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#1766791 - 06/15/07 01:24 AM licsence, copyright, legal legal legal
Brother_Dave Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 16
Loc: San Angelo TX`
So I'm kinda starting to entertain a notion to something I think might be more hassle than it's worth. I'm a private music instructor. I teach quite a few instruments, including voice. This means that I get more than a couple of students who do pagents. Some are girls who think they're pretty and need a talent so they turn to singing, and some are girls who love to sing, but have no other avenues to do so in public. Pagents have time limits. Im am often helping a student try and edit her song to get it down to 2 minutes. Lots of times I've taken a song home to my studio to record a more authentic representation of what we have worked in lessons. That way, the tempo is how she likes it, and it's in the absolute best key. This has gotten me thinking. There are surely other girls who need this same service. Custom arrangements of the songs they like to sing. I could actually make a little more money doin' that.

So here's my question. If I intend to make these custom cd's, do I need to obtain a liscence? If so, how do I do that??

Thanks in advance

Dave

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#1767452 - 06/16/07 05:20 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Brother_Dave]
Dave Martin Offline
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Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 961
Loc: Nashville
Brother Dave,

An online forum is really a terrible place to get legal advice, but...

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you (In fact, I've been in your position and I haven't worried about it); licensing has to do with making the song 'available to the general public', and you're not doing that - you're simply performing a service for a client. Things would change if you started selling those songs, however...

Good luck with it though - most of the parents of the pageant kids who call me for that sort of work think that they can get a custom track for $40 or $50, and change their minds when I give them a detailed estimate.
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Java Jive Studio
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#1768869 - 06/19/07 10:14 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Dave Martin]
Brother_Dave Offline
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Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 16
Loc: San Angelo TX`
Dave,
Thanks a lot. I feel a lot better. But that does spark another question in me. The "karaoke" companies have to pay licensing (I'm a pitiful speller by the way)fees for the songs they provide, right? How does one go about doing that? Do you contact someone like ASCAP, the cd publisher, the artist, or another entity? Not that I ever plan on trying something like that. I'm just now VERY curious how it works. The only liscencing info I can find online deals with a performer using the tracks, not the recording of those tracks to begin with.

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#1778529 - 07/08/07 10:25 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Brother_Dave]
Dave Martin Offline
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Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 961
Loc: Nashville
The karaoke companies go to the publisher; You see, with karaoke, there are two licenses involved - the first is the mechanical royalty, which has a statutory rate (currently 9.1 cents per song), which the publisher can't refuse (compulsory licenses are just that), but karaoke disks also have video (the words are on the screen) so a sync license is also required - and the publisher doesn't have to issue a sync license at all, or they can ask an impossible amount if they so choose...

I've also been told that the publisher doesn't HAVE to allow the lyrics to a song to even be printed on the CD, much less on a karaoke disk (the only reason I remember that is that the last CD I released on my label has one license that specifically permits the lyrics to be printed).
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Java Jive Studio
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http://www.cuppajoerecords.com

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#1839781 - 11/12/07 12:05 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Dave Martin]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
If I read this right, you're recording demos for clients. Assuming you are not duplicating or selling these, then you are doing nothing that would be copyright infringement, nor is the artist. Only if you attempt to distribute and/or sell these works, or broadcast them does it become an infringement.

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#1851957 - 12/05/07 02:50 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Griffinator Offline
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You can make your recordings as a service for your existing clients - however, you cannot formally charge them for that completed work - that would be distributing for compensation.

You can, however, bill them an hourly rate equal to your normal charge for lessons et al, times however many hours it takes to equal what you intended to charge them for producing the CD... and call it a labor charge. ;\)

It's a loosey-goosey workaround, but it keeps you legit.


Edited by Griffinator (12/05/07 02:50 PM)

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#1852324 - 12/06/07 10:17 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
 Originally Posted By: Griffinator
You can make your recordings as a service for your existing clients - however, you cannot formally charge them for that completed work - that would be distributing for compensation.


No that would be fee for service, in this case the service being recording. If the client duplicates the recording and gives it away, sells it, or uses it in any way other than for personal use, allowing it to be publicly broadcast, etc., that would be illegal without permission.

It's not illegal to record copywritten material, it's what you DO with the recording that becomes a violation of copyright laws.

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#1852326 - 12/06/07 10:18 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Griffinator Offline
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The key is how it's billed, AR. If you charge them for the CD, that's selling a CD, which is illegal distribution. If you charge them for labor and/or consulting, and give them the actual physical disc for free, then you're ok.

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#1852371 - 12/06/07 11:45 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
No that's delivering the goods from the service performed they paid for. You don't own the recording, the client does when they pay for it. Often artists record cover songs for otherwise original CD's long before they actually get the rights to release it. There's no law against recording it, where it ends up on some form of medium, be it HDD, CD, etc., It becomes an illegal act if you publically distribute or broadcast it without permission.

