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janeray1940
08-24-2014, 04:57 PM
Aloha UU - I realize that even if you *are* a lawyer, you are not *my* lawyer, and any responses made should not be taken as legal advice :)

Now that we've got that settled... I'm trying to understand something about copyright. Several fairly well-known ukulele teachers (and UU members) have websites in which they sell arrangements of songs that are not in public domain - let's take, for example, Beatles songs, the rights to which are clearly owned by a publisher.

Sometimes the sellers say "contact me for the arrangement" and then respond to the inquiry with the fee, but they do not publicize this on their site.

Sometimes the sellers have a Paypal "Donate" button.

Sometimes the sellers state a flat fee is stated for x-many songs.

My question is - how does one go about doing this legally? Those offering the arrangements are theoretically profiting (however small the profits may be) from selling their own arrangements of copyrighted work, aren't they?

I'm familiar with the Fair Use doctrine (hey, library school wasn't COMPLETELY useless!) and based on this, my guess is that by offering these as "tutorials" one is able to get around the tricky business of actually contacting the copyright holder... but I'm just guessing.

Can anybody clue me in? And I should state that, should this practice not be entirely legal, I am NOT trying to out anybody here (hence the not pointing to specific websites or naming names). Just doing some fact-finding for the project that I mentioned some months ago here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?94996-seeking-thoughts-and-feedback-on-selling-multi-part-ensemble-ukulele-arrangements).

Thanks, as always.

Brad Bordessa
08-24-2014, 05:16 PM
EDIT: Incorrect information re: this kind of licensing.

bunnyf
08-24-2014, 05:23 PM
Interested in hearing some informed responses, but it sounds like it would be illegal to me but just not well enforced. Kinda like covers at open mic, not usually gigged by the powers to be, but it does happen..just had it happen here. Cover bands and covers at open mics are commonplace at our local bars, but if a venue starts to get a little too much attention, authorities come in, check it out, fine and put a stop to it. A "country music" nite that went on for a while, nearby, got popular and then they had to put the kabosh on covers due to legal action...now we have to hear some really dreadful original music.

janeray1940
08-24-2014, 05:25 PM
I don't know much about this scary world, but I can get you started.

To legally sell an arrangement one would buy the license for a song from the publisher.

Of course, "little people" like us aren't going to call up Sony and say, "Yo, Sony, can I license In My Life?" Enter something like The Harry Fox Agency: http://www.harryfox.com/public/. They serve as the middleman between you and them. I think you can make an account and then search songs, put them in your cart and see how much they would be in your situation. It's pretty interesting to poke around on that site.

When my cohort at the Institute of Hawaiian Music put together our CD, a couple of the tunes were under copyright by somebody else. Our director had to track down the publishers (not all were represented by HFA) and buy licenses for each (how much depends on how many units the songs in/on, whatfor, etc...). In some cases it was just a "Yeah, go for it" from the composer. But it's doubtful if Sony would be so kind.

Thanks Brad. I was under the impression that HFA licensed songs for performance or recording, but not for publishing. For that, as you noted, one would contact the publishers. In the case of a smaller publisher one might get the go-ahead, but from what I've been told, a publisher on the scale of, say, Sony, would be more likely to say no, or to not respond in the first place - or so I've been told. But I'll dig around on the HFA site a bit more.

Jim Hanks
08-24-2014, 05:28 PM
Brad, you're talking about "mechanical licenses" for reproducing audio recordings. This is a reasonably straightforward process especially if HFA can be used. Publishing a written arrangement is a different kind of license that I unfortunately don't know anything about.

janeray1940
08-24-2014, 05:28 PM
Interested in hearing some informed responses, but it sounds like it would be illegal to me but just not well enforced. Kinda like covers at open mic, not usually gigged by the powers to be, but it does happen..just had it happen here. Cover bands and covers at open mics are commonplace at our local bars, but if a venue starts to get a little too much attention, authorities come in, check it out, fine and put a stop to it. A "country music" nite that went on for a while, nearby, got popular and then they had to put the kabosh on covers due to legal action...now we have to hear some really dreadful original music.

That's the impression I've gotten too - or, to paraphrase, "it's only illegal if you get caught" :) Which would most certainly not be worth the hassle, I would think, because really - how much money is one going to make selling ukulele tab? Probably not enough to justify a legal hassle, at any rate.

Rick Turner
08-24-2014, 05:48 PM
Please, no faux legal advice here! When I see topics like this with a bunch of folks posting advice that is well intentioned, but wrong or not relevant, I think of forums seeking medical advice where quackery and legit comments compete for attention.

