA licensed CDs and avoid downloading altogether.

There is a magician out of the Toronto area. I won't name her, but she used Disney music in her show. I have serious doubts about her being able to use it, as Disney is notoriously very picky on letting people use it's symbols, characters, and music.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 25, 2006 08:48PM)
Here we go again. With a few exceptions, it isn't the performer who is required to pay these royalties...it's the venue: clubs, bars, festivals, theatres, and so on. "Some people mistakenly assume that musicians and entertainers must obtain licenses to perform copyrighted music or that businesses where music is performed can shift their responsibility to musicians or entertainers. Since it is the business owner who obtains the ultimate benefit from the performance, it is the business owner who obtains the license. Music license fees are one of the many costs of doing business. ASCAP Website"

There are certain bonafide school and church uses that are exempt from paying the royalties. "If the performance is part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institution, permission is not required. Permission is required when music is used as part of training seminars, conventions, or other commercial or business presentations. ASCAP Website" Private homes and private use are not an issue...which means using music at your average birthday party is not an issue your average party performer needs to worry about.

This said, the best way to go is still Royalty Free and original music for several reasons. The best nonlegal reason is that you don't want your audience's attention to be pulled away as they daydream or sing along with a well known song. You want the music to focus all attention on your act. Fresh, unknown music or music that is irrevocably linked to your image is the way to go. On the other hand, some performers like the fact that a person may think of you and your act every time a common song you used hits the radio. It's a personal choice.

There are SEVERAL excellent and completely researched threads on the Café that cover this in FULL detail.

Skip
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 25, 2006 09:11PM)
Skip,
Entertainers do have to pay for performing rights of music. At least here in Canada through SOCAN. Performing rights include the use of recorded material (3b, 11b) http://www.socan.com/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp

Even buskers are required to pay.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 25, 2006 10:24PM)
I'm not trying to win, but I am trying to make sure we provide correct info.

I apologize for posting an unreferenced, unsupported claim at the beginning of this thread, because that sort won't help.

So;
~~~~~
According to the [url=http://www.socan.com/jsp/en/music_users/do_you_need_licence.jsp]SOCAN site[/url]:
[i]"If you perform or authorize the performance of copyright-protected music in any public setting, or if you communicate those works to the public by telecommunication, you need the permission of the copyright owners. It's the law."

"A SOCAN licence entitles you to use the musical works contained in SOCAN's repertoire in a particular way, recognizing the work of those who create and publish it. You need a licence whether the music is live or played on a tape/CD player, jukebox, video or karaoke. You need a licence whether the live performers are paid or not."

"You may not need a licence in all cases. E-mail us to be sure."[/i]

If anyone has specific questions for SOCAN, please contact them, and post the response here.
~~~~~
From the [url=http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html]ASCAP[/url] site:
[i]"We often use the expression "they're playing my song," not always remembering that while we may have emotionally adopted the song, it still legally belongs to the songwriter who created it, and the music publisher who markets it. When you use other people's property, you need to ask permission."

"A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place or any place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or its social acquaintances.)"

"Generally, those who publicly perform music obtain permission from the owner of the music or his representative. However, there are a few limited exceptions, (called "exemptions") to this rule. Permission is not required for music played or sung as part of a worship service unless that service is transmitted beyond where it takes place (for example, a radio or television broadcast). Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt.
We recommend that you contact your local ASCAP representative who can discuss your needs and how ASCAP can help you."[/i]

If anyone has specific questions for ASCAP, please contact them, and post the response here.
~~~~~
From the [url=http://www.sesac.com/licensing/general_licensing_faq.aspx#Why]SESAC[/url] site:
[i]"Q: Why Should I Have a SESAC Performance License?
A: If you are using someone’s property (song) there is a moral and legal obligation to obtain the owner’s permission. Under the Copyright Law of the United States, anyone who plays copyrighted music in a public establishment is required to obtain advanced permission from the copyright owner, or their representative."

"Q: I heard that the copyright law was changed and now certain performances of music do not require a license. Can you provide me with specific information?
A: YES, certain changes to the LAW were made that affect only certain radio and television performances."[/i]
[b]I included this reference only to note that the list that follows it refers to music played on radio or TV, and not to music played on your CD, MD, ShowTech, etc...[/b]

If anyone has specific questions for SESAC, please contact them, and post the response here.
~~~~~
Again, I implore you, do not rely upon hearsay. If you can provide legitimate references, one way or the other, please post them. Unreferenced, unsupported claims will not serve the purpose of this thread.

Posted: Oct 26, 2006 7:31am
According to the BMI site:
"Copyright owners have the exclusive right to perform their own musical works in public. All others must enter into a licensing agreement to perform the music."

"Does the purchase price of tapes and CDs cover the right to play them in my business?
When you purchase a record, tape or CD, the purchase price covers your private listening right only. Once you decide to play these in public - such as in a restaurant, bar, Café or telephone music-on-hold service - it becomes an additional performance of the music, which is known as a "public performance." The copyright owners of musical works have the exclusive right of public performance. Therefore, any public performances by others require permission."
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 26, 2006 07:32AM)
Bravo! The facts speak for themselves. My apologies, Dan. I didn't mean to imply that you had anything less than the best intentions. Previous threads on this topic have simply gone off into the wildest flights of fancy and rumor, and grew rather heated. Looks like it's on solid ground now.

Skip :thumbsup:
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 26, 2006 07:46AM)
Even though we have in it writing, it is still best to ask them if your situation totally applies. There are always minor exceptions, and the only way to know is to ask them.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Oct 26, 2006 08:09AM)
Skip,

While performers aren't actually the ones licensed, they should be the ones to ask.

Just because I'm going to perform at a banquet in a hotel, doesn't mean I have carte blanche to use any music. The performer would still need to inquire with the hotel as to the status of their license.

Robert
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 26, 2006 10:20AM)
Agreed, Robert, and a great point. The whole scene is so much hassle that I'm just amazed at performers who don't use the outstanding royalty free products out there.

Skip
Message: Posted by: Opus1 (Oct 26, 2006 12:59PM)
Good topic, and some excellent points made. If you're serious about performing with music, you owe it to yourself (and your pocket book) to make sure everything's on the up-n-up.
There are a few Royalty-free sites out there; http://www.Arthurstead.com for example


All the Best,
Tommy
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 26, 2006 05:39PM)
I just sent the following questions to SOCAN, ASCAP & SESAC. Living outside America, I wasn't able to email BMI, and for the same reason, I don't know if I'll get answers from ASCAP or SESAC. Whatever answers I get, I'll post here.

[i]"Considering a magician that works in restaurants & bars, in banquet halls, in private residences, and in churches & schools, if music is used in the act, who needs to get the license? The performer? The person that hired him? The venue?

If the party that is responsible for the license don't not take care of it, are the other parties accountable? Potentially, what is the penalty?"[/i]

[b]Please don't post answers to these questions unless your answers include verifiable references[/b]. Speculations and repetition of hearsay will not help to provide clarity.

