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Old August 29th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #31
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I know it may be expensive but it isn't always. But more importantly, why do people think they have a moral RIGHT to have access to everything at a price that's affordable for their budget?
Don't put words in my mouth. I happily paid the same amount for 150 copies of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" as the next guy. It's not the price of the IP that blows the budget, it's the cost of getting it. Whether it's yours or you pay a service. It's easy to get a performance license for an audio track. The process hits the skids when you want a sync or mechanical. Different administrators you have to find ... different process with each place ... no phone access ... many only work by old fashioned fax ... lack of central clearing houses like BMI etc.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #32
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Sorry, didn't mean to put words in your mouth. Mechanicals are relatively easy - you just go to Harry Fox Agency, at least in the States. I'll certainly agree it could be a lot easier and cheaper to get sync and master use clearance and it would be nice and make life a whole lot simpler for small video producers and indy filmmakers if it was. I'm just not so sure there's a compelling reason to say that it ought to be, if you get the difference. The owners of the IP can do whatever they wish with their property - make it as hard or as easy as they see fit. After all, it's their property and the roadblocks to our using it are their choice. Remember that ASCAP and BMI are in some ways similar to IP owner's co-ops - they came into being as societies of rights owners because they saw it was to their advantage to establish a central clearing agency for performance royalties. It's similarly up to the rights owners to see it as something that benefits them to establish similar clearance societies for sync and master licenses. Apparently they either don't see it as something that's in their interest or it's just that it's more trouble than it's worth to deal with small volume users. It's just the nature of the beast that when Speilberg's office calls asking permission to use someone's song in his next movie they're going to to get a lot more attention than does a call from Joe Snerdly's event video services wanting to use it in the video of the annual meeting of the local ice cream chain's stockholders.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #33
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Worth watching. A very interesting discussion of IP.
RIP! A Remix Manifesto
Hulu - RiP! A Remix Manifesto - Watch the full feature film now.

If you don't want to watch on Hulu then the film owner is using the pay what you want to pay method of sales to buy your own copy.
RIP: A Remix Manifesto Rip It Downloads


Their description:
"Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A remix manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Biomedical engineer turned live-performance sensation Girl Talk, has received immense commercial and critical success for his mind-blowing sample-based music. Utilizing technical expertise and a ferocious creative streak, Girl Talk repositions popular music to create a wild and edgy dialogue between artists from all genres and eras. But are his practices legal? Do his methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?"
VERY thought provoking movie - and it really hit a few key points - when a consumer decides to be a creator (imitator/restyler/thief?) is where you hit a problem. If one is prohibited from recombining, reusing bits, mixing things together, and so on, where is the "next big thing" to come from? Sounds like a drab boring prepackaged sci-fi nightmare society! Also reminiscent of the "Carterphone" case once again - control of one's "idea" doesn't mean ABSOLUTE control and a right to bar any and every possible use/variation/derivation...

I found it VERY interesting to note that the law as it is hasn't always been so, and that in the early days of the US, "international" copyright rules were brazenly ignored... it would appear that Walt Disney, Mark Twain, and those of us advocating stretching the boundaries aren't quite as mad as it might seem - I'll be counted in such revolutionary company any day.

Even more fascinating was the recent governmental attempt to change the US from a "producer" to a licensor of ideas, and the relative failure of such a philosophical approach...

REASONABLE protection of intellectual property is important to encourage the profitable research and development of new ideas/processes/products, but there must be a balance. If the "consumer" is only there to CONSUME at the convenience and profit of the corporate (meaning an incorporated entity, not the collective population), it's a pretty sad state of things.