Just start with this book: http://www.amazon.com/THIS-BUSINESS-OF-MUSIC-EDITION/dp/0823077233

And don't forget, every now and then a music publisher or record company chooses to make an example out of someone for file sharing, illegal music publishing that goes beyond the limits of "fair use", etc. Know the law before you decide to break it! Just asking the questions here makes it apparent that you're unsure but think this may not be OK. And it's one thing to print out some lead sheets with chords for a uke club meeting; it's a whole other thing to sell arrangements without the songwriters' publishers' consent. They can and may come down heavy on that.

And I'm just the messenger here. Learn the law. Respect the Intellectual Property rights of artists, composers, and songwriters. Their songs do not belong to you if still under copyright.

janeray1940
08-24-2014, 06:01 PM
Please, no faux legal advice here! When I see topics like this with a bunch of folks posting advice that is well intentioned, but wrong or not relevant, I think of forums seeking medical advice where quackery and legit comments compete for attention.

Just start with this book: http://www.amazon.com/THIS-BUSINESS-OF-MUSIC-EDITION/dp/0823077233

And don't forget, every now and then a music publisher or record company chooses to make an example out of someone for file sharing, illegal music publishing that goes beyond the limits of "fair use", etc. Know the law before you decide to break it! Just asking the questions here makes it apparent that you're unsure but think this may not be OK. And it's one thing to print out some lead sheets with chords for a uke club meeting; it's a whole other thing to sell arrangements without the songwriters' publishers' consent. The can and may come down heavy on that.

And I'm just the messenger here. Learn the law. Respect the Intellectual Property rights of artists, composers, and songwriters. Their songs do not belong to you if still under copyright.

Thanks Rick - based on my understanding of the law I *know* that this isn't OK... yet people are doing it very openly, and that made me question what (little) I know. I've got a long history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, so - definitely not taking any chances :)

Brad Bordessa
08-24-2014, 06:59 PM
Brad, you're talking about "mechanical licenses" for reproducing audio recordings. This is a reasonably straightforward process especially if HFA can be used. Publishing a written arrangement is a different kind of license that I unfortunately don't know anything about.

Oops. Well, disregard then.

kypfer
08-25-2014, 01:02 AM
Another point to consider is that what may be "legal", or otherwise, in one country may well be different in another country. The safest route for anything that isn't obviously in the public domain, by virtue of age, (and even this can vary between jurisdictions), is to ask permission from whosoever and get it in writing. At least one then has a degree of "due diligence" to show if there are any claims.

With the international opportunities available on the internet, it may be possible to break the law in your country by buying something that is legally available in another. Just remember, ignorance of the law is no defence in many jurisdictions.

Skinny Money McGee
08-25-2014, 01:59 AM
My question is - how does one go about doing this legally?



Give Jim Beloff a call or email, and ask him how he does it. His publisher is Hal Leonard, so perhaps the publisher takes care of the royalties side of it.

coolkayaker1
08-25-2014, 02:05 AM
Yes to SMM's idea. Or forum member Ukuleke Mike, (ukuleleteacher2009?) who is not under Hal Leonard and is doing, essentially, what you are proposing, JR40. He seems nice and may have the answer to keeping you out of the local penitentiary. Lol

I though HFA licensed any use of a song, not just recording but also instruction. You mention poking around on the website, please do let us know if this is the case.

The book Rick linked looks mighty, too. Perhaps prder from your library.

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 04:45 AM
Give Jim Beloff a call or email, and ask him how he does it. His publisher is Hal Leonard, so perhaps the publisher takes care of the royalties side of it.

From what I understand that's exactly the case: if you're with a big publisher such as Hal Leonard, they will make the arrangements with Sony or whomever, and Sony or whomever will respond. If you're a "little guy" doing self-publishing, the "big guy" will either say no, or not even respond.

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 04:48 AM
Yes to SMM's idea. Or forum member Ukuleke Mike, (ukuleleteacher2009?) who is not under Hal Leonard and is doing, essentially, what you are proposing, JR40. He seems nice and may have the answer to keeping you out of the local penitentiary. Lol

I though HFA licensed any use of a song, not just recording but also instruction. You mention poking around on the website, please do let us know if this is the case.

The book Rick linked looks mighty, too. Perhaps prder from your library.

Ha ha, already waitlisted for the book at the library :)

I've contacted a few people off list (Ukulele Mike among them but so far no response) and the responses I've gotten have confirmed what I suspected above - that the hope is by having a video tutorial and presenting the material as educational, it will fall under fair use as educational material. Not a chance I'd be willing to take!

