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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:51 AM   #16
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Re: Suggestions for approaching congressman re: copyright issues

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Originally Posted by Sam Houchins II View Post
......The imbalance to me is that Congress has seen fit to make mandatory exceptions for audio performances and audio duplication/distribution and not similar exemptions for video recording live performances or synching to wedding videos.

LOL
Slight correction. Congress didn't make performance licenses mandatory. They didn't need to. After all, what is the point of composing a copyrighted song if you never license it for performance? What they did, at the music industry's prompting, was make it easier for performers to acquire performance licenses and to pay the royalties due from public performances by authorizing the creation of the Rights Societies such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc, to act as clearing houses for performance tracking and royalty payments. Similarly, compulsary mechanical licenses do not license the duplication or copying of existing audio recordings, they license the creation and distribution of NEW audio recordings of new performances as covers of songs that have already been released to the public as an original recording.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #17
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Re: Suggestions for approaching congressman re: copyright issues

Please forgive me for saying this, because I don't understand US rights as much as I do the UK system - but what you're really asking is for a new system to make life easier for businesses who have to deal at the moment with labour intensive, complex authorisations to make everything legally acceptable? I really can't see our MPs here in the UK putting their weight behind something that merely inconveniences businesses. It doesn't stop them providing the product. Wedding video people do seem very polarised - they are the same here too. There's currently a UK pressure group trying to put together a code of practice/conduct during weddings because many vicars over here, fed up with the intrusion some thoughtless video people cause in the religious buildings - they are banning or severely limiting video access. No cameras near the couple, no movement during the service. Some vicars have started warning the couple on the day that these rules are in force, and it's causing very bad feeling.

The problem is that many wedding video people feel that as they've been commissioned to do the video, they have the right to do what they want, record what they want and use music they want. They're not against paying for the copyright, but they want it on their terms. They're also the first to complain when their wedding video is stolen by an unscrupulous video firm, somewhere else in the country and put on their web site. You frequently hear complaints that x has stolen y's footage and used it without permission, yet pinching somebodies else's music is ok?

Our PPL and PRS organisations do pretty well really, acting on behalf of the copyright owners, and we do have systems to make purchase of rights quick and reasonable simple - but some people still complain.

We also have the belief that personal use is fine - when it's not really, it's just that nobody is interested in attempting to collect personal use fees - the paperwork would be more expensive than the income. Hence personal use is rarely investigated. Not quite the same as saying it's legal.

If the US system of getting legislation passed in anything like our one, complaining to your representative is rather pointless unless there's public support. As an example, when the TV digital changeover was announced and we got informed we would lose our radio microphone allocation in channel 69, replacing it with channel 38 - meaning new kit, we were encouraged to contact our MP and complain, and request him to support something called an 'early day motion' in the House of Commons. Mine replied and said that as he is a Government Minister, this would go against his party policy, so he couldn't support us. He did, however, write a nice letter to the Minister in charge.

As it happened - we did actually get quite good compensation for surrendering our equipment about to be made obsolete, which was nice.

Would your representative really support this issue, and try to get it debated?
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Old May 29th, 2011, 07:16 AM   #18
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Re: Suggestions for approaching congressman re: copyright issues

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Slight correction. Congress didn't make performance licenses mandatory.
It's mandatory in the sense that if a performer wants to use a copyrighted work, and record the audio of their performance, there's no refusal rights by the copyright holder, and it doesn't take direct negotiations, or involve subjective, variable fees.
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
They didn't need to. After all, what is the point of composing a copyrighted song if you never license it for performance? What they did, at the music industry's prompting, was make it easier for performers to acquire performance licenses and to pay the royalties due from public performances by authorizing the creation of the Rights Societies such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc, to act as clearing houses for performance tracking and royalty payments.
This same reasoning should apply to videotaping the legal performances of the licensed music, or live events where the music is legally heard, and synching to wedding videos. These are additional opportunities for the composers to earn more money.
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Similarly, compulsary mechanical licenses do not license the duplication or copying of existing audio recordings, they license the creation and distribution of NEW audio recordings of new performances as covers of songs that have already been released to the public as an original recording.
Yes, and I'd like easy access to compulsory licensing for new video of those new performances. No reason not to provide for video as well.
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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Would your representative really support this issue, and try to get it debated?
I don't know, but I certainly hope so. I'm sure they won't if they aren't asked. I particularly like our Representative where we are. I'm close to D.C., so politics are pretty much a part of every day life around here ;-)

Last edited by Sam Houchins II; May 29th, 2011 at 01:24 PM.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:17 PM   #19
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Re: Suggestions for approaching congressman re: copyright issues

Sam, also remember there are at last two licenses involved when a musical recording occurs in a film or video soundtrack. The first is the sync license on the melody and words and the other is the master use license for whatever specific recording of those words and music is used. If you're going to model the changes to law on the compulsary mechanical licenses, that would only cover the sync license side of things, the license to use the words and melody. The compulsary mechanical for audio recordings ONLY applies to distribution of a new recording of a new performance ... it does not permit copying an existing, already released recording. So unless the videographer was ready to make a fresh recording of a live performance or is recording a live performance at the event, extending the compulsary licensing to cover using music in a video doesn't help him any. If he wanted to use an already existing recording of the music he would still need to obtain the necessary license to copy that master recording from the label that released it ... the license on the music itself wouldn't extend that far. Indeed, that is the situation with sync licenses today ... obtaining one on the music still doesn't grant the right to use any particular recording of the music. Even with the sync license from the music's publisher, if he wants to capture recorded music played at the event or drop in music from commercial CD, he'd still need to obtain the master use licenses. Makig sync licenses compulsary won't change that.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:26 PM   #20
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Re: Suggestions for approaching congressman re: copyright issues

Sam -

Perhaps a suggestion - understanding the progression of how computer horsepower affects such things (especially in the consumer market place) might be helpful to your approach.

Computers (digital revolution) started being big huge things, capable of rather crude "manipulation", better handled by analog (typewriters/printing presses/vinyl records/film, etc.) recording/reproduction/distribution.

Along the way... (Word Perfect) they were able to effectively manipulate B&W text as horsepower became available... and clunky but effective printers allowed analog output.

Further on, (Photoshop) manipulation if images in full color became practical...

Another area that benefitted from more capable computers was audio, allowing a realtively extensive production capability in a small space...

Right now we're watching video fall to the digital revolution, in glorious High Definition...

AND we are actually probably on the verge of seeing the "computer" be replaced by varying sizes of display devices (phone/tablet/larger touchscreen) with small personal memory chips and a "computer" inside we don't even think much about...


Not sure what's next, although I wonder if perhaps the carbon based element of the equation may become "obsolete" and outmoded...

Point being is that as digital has replaced analog in one area after another, prices drop, capablities increase, and possiblities open up for better or for worse. The same scanner that lets me make a copy legally can also be used to make an illegal copy to be mass produced... The web site that replaced the morning paper is mirrored by a website that illegally distributes less than savory content, or programs that do harm...

Best one can hope for is to understand how the increase in potential brought on by the digital revolution can be guided in a positive way for the best possible outcome. Part of that equation is protecting IP without overly restricting it such that it chokes the value or the overall economy. Tricky stuff to be sure!
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