Handing the client a copy of work they paid to have done is not illegal. Them distributing it however is. You are only providing a service, and delivery of the finished (or unfinished) work is not illegal.

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#1852506 - 12/06/07 04:22 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Griffinator Offline
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So you're suggesting that me recording an arrangement of a song, and then charging someone for a copy of that arrangement doesn't qualify as "public distribution"?

Not trying to start an argument, just trying to clarify in my own mind where exactly the line is drawn. It seems to me what he intends to do here is create a "Karaoke" style disc with a modified arrangement of a given song.

Legally, he can't give anyone a copy of his own performance of a song and receive payment for that copy - technically, he can't even perform that song in a club that doesn't have an ASCAP license.

That's why I kept harping on a "consultation" charge - where he bills it as a fee for helping them figure out an arrangement that works best for them, and then giving them a copy of the music for free - then he's not profiting off the actual recording per sec, but rather the advice and assistance he gives.


Edited by Griffinator (12/06/07 04:26 PM)

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#1852511 - 12/06/07 04:28 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
Griffinator Offline
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As an aside...

Even "giving it away" can be hairy - schools get into trouble all the time because their budgets won't allow music teachers to actually buy legit copies of sheet music, so they turn to photocopying, which is expressly prohibited by ASCAP licensing.

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#1852810 - 12/07/07 08:56 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
No that's not public distribution, that's fee for service and delivery of goods.

It matters not if you are selling or giving away publicy, you can not in any way distribute without permission.

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#1852839 - 12/07/07 09:45 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Griffinator Offline
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Right - which is why he has to bill it as a consultation fee...

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#1853030 - 12/07/07 03:33 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
No, you bill for time and materials.

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#1853273 - 12/08/07 06:40 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Griffinator Offline
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I think we're both seeing this the same way, just using different language.

Point being, he can't write a bill for the CD itself, it has to be some sort of labor charge, with maybe a buck for the blank CD.


Edited by Griffinator (12/08/07 06:40 AM)

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#1853466 - 12/08/07 01:48 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
You are billiing for recording time, that's the service. You deliver, upon payment, some format of the recording, CD, HDD, etc. What the material is doesn't matter, the studio/engineer is not violating any copywrite by recording it. It's the client that can potentially violate the copyright if they distribute it in any way.

There is nothing illegal about recording copywritten material. It's distribution that is the illegal part. Course what would be the point of recording if you don't intend of distribution, but that's the reality of the situation.

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#1858426 - 12/17/07 05:59 PM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
SilverDragonSoun Offline
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 Originally Posted By: audiorulez
You are billiing for recording time, that's the service. You deliver, upon payment, some format of the recording, CD, HDD, etc. What the material is doesn't matter, the studio/engineer is not violating any copywrite by recording it. It's the client that can potentially violate the copyright if they distribute it in any way.

There is nothing illegal about recording copywritten material. It's distribution that is the illegal part. Course what would be the point of recording if you don't intend of distribution, but that's the reality of the situation.



Are you ever agreeable with anyone? ;\)
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#1858651 - 12/18/07 07:39 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: SilverDragonSoun]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
The point herre is that as a recording studio, a client can pay to record anything they want, regardless of any copyright on the material. The studio can legally charge for that recording, as the studio is providing a service. The studio can (and most do) even charge for the material (the actual CD) and are doing nothing illegal. However the client/artist can NOT, without permission through the proper legal channels, distribute this in any way, be it via a free giveaway CD at a gig, use it for promotional material to agents, web/podcast, or even post on a band website, etc., as doing so would be a violation of copyright law. The client/artist, and only the client/artist would be liable, the studio, having not violated any copyright laws, would be completely in the clear.

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#1858666 - 12/18/07 08:15 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: audiorulez]
Gismo Recording Offline
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Registered: 12/20/06
Posts: 853
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
"The point herre is that as a recording studio, a client can pay to record anything they want, regardless of any copyright on the material."

That may be your point but it's not what the OP was asking.
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#1858814 - 12/18/07 12:28 PM The Truth be told.... [Re: Gismo Recording]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
 Originally Posted By: Brother_Dave
So here's my question. If I intend to make these custom cd's, do I need to obtain a liscence? If so, how do I do that??


 Originally Posted By: audiorulez
"The point here is that as a recording studio, a client can pay to record anything they want, regardless of any copyright on the material."


 Originally Posted By: Gismo Recording
That may be your point but it's not what the OP was asking.


It is exactly what the OP was asking. The OP was concerned about any legal fallback from recording part or all of a copywritten piece of music for a client.

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#1863958 - 12/30/07 08:58 AM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: audiorulez]
SilverDragonSoun Offline
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Registered: 04/08/05
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 Originally Posted By: audiorulez
 Originally Posted By: Brother_Dave
So here's my question. If I intend to make these custom cd's, do I need to obtain a liscence? If so, how do I do that??