Rllink
08-25-2014, 05:01 AM
Who enforces this? Who's jurisdiction does if fall under? Where is it prosecuted and who prosecutes it? I'm assuming it is federal, but I guess I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it isn't the city cop though. How many people actually end up in jail for selling ukulele tabs?

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 05:23 AM
How many people actually end up in jail for selling ukulele tabs?

No idea, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the one going to court (or jail!) over this.

Similar but different real-life experience: many years ago when I was a minimum-wage worker, I made a few hundred dollar mistake on my taxes. Back then I moved a lot, was too poor to have a telephone, and was rather difficult to track down. Years passed. I started a new job and within days of my employer filing the new-hire paperwork, I had a bill from the IRS for the original few hundred dollars, plus several years' interest, and a "pay now or go to jail" option.

My takeaway: the big guys are far more likely to come after the little guys than they are to go after another big guy. Just like the playground bully in elementary school! So, why take chances.

Rick Turner
08-25-2014, 05:40 AM
Please understand that "the big guys", primarily ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC represent composers and songwriters, many of whom are "little guys" and all of whom have suffered mightily due to illegal file sharing. Yes, many "little guys" are getting ripped off royally these days. Just talk to any singer-songwriter about what has happened to their living in the past twenty five years. It's not a pretty picture. The only protection that the little guys have at all is to sign up with one of the three "big guys" mentioned above. It's the equivalent of having collective bargaining rights.

Fair use is pretty easy to understand, and it does NOT include making money on other people's original works without compensating them. You can bet your bippy that every book put out by Hal Leonard or Alfred or whomever at that level provides some sort of income stream for the original composer or writer as well as arranger. If you're making money, the authors should make money. You can think of "fair use" pretty much the same way you might think of a 501c3 non-profit, and it may actually be more restrictive than that. The United Way is a non-profit; the CEO makes a fortune. Don't try that at home with uke arrangements without paying the piper, so to speak.

I realize it's not hip to stand up for Intellectual Property rights for musicians, composers, and songwriters, but here I am. Many of my friends have had their incomes threatened by what's come down in the past decade or so.

Steveperrywriter
08-25-2014, 05:52 AM
Preaching to the choir here, Rick. I have bought mechanical licenses a couple of times, and for my purposes, they were cheap, and I felt better about doing it. Got on a couple of nice mailing lists by the artists who tracked such things. As a writer, I've seen my stuff pirated on torrent sites for years, so I know how that feels. Copyright is designed to protect the creator of a work, and in these times, that's not a lot of protection. We saw what file sharing did for movies and music, and it's happening to books, too.

Back in the day, musicians cut an album, then went on tour to support it and generate sales; now, they cut an album to generate interest for live appearances, since they aren't making squat for the album. Folks who might sell a million records twenty years ago are lucky to sell a hundred thousand now, and that's the heavyweights. The midlist musicians have a much harder go of it.

I figure if I'm making money on somebody's work, they ought to get a piece of it ...

Pundabaya
08-25-2014, 06:03 AM
Well... on second thoughts no.. not again. This debate never ends well. All I'll say is music IS people copying off each other. All the way back.

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 06:19 AM
Please understand that "the big guys", primarily ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC represent composers and songwriters, many of whom are "little guys" and all of whom have suffered mightily due to illegal file sharing. Yes, many "little guys" are getting ripped off royally these days. Just talk to any singer-songwriter about what has happened to their living in the past twenty five years. It's not a pretty picture. The only protection that the little guys have at all is to sign up with one of the three "big guys" mentioned above. It's the equivalent of having collective bargaining rights.

Fair use is pretty easy to understand, and it does NOT include making money on other people's original works without compensating them. You can bet your bippy that every book put out by Hal Leonard or Alfred or whomever at that level provides some sort of income stream for the original composer or writer as well as arranger. If you're making money, the authors should make money. You can think of "fair use" pretty much the same way you might think of a 501c3 non-profit, and it may actually be more restrictive than that. The United Way is a non-profit; the CEO makes a fortune. Don't try that at home with uke arrangements without paying the piper, so to speak.

I realize it's not hip to stand up for Intellectual Property rights for musicians, composers, and songwriters, but here I am. Many of my friends have had their incomes threatened by what's come down in the past decade or so.


Preaching to the choir here, Rick. I have bought mechanical licenses a couple of times, and for my purposes, they were cheap, and I felt better about doing it. Got on a couple of nice mailing lists by the artists who tracked such things. As a writer, I've seen my stuff pirated on torrent sites for years, so I know how that feels. Copyright is designed to protect the creator of a work, and in these times, that's not a lot of protection. We saw what file sharing did for movies and music, and it's happening to books, too.