Posted: Oct 27, 2006 7:47pm
Wow!
So far, I've received two responses to my emails, and both responses include info that is contrary to what I had previously thought.

The question was:
"Considering a magician that works in restaurants & bars, in banquet halls, in private residences, and in churches & schools, if music is used in the act, who needs to get the license? The performer? The person that hired him? The venue?

If the party that is responsible for the license don't not take care of it, are the other parties accountable? Potentially, what is the penalty?"

I decided that, since I did not ask permission to publish their responses, the safest thing would be for me to paraphrase, but their wording was very clear & easy-to-understand, so accurate paraphrasing will be easy.

Both SOCAN & ASCAP said it's the venue and establishment that are responsible to secure licensing. ASCAP added that the promoter is also responsible. Both said that the performer is not responsible to secure licensing.

ASCAP said that, if an infringement does take place, the venue, establishment, promoter AND PERFORMER are all liable, and that the performer should therefore check to make sure each venue is properly licensed.

SOCAN said that houses of worship are exempt only if the music is used as part of the service. SOCAN said that schools are exempt only if the music is used as part of the curriculum. Schools & churches, therefore need licenses for all other uses. ASCAP's Web site also mentions the school exemption.

Both SOCAN & ASCAP said that weddings and private residences are exempt.

Well, things certainly are becoming more clear. Not what I had expected, but more clear. By the way, if I receive a response from SESAC, I'll post about that, too.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 29, 2006 10:04AM)
I would be curious to know if "old music" like Pink Panther, The Sabre Dance, Chaplin's compositions, Scott Joplin's Rag Time music, and classical pieces composed by Shastokovitch, etc. are considered royalty free. I thought that after a certain amount of time following the death of the composer, certain musical arrangements became royalty free.

Can anyone please clarify this?

Many thanks.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 29, 2006 11:35AM)
It is my understanding that a composition may be in the public domain, however, a contemporary recording or arrangement is protected. For example, Stephen Foster's "Old Kentucky Home" may be in the public domain. If Red Katz's Dixieland Band records the song onto an album, that performance carries the band's copyright.

The only way around this, again to my knowledge, is to record your own version or arrangement of the public domain song, or obtain a recording from a royalty-free musical source.

According to http://www.pdinfo.cpm. , an Inet public domain info source:

"Music and lyrics written by an American author and published in 1922 or earlier are in the Public Domain in the United States. No one can claim ownership of a song in the public domain, therefore public domain songs may be used by everyone. PD songs may be used for profit-making without paying any royalties. If you create a new version or derivative of a public domain song, you can copyright your version and no one can use it without your permission. However, the song remains in the public domain, and anyone else can also make and copyright their own version of the same PD song.

"Songs change over time. Even though a public domain version exists, some versions may still be under copyright protection. The only way to confidently identify a PD version is to find a copy of the song with a copyright date old enough for public domain status. You can then use that PD version or work from it to create your own derivative work. If you work from a version still under copyright protection, the copyright owner can likely make a valid claim for royalties.

"Music recordings are protected separately from musical compositions. Virtually every sound recording in the USA is under copyright protection until 2067. If you need a sound recording, you will either have to record it yourself or license one."

Skip
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 29, 2006 12:54PM)
[quote]
On 2006-10-29 12:35, Skip Way wrote:
According to http://www.pdinfo.cpm.
[/quote]
The correct link is http://www.pdinfo.com , and you can search their list of public domain songs [url=http://www.pdinfo.com/list.htm]here[/url].

As Skip referenced, although a [b]SONG[/b] may be in the public domain, [b]RECORDINGS[/b] of it are [b]NOT[/b] in the public domain, and the recordings are protected by copyright.

Posted: Oct 29, 2006 2:24pm
The US Copyright Office's Web site says that an exemption applies for:
Chapter 1, 110 (10);
"performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work in the course of a social function which is organized and promoted by a nonprofit veterans' organization or a nonprofit fraternal organization to which the general public is not invited, but not including the invitees of the organizations, if the proceeds from the performance, after deducting the reasonable costs of producing the performance, are used exclusively for charitable purposes and not for financial gain. For purposes of this section the social functions of any college or university fraternity or sorority shall not be included unless the social function is held solely to raise funds for a specific charitable purpose."

Although I haven't been able to find this "lay" wording of that same passage on the Web sites of any of the performing rights organizations, I have found it (or very similar wordings) on several other sites.
"Performances at charitable functions are exempt from license or royalty requirements only if the performances are without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and if no one involved with the performance, including the performers, organizers or promoters, is paid, and there is no direct or indirect admission charge."
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Oct 30, 2006 12:10PM)
I am a strong believer in using royalty-free music, or custom-composed music, for magic shows. One reason is the complications that arise from copyright and licensing issues under discussion here. But there are other very valid reasons, including the fact that using a familiar song can be distracting to the audience. You’ll have to attend one of my lectures to hear more about that! But for now, let me chime in with my two cents worth of information on this thread:

Artistic creations (literature, music, art, inventions) are usually copyrighted by the creator(s) to protect their work. In the case of a musical composition, this copyright lasts for the duration of the composer's life, plus 70 years after his death. No one is allowed to use this music in public performances without proper authorization from the copyright owner. A license to use the music must be obtained from a music rights organization like BMI or ASCAP. These organizations also collect royalties on behalf of the composer.

Without this arrangement, the composer(s) would not receive compensation if their compositions were used in live performances, in the movies, on TV, or any other media. If someone gets caught using copyrighted music without permission, they are violating copyright law and could face heavy fines.

A legal alternative to getting a music license is to use royalty-free music. This is music composed specifically for live performances, for which the composer will not demand royalty payments. The composer still copyrights his music and retains ownership, but by selling it as “royalty-free”, he gives the purchaser the right to use his music.

It’s important to note that when you buy a royalty-free music CD, you purchase the right to use that music in your own live performances. But only the purchaser has the right to use the music. They can’t make copies for their friends, or use the music on re-sellable products.

Regarding music in the public domain: When a copyright has expired (70 years after the composer’s death), musical compositions enter the “public domain.” Then, they are considered to be part of our cultural heritage, and may be exploited by anyone without fear of copyright infringement. A good example is the music of John Phillip Sousa. Some of his songs are in the public domain, while others are still under copyright. It all depends on when the song was originally copyrighted.



But here’s an important consideration: Although the song itself may be in the public domain, the current recording of that song will have been re-copyrighted. In other words, the artist who recorded the song, the record label, the producer, the publisher, the musical arranger, etc. may all be entitled to "a piece of the pie" for their new version of the song. And, I believe they deserve to be compensated for their efforts.

It gets quite complicated, but the fact remains that using copyrighted music without permission is illegal and unethical. My advice to performers is to stick to using royalty-free music from the start. That way you avoid any copyright issues and can do your shows with a clear conscience. And, royalty-free music is usually composed with specific performance situations in mind. So, it’s easier to find a composition with the right mood and atmosphere for your routines.