 Originally Posted By: audiorulez
"The point here is that as a recording studio, a client can pay to record anything they want, regardless of any copyright on the material."


 Originally Posted By: Gismo Recording
That may be your point but it's not what the OP was asking.


It is exactly what the OP was asking. The OP was concerned about any legal fallback from recording part or all of a copywritten piece of music for a client.


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Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive
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#1864252 - 12/30/07 09:18 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: SilverDragonSoun]
Griffinator Offline
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SDS: The problem here is that AR refuses to acknowledge a very basic tenet of copyright law.

Is there anything illegal about the OP recording an arrangement of a copyrighted song? Certainly not.

However, what he fails to understand is that the very act of handing that to someone else (regardless of their intent) for a fee is distributing a for-profit recording.

If I went and recorded a cover of some famous song and distributed it for $1 per download on the internet, I'd still be on the hook for royalties to the original songwriter. The number of listeners would pretty much determine how on the hook I was. If that listener count was only one (the first copy I made of a Karaoke version of a song, to a vocal lesson client, for $X production costs) I'd still be on the hook - but the likelihood of me being caught would be reduced.

However, the OP can skirt that royalty (by straddling the thinnest of lines) by charging not for the actual production, but for "consulting" the client on what would be the most apropriate key and song length, with the copy of the song being a "learning aid" included in that consulting fee.

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#1864850 - 01/01/08 07:33 AM Re: licsence, copyright, legal legal legal [Re: Brother_Dave]
miroslav Offline
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\:D

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#1865170 - 01/01/08 08:38 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: Griffinator]
SilverDragonSoun Offline
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Registered: 04/08/05
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 Originally Posted By: Griffinator
SDS: The problem here is that AR refuses to acknowledge a very basic tenet of copyright law.

Is there anything illegal about the OP recording an arrangement of a copyrighted song? Certainly not.

However, what he fails to understand is that the very act of handing that to someone else (regardless of their intent) for a fee is distributing a for-profit recording.

If I went and recorded a cover of some famous song and distributed it for $1 per download on the internet, I'd still be on the hook for royalties to the original songwriter. The number of listeners would pretty much determine how on the hook I was. If that listener count was only one (the first copy I made of a Karaoke version of a song, to a vocal lesson client, for $X production costs) I'd still be on the hook - but the likelihood of me being caught would be reduced.

However, the OP can skirt that royalty (by straddling the thinnest of lines) by charging not for the actual production, but for "consulting" the client on what would be the most apropriate key and song length, with the copy of the song being a "learning aid" included in that consulting fee.


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Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive
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#1867072 - 01/05/08 08:45 AM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: SilverDragonSoun]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
What Griffinator fails to understand is the legal definition of distribution. Paying for the service of recording a piece of music that is protected by copyright is not distribution, it is a fee for service. The end user, in this case whomever paid and received the recording, who can be held liable if they distribute the recording. The client pays for services and receives the product. They, not the studio, are liable for what they (the client) do with it.

In addition, you can (as we do) include a clause in your contract with the client that they acknowledge that they are in whole responsible for any and all royalties, payments or other rights to copyright protected materials recorded.

Before be began ventures into such recording sessions, we went over this in depth with our attorneys (Shukat and Associates of NYC, one of the biggest, most powerful music law firms in the world) and are confident they know the law better than any layperson.

If what Griffinator claims were true, any studio doing sampling from other works would be responsible for violations of copyright of the original, but, in fact, it is the artist and/or the distributing parties that have been held liable in the courts in these cases.

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#1867253 - 01/05/08 02:43 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: audiorulez]
Gismo Recording Offline
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If I were to set up a business making customized Karaoke discs. The customer would place an order stating what songs they wanted on the disc and what key they wanted them in, which is in essence what the OP was talking about doing, I'm pretty sure that would be running afoul of the copyright laws.
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Gismo Recording
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#1867275 - 01/05/08 03:17 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: Gismo Recording]
Griffinator Offline
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Exactly, Gismo.

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#1867348 - 01/05/08 07:48 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: Griffinator]
audiorulez Offline
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Registered: 06/20/07
Posts: 745
The OP is inquiring about making them on a case by case basis for a client looking for a specific arrangement, not mass produced public distribution by the studio soley. It is the client who is contracting the studio to record the disc, not the studio/OP creating for public distribution. There in is the difference. In the OP's case there in no violation of copyright law says our attorneys, who are the best in the music business for decades.

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#1868428 - 01/07/08 07:32 PM Re: The Truth be told.... [Re: audiorulez]
SilverDragonSoun Offline
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Registered: 04/08/05
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 Originally Posted By: audiorulez
The OP is inquiring about making them on a case by case basis for a client looking for a specific arrangement, not mass produced public distribution by the studio soley. It is the client who is contracting the studio to record the disc, not the studio/OP creating for public distribution. There in is the difference. In the OP's case there in no violation of copyright law says our attorneys, who are the best in the music business for decades.



Oh God not again.
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