It's as if one were to coypyright the numbers "1" and "0", along with the notes A through G, sharps and flats inclusive... since computers only talk in 1's and 0's, and music generally speaking requires the use of the aforementioned notes, I suppose sizable royalty checks would be expected post haste... but creativity would be strangled.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #34
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Sorry, didn't mean to put words in your mouth. Mechanicals are relatively easy - you just go to Harry Fox Agency, at least in the States. I'll certainly agree it could be a lot easier and cheaper to get sync and master use clearance and it would be nice and make life a whole lot simpler for small video producers and indy filmmakers if it was. I'm just not so sure there's a compelling reason to say that it ought to be, if you get the difference. The owners of the IP can do whatever they wish with their property - make it as hard or as easy as they see fit. After all, it's their property and the roadblocks to our using it are their choice.
Well that was my point. The current situation is set against the small guy. It's easy to get a performance license. But for videotaping a school performance, Harry Fox doesn't do it. You need a sync license with mechanical rights. That was the issue I was pointing out and it's prohibitive. You can't even do a high school graduation without 20 hours of research and licensing for a couple songs and ultimately get snubbed. That's my point. Sync is still old think and it's biased against the small markets whereas, for some reason, the other licenses are not.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 04:43 AM   #35
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The idea of a sync license isn't biased per se but it may very well be that most of the large publishers and copyright owners just don't want to deal with small-market operators because the revenue they would get from licensing such small quantity distributions doesn't offset their administrative costs, it just isn't worth it to them. License a thousand copies and the revenue justifies the secretary's time filing the paperwork; license 25 copies and you don't even cover the postage to get the license paperwork to you.

As a side bar - you don't need a mechanical license to distribute DVDs of the show. Sync yes but the sync license will include the rights to copy and distribute copies of the video. A mechanical is for reproduction as an audio-only recording. If you make a CD of the performance, you need the mechanical in order to duplicate it and distribute the copies. But if you're only distributing the video of the show on DVD, the sync license covers it. And for the CD, the mechanical is easy and cheap. Harry Fox has online payment and reporting for compulsary mechanical licenses ... 9.1 cents per CD copy per song for songs lasting under 5 minutes, 1.75 cents per minute per copy of songs lasting more than 5 minutes.

"You will never need a synchronization license AND a mechanical license for a single re-creation. Both cover royalty payments to the songwriter for their composition, but mechanical licenses are for AUDIO-ONLY, whereas synchronization licenses are for video. They are like compliments of each other; one is for audio, one is for video." - EasySongLicensing.com
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Last edited by Steve House; August 30th, 2009 at 05:31 AM.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 06:36 AM   #36
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That's what I said several posts ago. For whatever the reason, sync licensing is stuck in the dino age where as other licensing is centralized, and online. That makes it cost effective for us to get them (separate from the actual licensing costs). Sync isn't like that and therefore is more costly for us to acquire and no doubt for them to issue. The admin costs of sync make it baised against the small operations who could get these jobs recording performances.

I know the sync includes the mechanical. My point was that for the jobs that are the subject of this thread (recording school plays, graduations etc), you can't say it's easy and go to Harry Fox. You need a sync license. You have to find out who does the sync license and go through the specific procedure. Rinse and repeat for each song. Or pay someone else to do it. The work doesn't disappear, it just moves around.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #37
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Fox Agency used to do synch licenses as well as mechanicals but in 2002 they dropped that part of their services. I wonder why.... Since HFA was founded by and represents the Music Publishers Association we can only assume they did so because the major IP owners want it that way but it would be interesting to find out the exact reasons. At least the combination of HFA's searchable online database with ASCAP's makes it fairly straightforward and free to locate the copyright owners. But like I've said, using a clearance agency who deals with them every day and knows just who to call and is on a first-name basis with them is likely to get it done faster and cheaper than doing it yourself even after you've added the agent's fee to the costs.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:35 AM   #38
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To recap, my point in this thread is that for small-one-person producers who honor IP ownership and seek licenses for all jobs, the system is biased against us and prevents the market of videotaping school programs and selling to the limited audience market. Only small producers can serve this market. Big ones can't afford it. Whatever the reason, getting a sync license is prohibitive and prevents the producer from "doing it right".