Arthur Stead
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 30, 2006 04:22PM)
[quote]
On 2006-10-30 13:10, arthur stead wrote:
"In the case of a musical composition, this copyright lasts for the duration of the composer's life, plus 70 years after his death."

"It all depends on when the song was originally copyrighted."[/quote]
Thanks for your contribution, Arthur!

Two quotes drawn from your post, and listed above, appear to contradict one another. One says the expiry date is dependent upon the date-of-death of the composer, and the other says it is dependent upon copyright date.

Which is it? Please be sure to give specific references so that this thread continues to contain only reliable, easily verifiable information. Quotes & links seem to work best.
Cheers!
Dan.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Oct 30, 2006 05:40PM)
Hi Dan,

You’re right, that is confusing.

Nowadays, a music copyright is valid for the duration of the composer’s life plus 70 years after his/her death. In other words, no matter in which year of his/her life the copyright is established, the composition is protected until the composer’s death, after which copyright ownership transfers to their estate for the next 70 years. Following those 70 years, the copyright expires, and the composition enters the public domain, as explained in my post above.

The reason for the apparent confusion is that the above stipulations apply only to musical works created after 1978. Before that the law was slightly different. Composition registered with the copyright office before 1978 were copyrighted for 95 years from the date the copyright was secured. The life and death of the composer did not matter. That’s why, in my example above, some of Sousa’s works are already in the public domain, while others are still copyrighted.

You’ll find loads more information about public domain music at http://www.pdinfo.com.

All the best,

Arthur Stead
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Oct 30, 2006 05:56PM)
Just got through buying a few instant music downloads from OPUS1, and they sound great! Excellent service offered by the folks at OPUS1 - they allow you to preview almost every song that is available for download. Now I can pick and chose the songs that I like, rather than sifting through an entire CD for one or two tracks.

Thanks, Tommy! :bigdance:

Posted: Oct 30, 2006 6:58pm
Oops... and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I have also recently purchased some excellent music from Arthur Stead. He just doesn't offer the instant download feature.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 30, 2006 06:00PM)
Guys,

Never underestimate the value of having entertainers running for political office. You have a Sonny Bono to thank for the last copyright law that is artist's life plus 70 years. He was a good man to have in Washington. He protected creative people.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 30, 2006 06:37PM)
Folks,
I certainly intend no disrespect, but I ask that we keep this thread on topic. No asides.
That topic is clear, accurate, easily-verifiable info about copyright and publishing rights as they apply to a magician's use of music in his/her show.

From the [url=http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html]U.S. Copyright Office[/url]'s Web site;
[i]"As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years."

"For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first."

"For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors."[/i]

That [url=http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html]same link[/url] also tells you how to determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 30, 2006 07:52PM)
You know, it's all so confusing that it is easier to use royalty free music from companies like Opus and composers like myself. Less to worry about.

In reading above, it said

Both SOCAN & ASCAP said it's the venue and establishment that are responsible to secure licensing. ASCAP added that the promoter is also responsible. Both said that the performer is not responsible to secure licensing.

ASCAP said that, if an infringement does take place, the venue, establishment, promoter AND PERFORMER are all liable, and that the performer should therefore check to make sure each venue is properly licensed.

So to protect yourself, wouldn't it be safer to license yourself anyway? It actually isn't that much according to SOCAN tariffs (Canadian)
http://www.socan.com/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp
You are looking at 3 percent of your income. So if you charge $300 for a birthday party, the license is 9 dollars. Definitely won't put a dent in the pocket.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 30, 2006 08:31PM)
[quote]
On 2006-10-30 20:52, mrbilldentertainer wrote:
http://www.socan.com/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp
You are looking at 3 percent of your income.[/quote]
Hi, Bill!
Actually, at that link (thanks for linking!), I think it's Tariff "3B" that applies;
[i]
[b]Recorded Music Accompanying Live Entertainment[/b]
"Annual fee: 2% of compensation for entertainment (minimum annual fee of $62.74).[/i]
That minimum will cover you up to an annual magic income of about $3100.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 30, 2006 10:00PM)
It isn't JUST one agency, though. Some songs are licensed through ASCAP, some through BMI. As an American performer, you'd have to register with both...or insure that the songs you're using are licensed under the sole agency you're licensed through. Then, you have to insure that the arrangement and specific artist who made the recording is licensed under the agency you choose...if you register with just one. So, multiply those fees by two...or play it smart and stay Royalty Free with a performance license. Is it really worth all the extra hassle?

Skip
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 30, 2006 11:26PM)
Yes, Dan, I think you are right. Whoops. Which is a good reason not to just go on what we say here and to contact your area's governing body to find out what applies to you.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 31, 2006 05:27AM)
[quote]
On 2006-10-30 23:00, Skip Way wrote:
It isn't JUST one agency, though. Some songs are licensed through ASCAP, some through BMI. As an American performer, you'd have to register with both...or insure that the songs you're using are licensed under the sole agency you're licensed through. Then, you have to insure that the arrangement and specific artist who made the recording is licensed under the agency you choose...if you register with just one.
[/quote]
Thanks, Skip! When making a statement in this particular thread, please provide "reliable, easily verifiable" references.

From the [url=http://www.sesac.com/licensing/broadcast_licensing_faq.aspx#sesacD]SESAC[/url] Web site, here's one:

[i]"[b]Q: If I have licenses with ASCAP and/or BMI, why do I need a license with SESAC?[/b]

A: SESAC, ASCAP, and BMI are three separate and distinct Performing Rights Organizations (PRO). Each organization represents different songwriters, composers, publishers and copyright holders, and each organization licenses only the copyrighted works of its own respective affiliated copyright holders. Licenses with ASCAP and BMI do NOT grant you authorization for the right to use the copyrighted music of SESAC represented songwriters, composers, publishers or copyright holders.

Since a license with ASCAP and/or BMI does not grant authorization to play songs in the SESAC repertory, most broadcasters obtain licenses with SESAC, ASCAP and BMI to obtain proper copyright clearance for virtually all of the copyrighted music in the world."[/i]



Being Canadian, Bill was correct when he referred to having "a license", because, in Canada, SOCAN is the only performing rights organization with which one must deal. From the [url=http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/about/faq/outside_socan.jsp]SOCAN[/url] site:
[i][b]"Q: Does SOCAN cover U.S. and worldwide usage of my music?[/b]
A: Yes. SOCAN has reciprocal agreements with performing rights societies around the world. These societies administer your repertoire internationally and send any royalties earned to SOCAN. SOCAN pays the monies directly to you."

"[b]Q: Is SOCAN connected with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC?[/b]
A: SOCAN is a separate organization, but we have reciprocal agreements with each of the three U.S. performing rights societies. Upon becoming a SOCAN member, you will receive information about the U.S. societies."