Back in the day, musicians cut an album, then went on tour to support it and generate sales; now, they cut an album to generate interest for live appearances, since they aren't making squat for the album. Folks who might sell a million records twenty years ago are lucky to sell a hundred thousand now, and that's the heavyweights. The midlist musicians have a much harder go of it.

I figure if I'm making money on somebody's work, they ought to get a piece of it ...


Well... on second thoughts no.. not again. This debate never ends well. All I'll say is music IS people copying off each other. All the way back.


Just to clarify - I was using the big guy/little guy scenario NOT to express the view that it's okay to take from the big guy - in my opinion, it's not. My example was purely to illustrate that in my experience, it doesn't matter how small-time you are, the US federal government will come after you if they can.

We *want* to pay for the publishing rights, but based on the info I've obtained so far, getting Sony et al to give us the time of day is just not realistically going to happen. My reason for posting here was to find out if, in the experience of others, this has proven true.

So at this point, the options for someone who wants to do right pretty much look like this: get with a publishing company such as Hal Leonard, or stick with public domain songs and/or originals.

All of that to say - no debate here! The law seems pretty clear to all of us - but the fact that selling uke arrangements of non-PD songs seems to be pretty widespread is what had me a little confused. Thanks, all, for clearing that one up.

kypfer
08-25-2014, 06:25 AM
Who enforces this? Who's jurisdiction does if fall under? Where is it prosecuted and who prosecutes it? Again, these issues may well differ between jurisdictions. From what little experience I have (indirectly), it's more like a civil case than a criminal one. No-one gets arrested and charged, at least initially. Bills/invoices get sent and if these are ignored things can then proceed to the courts as petty debts, a civil case or whatever mechanism is in place for this kind of thing where you live. If you respond to the initial demands, you'll possibly get an opportunity to "discuss" what charges are due. Do bear in mind that at this point the aggrieved party will have expenditures to account for ... so the price is already likely to have gone up. Also consider, any legal representations on your behalf are likely to be expensive, irrespective of the outcome!

These legislations are in place to allow the copyright holder (or other appropriate party) to take legal proceedings should they wish to. It isn't pre-determined that any proceedings will result, but you can bet your sweet bippy that they'll be expensive if they do.

Best cover your tail and make enquiries in the first instance. Chances are for a small independant project it'll cost little or nothing more than the price of a phone-call or a stamp on an envelope. A lot cheaper than any protracted proceedings after the event ;)

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 06:31 AM
Best cover your tail and make enquiries in the first instance. Chances are for a small independant project it'll cost little or nothing more than the price of a phone-call or a stamp on an envelope. A lot cheaper than any protracted proceedings after the event ;)

Agreed, but it's not cost that seems to be the issue - it's getting the "bug guys" to respond in the first place. Which pretty much rules out a whole lot of great songs for those of us who want to do the right thing. The goal here is not to arrange "Turkey in the Straw" or the like, but things that people might actually find challenging!

(Although per this list of PD music (http://www.pdinfo.com/Public-Domain-Music-List.php), there are some fairly interesting PD song options - here I was expecting to see a lot of old-timey I-IV-V stuff, but there are a fair number of standards as well.)

kypfer
08-25-2014, 06:50 AM
Agreed, but it's not cost that seems to be the issue - it's getting the "bug guys" to respond in the first place. I can sympathise, but if a good old-fashioned written letter can be shown to have been sent, you will at least have a degree of "due diligence" on your side. One might be able to argue that a lack of response showed a lack of concern, should the occaision arise, but you might want to take local advice on that, just to be sure ;) The opposite could also be used as an argument, that you weren't given permission, so by definition permission wasn't granted, even if it wasn't explicitly refused ... and the lawyers got richer !!

Rick Turner
08-25-2014, 06:54 AM
The folks who advocate that musicians should give away their music and make money performing live have never tried to earn a living on the road?
Who here has toured...I mean seriously, cross country, gig after gig every night a different town? At the peak of my experience doing this we did 19 gigs in 23 days including two in one day...North Carolina in the afternoon, Upstate New York that night (Piper Cherokee). It's not glamorous, it's not easy. It wasn't then (1965), and it's a lot harder now. The idea that musicians should hit the road to earn a living is ludicrous and is only romanticized by those who know nothing of it.

kypfer
08-25-2014, 07:20 AM
So writing a letter with no response is due diligence? I guess you already answered your own advice. ... you're probably right, but it'd make me feel better ;)

Dan Uke
08-25-2014, 07:21 AM
... you're probably right, but it'd make me feel better ;)

hahaha...that's the most important part!!