But not to be totally negative, this space IS better these days than it was 3-4 years ago but even today, it's not that simple. HFA doesn't always tell you ALL the publishers. Here's an average example from my experience in the last year that caused the performance getting pulled from the recording due to lack of license:

Here's what I got from the school: "All I'll Ever Need" words and music by Julie Adkison

If you search HFA, you have to first answer 4 irrelevant questions about getting an audio license before you can search, then you'll see the results showing 3 publishers of which only 2 are listed comprising 49% ownership. The other 51% is "non-HFA"

When you search ASCAP, they show no owners and just say you have to call an ASCAP rep but no location and hours are listed there or on the Contact Us page.

It's 10pm so this is now a dead end.

Truth is, there are more sites you need to search. They are:
http://www.ascap.com
BMI.com | Welcome
SESAC Home
U.S. Copyright Office

In this case, you are lucky and a search of BMI reveals another publisher is warner-tamerline but there is not a link to anything like there is for the other publishers. Warner-Tamerline doesn't exist. Google reveals it's now Warner-Chappell.

Go to Warner-Chappell's website and do a search. You will discover 30 hits with the identical song name but one of them lists Julie Curlew (not Adkison). Fortunately, you are doing this AFTER searching other sites where other writers were listed and you can corelate it's indeed the right one and Julie must have gotten divorced or married.

Fill out a license request as best you can for their view of licensing so you can make 25 DVDs of a student performing the song (it isn't always obvious). Wait days and weeks and nothing will happen. Your request always shows as $00 with status "manual". Call them and tell the voice response unit you want licensing. You will get an answering machine EVERY time and NEVER get a call back. Call ALL 6 people in the directory and you will ALWAYS get a machine. Don't be a pest and only leave one message a day. Nobody will EVER return your call or contact requests. EVER.

So even tho SONY/ATV and Grayson Castle responded immediately with T&C's, they won't issue a license until you have T&C's from all owners.

This is only for a sync. Rinse and repeat for all the songs in the program. Other license types don't take this much effort. No matter who does it, for SYNC licensing, someone has to make all the calls and track down all the owners. I think it should take the Administrating company the same amount of energy to issue a license to a small producer as a big one: review, forward, get approval, click, click, click. Doesn't matter if it's for $35 or $3500.

For an example of a great one-stop-shop: www.musicservices.com. They are great if they admin the song. It's all online, the form is simple and response time is a couple days for a license.

But the best development I know of is this recent service which could be like .65 per song per copy (for songs they admin) or $400 a year to do the research etc for songs they don't.

VideoReady License - Pre-cleared song and recording licenses for video synchronization

Last edited by Les Wilson; September 4th, 2009 at 06:14 PM. Reason: added: small-one-person
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Old September 5th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #39
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Hey Les,

Thanks for the post.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #40
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....
For an example of a great one-stop-shop: www.musicservices.com. They are great if they admin the song. It's all online, the form is simple and response time is a couple days for a license.

But the best development I know of is this recent service which could be like .65 per song per copy (for songs they admin) or $400 a year to do the research etc for songs they don't.

VideoReady License - Pre-cleared song and recording licenses for video synchronization
There are a couple of problems with the licensing service you linked to. First is they only license songs by "Christian" artists. That right there means your selection of songs is going to be very limited to one specific genre - not much good for a public school musical or theatrical event. Likewise it appears they only clear copyrights for customers who are churches and church-related activites. And finally, from their site...

What's Not Covered
•Webcasting your videos
•Digital downloading your video
...
...
•Commercial videos
...

If you're shooting a performance and selling the DVDs to the participants, attendees, or interested parents in the case of a school production, even it's only on a casual basis, you're making and distributiing a "commercial video." If it's sold to someone, even if just to a handfull of customers or for that matter even if it's just produced for and sold to ONE customer (like a typical wedding video), that makes it a commercial video. And no posting online or on YouTube and such...
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Old September 6th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #41
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There are a couple of problems with the licensing service you linked to. First is they only license songs by "Christian" artists. That right there means your selection of songs is going to be very limited to one specific genre - not much good for a public school musical or theatrical event.
Steve, he didn't say "here's a service everyone can use", he said "here's an example of a one-stop-shop". Simply an example of how a good music licensing service might work.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #42
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There are a couple of problems with the licensing service you linked to. First is they only license songs by "Christian" artists. That right there means your selection of songs is going to be very limited to one specific genre - not much good for a public school musical or theatrical event. Likewise it appears they only clear copyrights for customers who are churches and church-related activites. And finally, from their site...