"[b]Q: Are there other organizations I might want to join?[/b]
A: There are a number of organizations that administer rights in the music industry. To help you make your own decision, we have listed many of them here with LINKS to their web sites."[/i]

The previous paragraph refers to a list. [url=http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/resources/around_world.jsp]Here[/url] is that list of "Other Performing Rights Organizations (with which SOCAN has reciprocal agreements)".
Message: Posted by: airship (Oct 31, 2006 10:52AM)
The Creative Commons licenses were created with the specific purpose of simplifying and clarifying the issues of rights ownership, performance rights, and other use of creative works.

The http://creativecommons.org/audio/ site explains how Creative Commons licenses work, and provides a directory of CC licensed audio works that can, in most cases, be used for free in your performances. All you have to do is find the music you want and make sure the CC license specified allows you the right to use the work in your performance. It's all in plain English, not legalese. Happy hunting!
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 1, 2006 12:40PM)
An interesting thing about music use that I will say a little about (I can't let too much out--legal reasons). I have been in contact with the Disney Company. They are investigating a magical performer who is known to use Disney songs and material in their act. Let me tell you that these people protect their property with extreme vigilance.

So, a word of caution...make sure whatever you do, make sure you do it as legit as possible. Don't assume you can use music without some kind of license or permission. ALWAYS CHECK TO SEE IF YOU NEED TO PAY ANY PERFORMING RIGHTS OR LICENSES. Never assume anything.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Nov 2, 2006 09:24AM)
Arthur Stead posted this response on another forum to a question regarding the use of Royalty-Free music on performance DVD's and Demo Videos. I felt that the topic fits into the discussion on this thread. I don't have a documented "easily verifiable source" but it couldn't come from a more reliable and knowledgeable spokesperson.

In response to the question, he states, [i]"You should 'read the fine print' before using any royalty-free music. Some companies require special permission to use their music on media such as videos, DVD’s or television. Some don’t allow it at all, while others stipulate “live” performances only.

When you buy a royalty-free music CD, it’s important to remember that only the purchaser has the right to use the music. You can’t make copies for your friends to use in their shows. Also keep in mind that, although the music is yours to use license-free, the composer still retains ownership of their music. He/she owns the copyright, and that means the music cannot be resold on someone else’s product.

If you plan to use royalty-free music or routines on your own re-sellable DVD, I suggest you first obtain permission from the copyright owners. Depending on the situation, they may or may not grant you that right. You may have to reach an agreement that is financially beneficial to both parties. Or they may simply give you permission as long as you give them credit and provide their contact information on the film or packaging."[/i]

In anticipation of "please provide 'reliable, easily verifiable' references": Arthur Willmore Stead has performed with and composed music for mega-stars Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, Aerosmith, Cher, Starship, Peter Frampton, John Waite, Van Halen, Public Image Limited, The Mamas and the Papas, Ace Frehley, and Shania Twain, to name a few. Arthur’s film scoring credits include America’s Most Wanted, The Muppets, The Guiding Light, many PBS documentaries, and the Steven Spielberg feature film, The Goonies. He and his wife, Leslie Blake Stead, continue to compose and produce a very professional collection of top quality Royalty-Free music for magicians and children's entertainers. These products are as good as they come! I believe this experience verifies his credentials and knowledge on this topic.

Skip
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Nov 16, 2006 12:58PM)
How does a DJ fit in this mix?
There are more DJs using this music than Magicians.

There are many part-time DJs that do weddings, etc. then there are magicians using a single track. and we can bet they don't have the licenses nor are people hiring them knowedagable enough to ask that question.

It would seem if the "Music Police" were knock on anyone's door they would be the the DJs as a first choice. (This does not diminish the discussion, nor find excuses, just a recent observation).

This is a curious observation from a very unknowledgable person in this field.
Message: Posted by: Banester (Nov 16, 2006 01:59PM)
I think that DJ's have purchased the CD's or MP3's and are playing them for your enjoyment. He is not selling the music rather the services he is providing (stereo, commemtary, props, etc). You can play the music for all to hear as long as you are not charging for it. People are paying to see the magic and the magician is not selling musical CD's. The only issue I could see arising would be if you made a DVD of your performance with the back ground music being from a copyrighted cd or mp3. I would think you would need some type of release to do that and also state the origin of the music in the credits area.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Nov 16, 2006 02:56PM)
Banester, you are incorrect.

From the SOCAN website:

18 Recorded Music for Dancing Annual fee, based on the capacity, days per week and months per year of operation: ranging from $267.33 to $1,069.32 per 100 persons, plus 10% for each additional 20 persons.


8 Receptions, Conventions,Assemblies and Fashion Shows Fee per event, based on room capacity:
a) Without Dancing: from $20.56 to $87.40
b) With Dancing: from $41.13 to $174.79


Bottom line, if it's on a commercial CD and at the same time somebody is taking in money, that music is seen as being used (even partially) to help you make that money.
If the music is helping you make money, it's your obligation to pay the publisher.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Nov 16, 2006 04:35PM)
Thanks for using such a good reference, silverking!

For everyone else, please do not use conjecture [b]in this particular thread[/b]. Instead, please provide reliable, easily verifiable references from regulating authorites. I hope this will remain a factual, source-supported thread for magicians.

To further support silverking's quotes, here's a link to that info at the [url=http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp]SOCAN[/url] Web site. The prices will be different in America, but the basic regulations are the same.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 16, 2006 11:29PM)
As a DJ myself I pay out a minimum $1500 a year in fees (this include fees for my magic shows as well and other DJs). It is actually a small fee when you break it down to just over $100 per month.
Message: Posted by: John Martin (Nov 17, 2006 09:41AM)
Bill,

That's fine broken down the way you've mentioned above. Consider though, if I read the tariffs correctly for a magicians, "11B Comedy Shows and Magic Shows Fee per show: $36.60 where use of music is incidental. Where comedy or magic show is primarily a musical act, Tariff 4.A applies", at 250 birthday parties a year that's $9150.00, hardly a small fee. Minus expenses, minus cost of equipement, minus insurance, minus business fees, minus taxes....minus...minus....minus...
it's no wonder people cheat the "SYSTEM". Something to think about!!!
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 17, 2006 10:30AM)
This is why I use my own music at my shows. I only use recorded music once in a while.

http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp (ref 11b and 4a
Well if $9000 is 3% of your earnings, then what are you complaining about?

Tarriff 4a=Minimum is $20/show. 250 shows=$5000 If you are charging $200.00 per show that is $50,000/year you are making so $5000 is a small amount in comparison.
It is a cost of doing business along with insurance and other expenses.


Having said that, I don't think 4a applies because you may not be PRIMARILY a musical act. You would have to contact SOCAN and ask them what applies because you are not a musical act but the music is not incidental. (sorry for the conjecture).
Message: Posted by: John Martin (Nov 17, 2006 01:50PM)
You're right, but I wouldn't call 10 percent of your income a small amount!!! Everyone know this system is there to make the rich richer and has very LITTLE to do with protecting the artist. Fairness never even enters into the picture.

I'll just stick with my royalty free music.


John
Message: Posted by: abrell (Dec 9, 2006 07:23AM)
In Germany all persons/ organisations using music in public and/or for commercial uses have to pay some fee at GEMA. This is a duty especially for the venue owner. But the venue owner will need a play list with: name of composer, title of music, name of musicians/band, name of poet, name of record company, length of music title.
Message: Posted by: purplemonk (Apr 2, 2007 12:17AM)
Very true.. however it also says "Where comedy or magic show is primarily a musical act" ... I know my magic show is not primarily a musical act.

[quote]
On 2006-10-25 22:11, mrbilldentertainer wrote:
Skip,
Entertainers do have to pay for performing rights of music. At least here in Canada through SOCAN. Performing rights include the use of recorded material (3b, 11b) http://www.socan.com/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp

Even buskers are required to pay.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Dave Miller (Apr 10, 2007 11:39PM)
I have been very concerned about using copyrighted music in my performances. The reason is, I hope (and hope and hope) to be able to use video of these performances in a DVD product that I will sell. In looking for royalty free music, I ran across a great site with very good music. The company is called Digital Juice <http://www.digitaljuice.com> and I am using their music for everything we do. All of the tracks in their StackTraxx are layered so you can turn different instruments off and on. Be sure to watch for the specials - that is the only way to buy. I got 10 volumes for $249. That is more music than we will ever need and it is royalty free. Hope that helps someone!
Message: Posted by: Killed_CZ (Apr 11, 2007 04:21AM)
Well in Czech you pay to organization that covers Czech musicians, but you pay for all-around-the-world music :D
Message: Posted by: btedeski (Jul 22, 2007 03:43AM)
When you purchase "Royalty Free" music for your show, read the license before you buy.. I have a large collection of "Royalty Free" music that can be used for just about anything BUT not live shows. I can use it for Video production, web sites etc. But for my show I would have to pay extra. So unless you are buying music meant for Magic shows, Read the License. "Royalty Free" is not the same as "Public Domain"
Message: Posted by: Ashkenazi the Pretty Good (Oct 5, 2007 12:35PM)
I appreciate all the effort you have collectively put into this, and mean no disrespect, but what I would want from this thread is a step by step process:

Some web site where we enter the songs, and it tells how much we owe to whom, if we use commercial music, and that takes into account how it's used, and for what audience.

I surmise that no such place exists.

Thanks,
km
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Oct 5, 2007 02:51PM)
It's not as easy as that. You have to contact your areas governing body (BMI, ASCAP) Websites are located in the first posting in this thread. They will tell you what/if you owe. You'll be dealing with real world people getting all the details of your case and may ask for more info.

Custom made royalty free music is the best way to go.
Message: Posted by: MagicofKevin_85 (Dec 6, 2007 09:51PM)
Okay guys, still confused about the use of songs in our performances. I'm a police officer in Michigan, as well as an illusionist, and had 2 semesters of criminal law so you think I would understand this one. Is it safe to say that I cannot use any original music (ie. disney, recording artist's music) in my performances? I guess I see a lot of illusionists using this type of music. Are we all going to end up behind bars. HA HA. Please clarify. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Dec 6, 2007 11:50PM)
Again, contact your country's governing body to find out exactly what you need to do. Basically though, one should only use songs they are licensed to use, either through direct licensing or through working under the umbrella of somebody else's license. But again, contact ASCAP, BMI etc. to find out what you need to do if anything.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Dec 7, 2007 06:45AM)
[quote]
On 2007-12-07 00:50, mrbilldentertainer wrote:
... contact ASCAP, BMI etc. to find out what you need to do if anything.
[/quote]
I'm completely with Mr Bill on this. Don't rely on us for legal advice, [b]EXCEPT[/b] when we say to check with the people that administer the regulations ... BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN, etc. Each country has its own regulating body(s).
Message: Posted by: MagicofKevin_85 (Dec 7, 2007 07:17PM)
Thanks for the advice, I'll check into it. Best
Message: Posted by: David Bilan (Dec 10, 2007 01:19AM)
Kevin,

THIS PERTAINS TO U.S. LICENSING (in other countries, your legal rights may vary).

As a police officer, I'm sure you know that not all speeders end up getting a ticket every time they speed, but those who speed all the time are more likely to get caught. It also depends when and where you speed. Will everyone using music without a license/permission be sued? Of course not. Is it illegal? See Section 17 of U.S. Code (Copyright infringement). Like speeding the probability for problems depends on where and when you use the music.

For stage use, you need "Dramatic" or "Grand" rights. as part of a DVD, you need "Synchronization" rights. If you tape a stage show to sell as a DVD, you need both. The copyright may be split several ways: Songwriter, performer, publisher, recording company, etc... If part of a movie sound track, there's a whole additional layer.

Part of my job is keeping the U.S. government out of hot water by preventing the Army from using copyright music without permission. No, the government is not immune from civil suits.

We can all debate the ethics of copyright, just as we can debate speeding. The issue is whether you can afford to get caught. In US law, everyone is liable: The venue and the performer.

Production music is the least expensive answer. Popular tunes can cost an arm and a leg to use, if youcan even get permission. John1964 says 10% of his income isn't a small amount. Perhaps not. But if the music is critical to making your act magical and unique, then 10% might be a small price to pay (especially considering the cost of going to court).

Like everyone else on this forum, I'll end with the recommendation to contact an entertainment attorney and/or a music licensing agency.

David
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (Apr 11, 2008 10:30PM)
I am just going to sing live for my next show, this is to much to worry about. LOL.
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (Apr 12, 2008 02:34PM)
Maybee I wont sing, to many people will leave in the middle of my act.
Message: Posted by: BBunnell (Aug 14, 2008 10:59AM)
I was asked about this topic in responce to an article I did for "Genii" magazine. Through further research my understanding of this comes from the musicians handbook which states that if you are not performing the music, you are not infringing on the copywright. I'm sure I saved that somewhere. I'll try to find it for future reference.
Message: Posted by: BBunnell (Aug 14, 2008 11:29AM)
Here is my follow up. If any of you feel I am misunderstanding this, let me know as I do not want to point any in the wrong direction.

In the 3rd edition of the "Music Buisness Handbook" it reads:
The law provides that any person who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer.

The exclusive rights are listed as follows:
1- To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords
2- To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work
3- To distribute copies or phono records of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, leasel or lending
4- to performthe copyrighted work publicly
5- to display the copyrighted work publicy

This is old info. Perhaps someone out there can point me to an updated version so I can be brought up to date. Thanks
Bruce
Message: Posted by: silverking (Aug 14, 2008 12:51PM)
In this case, the word "perform" includes playing the music back while using it for a commercial undertaking.

If you're a magician, and you're playing a tune to which somebody holds the copyright, and you haven't got clearance to use said tune, you're in violation.