What's Not Covered
•Webcasting your videos
•Digital downloading your video
...
...
•Commercial videos
...
Right. It's an example of another opportunity some of us have to make productions but the onerous process makes prohibitive. For the music it carries, the service makes the activities covered able to be done with a license and a much improved level of effort to acquire proper licenses. I've not actually used it yet. YMMV
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Old September 7th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #43
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Right. It's an example of another opportunity some of us have to make productions but the onerous process makes prohibitive. For the music it carries, the service makes the activities covered able to be done with a license and a much improved level of effort to acquire proper licenses. I've not actually used it yet. YMMV
In a limited market segment such as the example site, you're right. But to extend it to music licenses as a whole, I'm not sure it could work. One of the major issues would be that owners of IP want to retain control over who they license and how their IP is used. A centralized clearance house that handled the paperwork and issued licenses without the need for direct negotiation between the filmmaker and music owner makes that impossible. Supposing you were one of the "Christian" artists represented on that site and the videographer who wished to acquire sync and master licenses to some of your music was planning to use it in the soundtrack of a porno to mock Christianity or in a documentary sharply critical of the surge in Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity - how would that sit with you? If the concept of some sort of mandatory licensing for sync and/or master use rights was created, similar to what exists now with the mandatory mechanical licensing for covers, the owners of the IP would no longer have control over who gets to use it when because a third party has assumed that role and processes licenses for all comers. In order to preserve the owner's "hands-on" control we're right back to direct negotiation between the IP owner and parties who wish to use the music, precisely what we have now.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #44
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A centralized clearance house that handled the paperwork and issued licenses without the need for direct negotiation between the filmmaker and music owner makes that impossible.
i never suggested removing approval. In fact I specified it in a prior post as part of the process. Having a small number of clearing houses for sync licenses will make it on par with BMI/SESAC/HFA for performance licensing is needed. It already exists with these smaller ones I've mentioned in the Christian segment. To get a license, you describe the project (among other things). They approve it themselves or get the approval. It's transparent. The process is online, modern, scalable and makes the process affordable for the bread and butter licensing needs of the small producers. The current situation is archaic, oriented around the big projects and is needlessly onerous for the simple ones. It could be fixed without loss of control by IP owners and all markets would benefit. I argue the total market would even expand.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #45
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i never suggested removing approval. In fact I specified it in a prior post as part of the process. Having a small number of clearing houses for sync licenses will make it on par with BMI/SESAC/HFA for performance licensing is needed. It already exists with these smaller ones I've mentioned in the Christian segment. To get a license, you describe the project (among other things). They approve it themselves or get the approval. It's transparent. The process is online, modern, scalable and makes the process affordable for the bread and butter licensing needs of the small producers. The current situation is archaic, oriented around the big projects and is needlessly onerous for the simple ones. It could be fixed without loss of control by IP owners and all markets would benefit. I argue the total market would even expand.
Sync licensing is categorically different from either performance licensing or mechanicals in that the latter are not licensing the IP to be incorporated into a separately copyrighted derivative work. Performance licensing and mechanicals are all about collecting royalties for the use of the work for its intended purpose. Sync licenses are about taking the IP and making it a material part of some new IP owned by another person.

I think small producers shouldn't forget that music IP owners are producing their work out of their own self interest and they're not doing it to benefit the videographer who might want to use it. If they have no interest in selling licenses to you, they're not under any obligation to do so. Certainly it would benefit the videographer for the process to be simpler and cheaper but that's not the issue - the question is, would it benefit the IP owner, adding sufficiently to his bottom line for them to make it worth the hassle of dealing with small producers? I certainly agree with you that it would be nice if it was simple and cheap, I just am not so sure that there are any compelling arguments that it ought to be.
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