You are applying a definition to the word "perform" that isn't broad enough to properly represent the actual requirements magicians (and other performers) have when using somebody else's music.

Playing back music while you're performing, before you start performing (walk in music), or after you've finished performing (walk out music) is all defined as a "performance" of the music in question.
Message: Posted by: BBunnell (Aug 15, 2008 01:39AM)
Would you be willing to provide me where you found the definition of "perform" so I can add it to my information?
Thanks
Message: Posted by: silverking (Aug 18, 2008 06:14PM)
Hello Bruce.

I mean absolutely no offense to you Bruce, but my source of the definition of the word "perform" is of no relevance to this conversation.
Interested parties should be contacting ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN or the performing rights society in their jurisdiction [b]directly[/b] .

I'm not a lawyer, and therefore it wouldn't be appropriate for me to be seeming to provide source material from which [i]anybody[/i] might make a decision or form an opinion.

If you choose to simply use published music for playback with no effort to compensate or license that music from the publisher, then you are exposing yourself to potential litigation.

Also be aware that the large performing rights organizations have used the courts to sue for unpaid fees for the [i]entire[/i] time unlicensed users have been using the music in question for commercial purposes. In other words, if you've used a particular song for the last five years, and you perform professionally 5 nights a week using the published music each time you perform, they'll invoice you for the [i]total[/i] number of times you've used the published music in question.

This can amount to many thousands of dollars.

Fellow magi, [b]Call the performing rights societies directly[/b], and don't depend on web forums, magazines, or word or mouth for legal facts. These performing rights societies maintain specific staff whose job is to provide answers to folks with questions just like the ones being asked throughout this thread.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Aug 18, 2008 10:23PM)
I would also suggest that specific publishers are a solid resource when it comes to enquiring about commercial use of music from their catalogs.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Aug 18, 2008 11:48PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-18 19:14, silverking wrote:
[b]Call the performing rights societies directly[/b], and don't depend on web forums, magazines, or word or mouth for legal facts. These performing rights societies maintain specific staff whose job is to provide answers to folks with questions just like the ones being asked throughout this thread.
[/quote]
Yeah! What he said! I'm with silverking 100% on this. SOCAN, ASCAP, BMI, CMRRA, Harry Fox, etc, have all the info you need.
Message: Posted by: BBunnell (Aug 23, 2008 12:00PM)
Thanks to everyone for your responces!!

I mean no disrespect or want to offend either. This is what I have found out:

Past expierience has taught me that my "sources" have at times been incorrect. Take me for example: My conclusion from reading the handbook was incorrect. Therefore I was not a dependable "source" of information.

I do feel that the source of information is relevant. It would be foolish of me to state something that someone else told me. Just by taking their word for it. How do they know? I ask for the source, as often times the source may be inconclusive. Many months ago to answer this question for myself, I contacted many of the organizations listed above and there responce was that I needed to ask "so and so" and their responce was to ask "so and so". That went on and on.

I certainly did not intend to and do not want to mislead anyone. SORRY EVERYONE!
So I contacted the copyright office directly shortly after my earlier post, and below is my question and the responce from them:

My question to the copyright office:

>>> <brucebunnell@yahoo.com> 08/22/08 5:01 PM >>>

In the copyright for music it uses the word "Perfrom". Would you please give me the copyright definition of the word "perform"? Is playing the music "in the background" of a presentation or specifically a magic show, "performing" the music and violating any copyright laws?

Bruce


-----Inline Attachment Follows-----

No, music playing in the background is not performing. If you are playing a guitar while doing a presentation you would be perfoming. However regardless of whether you are "performing" or just playing music in the background, if it is copyrighted music belonging to someone else you cannot use it without permission or you would be in violation of copyright.

sw

Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington DC 20559
(202) 707-3000
http://www.copyright.gov

*************************

Now I have my answer from the horses mouth so to speak. Nobody needs to take my word for it when I answer the question when it most certainly will come up again.

Thank you all again for motivating me re-evaluate my position and to take that one extra step to get the correct information.

Best wishes to all!!

Bruce
Message: Posted by: Loyal R (Oct 14, 2008 03:37PM)
How can I buy ASCAP Copyright?
Message: Posted by: Loyal R (Oct 28, 2008 01:57PM)
Nevermind!
Message: Posted by: Loyal R (Nov 3, 2008 02:06PM)
Just like I said... ... Ignore these post! :)
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (Dec 13, 2008 07:03PM)
Ok here is an update. I contacted BMI, ASCP and both told me the same thing. They can not issue a license to be used by a Magician who uses music with his illusions, as it is considered a THEATRICAL PRODUCTION. Yes you heard me right.

However, in a situation like this, I was infromed by the powers that be, that the venue (civic center, school, chruch, etc) can recive a promoters license, or appropatie one for their catagory, and the Magician would be covered under that.

However in the case that the venue does not have a copyright license, the MAGICIAN will not, I repeat, will not be held responsible becuase it is the responsibility of the venue, regardless of if the Magician is producing the event or the venue is.

This is what I was told by the poweres that be from both offices.
Message: Posted by: levymusic (Dec 30, 2008 11:11PM)
Hi Everyone... I'm new! I came across this posting and wanted to join in. I run a boutique music publishing company, Levy Music Publishing where we license music. To help with the first post about the DVD release of your performance, you will need "master" and "sync" licenses for all the music in the project. While we control theatrical production rights as well, my background is in tv producing so we specialize in tv/film placements. This has been really informative... thanks.
Message: Posted by: Magical John! (Jan 26, 2009 08:49AM)
What about a cover of a song? Should I seek permission from the artist, or the original writer, or both?
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 26, 2009 04:22PM)
[quote]
On 2009-01-26 09:49, Magical John! wrote:
What about a cover of a song? Should I seek permission from the artist, or the original writer, or both?
[/quote]
John,
In the case of a "cover", both the song and the recording have copyright owners. The writer may not own the publishing rights to the song, and the cover artist may not own the rights to the recording of that song.

In my opinion, this thread is now so long, and contains so much conjecture, that it's very confusing.

The only way to get the right answers for the song(s) in question is to contact the publishing rights organization in your country. For Canada & the US, see the first post in this thread.
Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Loyal R (Feb 8, 2009 02:13PM)
Ok, I have a question... I'm in Canada and I need to obtains the permission for two songs that is registered with ASCAP... Do I need to obtain the permisson via ASCAP?
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Feb 8, 2009 07:11PM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-08 15:13, Loyal R wrote:
Ok, I have a question... I'm in Canada and I need to obtains the permission for two songs that is registered with ASCAP... Do I need to obtain the permisson via ASCAP?
[/quote]
No. In Canada, the rights probably are administered by SOCAN. Call SOCAN ... They will give you the correct answers.
Message: Posted by: chrusa (Apr 1, 2009 11:54PM)
In another thread I posted the following "Question for everyone. If doing a free show I don't get paid no one pays admission do royalties still need to be paid? No one is profiting I am curious about this." and was told "Paid or not, the law is the same.
Check this link.
Cheers!
"

I don't understand though whats the difference between using music for an unpaid show or say playing a cd at a bbq in the summer time? Im not trying to argue but don;t understand.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Apr 2, 2009 06:53AM)
[quote]
On 2009-04-02 00:54, chrusa wrote:
I don't understand though whats the difference between using music for an unpaid show or say playing a cd at a bbq in the summer time? Im not trying to argue but don;t understand.
[/quote]
chrusa,
Call BMI, ASCAP or Harry Fox for the correct answer. I imagine the difference is that the law will consider that you're promoting yourslf, or promoting something, by using it in any kind of show. Again, call BMI, ASCAP or Harry Fox for the correct answer. They'll be happy to help.
Message: Posted by: gordon russ (Apr 26, 2009 09:10AM)
I have read the post in this thread. I perform with music in my show. I am just wondering does anyone know of anyone busted by the "Music Police"? There is mention of a girl in Canada being hunted down by Disney, (did they catch her and toss her in a dungeon?). Has anyone out there been fined for playing Happy Birthday at the local Elks lodge? I work with a lot of DJ's I do not think many of them pay royalties. I understand this subject is about the legal and moral aspects of using music in your show, but I am just wondering about the real world situations.

Gordon Russ
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Apr 26, 2009 09:59AM)
[quote]
On 2009-04-26 10:10, gordon russ wrote:
I understand this subject is about the legal and moral aspects of using music in your show, but I am just wondering about the real world situations.

Gordon Russ
[/quote]
Gordon,
The "real world situation" is that tarrifs must be paid, and, in America, the best way to find the correct info is through ASCAP/BMI/Harry Fox. In Canada, it's through SOCAN. Every country has its ow organization.

I hope the legal & moral aspects are enough to sway folks from using music illegally.
If not, know that the Air Canada Centre, home to the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and countless international concert tours, was sued by SOCAN (the Canadian equivalenmt to ASCAP/BMI) for non-payment of tarrifs.
http://www.thestar.com/article/154394
Again, I hope the legal & moral aspects are enough to sway folks from using music illegally.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Apr 26, 2009 05:23PM)
I know of someone (a DJ) who was slapped with a 10,000 dollar fine here in Canada for using illegal unlicensed music
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (May 12, 2009 12:58PM)
OK I called the BMI and ASCAP.. They said there is nothing for magicians at all. This would be an issue of the venue you are perform9ing for. END OF QUESTION. That is straigth from their mouths.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (May 12, 2009 04:02PM)
But did you ask if you are responsible if the venue doesn't pay?
Message: Posted by: CCPCris (May 14, 2009 02:09PM)
Yes, they said no. It is the responsiblitiy of the venue, if you are a performing artisits that uses background music during your act. The licenses do not cover you because, A. You are not performing live music of coppyrighted matrial, B. Because you are not replaying it for a FREE EVENT (yes I said Free). They said that the venue can purchase the license and charge you for the fee, but there is no way to issue the magician one as an entertainer, and even if you did purchase the license under another catagory (as I was going to do with my production company) they infromed me that I could still be sued for not having the PROPER LICENSE. So yes, the venue would be responsible.
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (May 14, 2009 02:38PM)
Good info on the proper license and still could be sued. This is why we have said to contact your local group for any questions. Even reading CCPCris's response, I would still be inclined to call myself, as anything posted on here is not intended as legal advice.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (May 14, 2009 10:06PM)
Some of the info that CCPCris has posted is incorrect. For answers to these questions, [b]PLEASE[/b] do not rely on anything you see posted in internet discussions. Contact [url=http://www.ascap.com]ASCAP[/url] (USA), [url=http://www.bmi.com/]BMI[/url] (USA), [url=http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp]The Harry Fox Agency[/url] (USA), [url=http://www.socan.com/]SOCAN[/url] (Canada), and so on.

Getting legal advice on a magic forum makes as much sense as going to a law forum for help with your "ambitious card" routine. The only difference is that the latter is less likely to result in a law suit.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (May 25, 2009 01:31PM)
Earlier in my career as a TV executive I handled music clearance (i.e., I negotiated and secured performance licenses, sync licenses, parody licenses and master use licenses) for hundreds of copyrighted musical compositions, songs and recordings.

Listen to Dan.
Message: Posted by: mkmager (Oct 5, 2009 11:20AM)
Great info, thanks!
Message: Posted by: griffindance (Feb 11, 2010 09:57AM)
Dan should definately be listened to!!!

I have worked in several countries in a variety of capacities (Magician, actor, dancer, director, stagetech etc) and although the VENUE is generally held responsible for obtaining copyright permissions that doesn't mean you shouldnt check yourself. In Austalia I knew a magician who had been performing in a casino regularly over the course of ten years. When the casino was checked the APRA people followed up on different acts that had been through the venue. They found this magician had been doing the same act in venues that didn't have permission and the poor guy was taken to court. He lost everything within a week over a five minute piece of music that he thought was pretty.

The only way I have seen to not pay copyright fees for music (that is already copyrighted) was a dance company who approached the composers/musicians themselves and got signed letters of consent. However you will still need to approach the licensing bodies themselves to show you have permission. In Australia it is (If I remember correctly) APRA and in Germany it is GEMA.

I regularly borrow burnt cds from friends and collegues but if Im going to use the music for a perfomance I ALWAYS have the copyright information before the show.

Although its difficult to tell sometimes but Musicians are artists just like Magicians. Using music without paying dues to the recorded artist supporting your act is like stealing their tricks. You wouldnt like it, why should they!
Message: Posted by: bhappie (Feb 25, 2010 11:14AM)
A lot of what I will say here has been covered already but if you are like me, so skimmed thru the three pages of info looking for answers. I just spoke to BMI.

As a magician you can not get a licence to cover your own events (this has been mentioned). They don't have a licence for private events such as birthday party, church function, wedding... so one is not needed. (don't take my word for it- check for yourself).

Doing a public show? they have a licence for that but the venue has to get it. To protect myself, I am going to add a line in my contract telling customers I use licensed music and if they need a license to contact BMI.

I am performing at a magic convention in July and they said a meeting / trader show licence covers the convention and is $145 minimum based on about $0.06 per attendee and it would cover the entire convention.

Music on hold or on your answering machine- $227 per year and you can use all the songs they have licensed, nit just one. That is good for me since our company motto is Don't worry, B. Happie!

They have a website division to call about using music on your website.

The reason I wanted to post this is the prices I got. I always thought it would be outrageously high to do this and its not. If you want a contract with BMI, call them and they will send you the right form to fill out. Don't just fill it out and send it in, it may be the wrong thing.
Message: Posted by: idomagic (Mar 17, 2010 11:08PM)
I grew up in the music business. My dad is a long time producer and artist. I worked my families record label doing IP law for 15+ years and can affirm a lot of what is posted here. But I though everyone would like this:

These organizations here in the US do LICENSING. They are the ones that will confirm that the venue must have a license. I recommend having a line in your contract about a release of liability for music if they do not have a license.

BMI: 212-586-2000
ASCAP: 800-992-7227
SESAC: 615-320-0055

Harry Fox is who you contact if you want to cover a song. You can't just record someone elses song without getting a release and license. Call them for details.

Harry Fox: 212-834-0100

Finally, if you have any legal question about music, CALL an Intellectual Property (IP) lawyer. DO NOT call just any lawyer, make sure they do IP Law!
Message: Posted by: MagicJack99 (May 7, 2010 10:21PM)
I read the entire Thread and I think there is one issue that was not covered.
If you rent a theater for your own show, sell your own tickets and basically produce the show yourself as the Magician, then would you as the Magician also be the Venue that is required to get the license? I am basically paying myself to do the show.
I cant very well stand there in front of the "Authorities" and say "go talk to the venue owners", when they did nothing but rent me the space. On the other hand, is it a Private show? Only ticket holders are "invited"? even though they are part of the public? very confusing as I see it. One last point, If you only use a few music pieces, like for example you play two or three pieces from the same CD, it might be worth writing a letter to the artist to get written permission, might save you a lot of trouble if you only use those few pieces. When I was younger I used a certain Jazz CD, (I will not mention the name in case the authorities view these posts...lol) But I only use about 3 songs total, Never was asked about a licensed but it would have been good to have a letter. Today I just use music made for magic, I buy it and I get the rights to use it in my shows, makes life real easy.
Message: Posted by: DominotheGreat (Apr 1, 2011 03:57PM)
Wow some good info as this is always good to know with music and etc.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (May 17, 2011 12:22AM)
Very informative thread...but not on my dime

I don't know if anyone caught Conan O'Brien last week but he had a musical comedy bit about the band playing recognizable songs. The famous songs were changed, however slightly, yet still retained recognition. This bit was all done to poke fun of The Music Industry's lameness. Conan and the band could not be sued for infringment.

What does it all mean?

It means the power of music transcends even corporations in it's effort to be heard. The nature of music itself lends us a hand when it comes to creativity and recognition.

As muses, we can easily mimic a song and then change it into something new that previously didn't exist yet retain recognition. Creation in the fine arts comes naturally to the experienced musician.

But what if you're not a musician?

Making music today has never been easier with all the software available to the computer user. These days, you can cut a few loops and have a driving beat going in a few minutes. This newly created music is your property with no strings attached to use as you please.

Total clutz with computers?

You can pay a basement studio a modest amount to throw together some of "your" personal favorites and have the engineer change it up a bit with software all studios have into a new song. This newly created music is your property with no strings attached to use as you please.

Yes, the music industry is lame in the fact that it really inhibits creativity to independent film-making (Indy). Our movies could be so much better with famous music but there's little budget. But with the power of music, through it's very nature, the industry falls flat on it's face like Conan demonstrated.

Music transcends business very easily as it should. From our lofty vista, muses look down on the industry with scowl and disdain yet rejoice in music's spiritual freedoms.

I personally wouldn't even bother calling those suckers...but that's just me :lol:
Message: Posted by: windrunner (Jul 29, 2011 11:42AM)
It is my understanding that if audience does not pay for the performance copyrighted music is legal. In other words, the Magician gets paid by let's say a school but the students don't buy a ticket. It is when each member of the audience pays (or buys a ticket) you are required to use performance music. If someone could clarify it for me that would be great. I currently use performance rights music for safety. It is easy to find on the internet.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Nov 22, 2011 06:58PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-29 12:42, windrunner wrote:
It is my understanding that if audience does not pay for the performance copyrighted music is legal. In other words, the Magician gets paid by let's say a school but the students don't buy a ticket. It is when each member of the audience pays (or buys a ticket) you are required to use performance music. If someone could clarify it for me that would be great. I currently use performance rights music for safety. It is easy to find on the internet.
[/quote]

Your understanding is incorrect.
Message: Posted by: Powermagic (Dec 29, 2011 09:06AM)
Donal you can not just state that without clarification to why the post is incorrect.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Jan 4, 2012 07:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-12-29 10:06, Powermagic wrote:
Donal you can not just state that without clarification to why the post is incorrect.
[/quote]

??? It's incorrect because it's incorrect. There is nothing in U.S. Copyright Law or in ASCAP's/BMI's agreements with its members that permits a performer to legally make public use of copyrighted music without first having secured the required licenses (yes, more than one license is required; a minimum of two and possibly three) or waivers just because the performer doesn't get compensated directly by the audience...or even if he/she doesn't get compensated at all.

As an aside, there are numerous threads here at the Café on the subject of the use of copyrighted music, and while many of them are woefully ignorant or incomplete, there are several threads--this one included--that provide accurate and, in some case, complete and detailed information. I see no need to research those threads on behalf of the OP.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Jan 4, 2012 07:45PM)
You are correct, Donal.
Message: Posted by: Illusionist (Feb 1, 2013 07:25PM)
I just make my own. No worrys, no hassle and I can make it fit my routine. I like simple!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Feb 7, 2013 09:46PM)
Between the music licensing headaches and the fairly new concept of purchasing "performance rights" for the tricks themselves, maybe it would be better for those of those of us who are part-time pros and amateurs to take up some other avocation. Origami anyone?

At least we can be grateful that Buatier de Kolta's estate does not require a fee for performing "The Multiplying Billiard Balls." At least, I _think_ that trick is now in the public domain--although some of the recently published routines and moves may not be.

And think of how much money Bob Carver and Hen Fetsch would have made if magicians had to pay performance rights for "The Professor's Nightmare." Not to mention Burling Hull and the Svengali deck/TV Magic Cards.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Jason Johnson (Apr 23, 2013 08:02AM)
I'm a percussionist in a local community band in Houston and serve on their Board of Directors. As a band, we have to annualy renew our ASCAP and BMI licenses so we can perform the music we play. We recorded a CD last summer, and we had to purchase additional rights to record each song which was not cheap.

As a church drummer of 19 years, I have learned what people have already stated on this thread that music used in worship only doesn't require a performing license unless it is transmitted beyond the service area. I've wanted to video myself playing on Sunday mornings but the copyright issue is the reason why I haven't. If I do a magic show at a church, I would still have to aquire a performing license unless I did royalty free music.
Message: Posted by: magiccube (Sep 10, 2017 04:06PM)
For online magic videos I recommend royalty free music from:
- Bensound (www.bendsound.com)
- Miguel Angel Fabre Collection (especially the title: NEBULOSA and Sentimento)
- Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)
- ChatBlanc Music Collection
- Royalty-Free music from Soundcloud (Some composer give it away for free)

For Live performances:
- Get a royalty-free music CD either in your local magic store or from Amazon.
- Links above.