Steveperrywriter
08-25-2014, 07:51 AM
Well... on second thoughts no.. not again. This debate never ends well. All I'll say is music IS people copying off each other. All the way back.

I have a dog in this hunt, so what I say is biased. With that in mind ...

Maybe this debate arises because we line up differently. I see three kinds of people in this discussion. (Four, if you count those who don't care for music or art or anything along those lines.)

There are the creators, who bring forth a thing that never existed before -- pick a song you like, or a novel, or a movie and think about what it took to do that. Could you have written "Yesterday?" Or "Gone With the Wind?" or "Guardians of the Galaxy?" Sure, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, but because Mozart did his thing doesn't diminish what Aaron Copland or Paul McCartney did, and to offer that everybody copies everybody is bumper-sticker over-simplification. Bach would never have written "Hey, Jude," any more than Shakespeare would have written 2001: A Space Odyssey ...

People who bring something new and fresh into the world as a product of their mind and spirit and soul ought to be rewarded for it, and that's what the laws of most civilized countries recognize. To offer that they should do it for free is simply a form of cheapness, because one doesn't want to pay for it.

There are creators. There are folks who appreciate the creators and offer some recompense to show that. Then there are thieves who believe anything they want should be theirs for free.

I know where I stand. Do you?

Rick Turner
08-25-2014, 08:58 AM
Steve, a lot of the "information wants to be free" crowd are likely to find themselves unemployed when their own talents are taken for free. I remember when the film industry thought "it couldn't happen to them", and so they didn't support RIAA's attempts to ensure that recording artists got paid. They thought that film and video would be so memory intensive that illegal copying and file sharing just would never happen. Well...they were wrong, and they're paying the price. I see a lot of redundency in the future for a lot of very bright computer geeks. Right now we have massive college graduate unemployment. Why? Because their skills, whatever they may be, are not needed. I keep going back to the example of MicroSoft...do we really need a new version of Word or Excel? I haven't needed an upgrade in over a decade. Yes, I have the upgrades, but what I had in 2004 worked just fine. For my purposes, MicroSoft could go out of business tomorrow and it wouldn't cause me a problem.

itsme
08-25-2014, 04:23 PM
janeray1940, I used to work at a major record label (well, a couple decades ago when things were different) and have taken some paralegal courses, including copyright. So, while I'm no expert, I probably have a better feel for it than some.

But I was still surprised to learn that there is apparently no equivalent of a compulsory license when it comes to print.

You can arrange anything you want however you want (presuming a previous recording has been released) and record it to sell, and you must be granted a compulsory license to do so.

For example, folk singer Joan Baez may have cringed when Judas Priest recorded a heavy metal version of her song "Diamonds & Rust", but she (and her publishing company) couldn't stop them. But she got mechanicals on every copy sold, and performance royalties for radio play and live performances.

But you cannot publish your own arrangement of a copyrighted piece without permission from the original copyright holder. And Sony, or whoever, does not have to grant that permission. Frankly, the amount of time they'd have to expend to extend an agreement to you is not worth a fraction of whatever the pittance your arrangement stands to earn for them.

By that, I mean no disparagement, just that your potential sales probably don't warrant an effort on their part to deal with you.

janeray1940
08-25-2014, 04:48 PM
But you cannot publish your own arrangement of a copyrighted piece without permission from the original copyright holder. And Sony, or whoever, does not have to grant that permission. Frankly, the amount of time they'd have to expend to extend an agreement to you is not worth a fraction of whatever the pittance your arrangement stands to earn for them.

By that, I mean no disparagement, just that your potential sales probably don't warrant an effort on their part to deal with you.

Yep, this, exactly, is what I had concluded. But after seeing some well-known players/teachers/arrangers selling Beatles arrangements and the like, I had to second-guess myself and ask!

itsme
08-25-2014, 05:45 PM
Yep, this, exactly, is what I had concluded. But after seeing some well-known players/teachers/arrangers selling Beatles arrangements and the like, I had to second-guess myself and ask!
Truth is, many (if not most) tabs out there are technically illegal. But it's mostly a situation where much is ignored.

If you are selling it, the copyright holder has every right to expect royalties. But you can't force them to deal with you to get permission. Catch 22.

Dominator once published his transcriptions of some Jake tunes, and Jake's people got him to take it down. In most cases, I think a simple "cease & desist" letter is the worst you'll get. Dominator was not selling or profiting from it, but potentially it diminished the value of Jake's official tab book that was coming out.

KaraUkey
09-02-2014, 09:02 PM
This is an International forum and no doubt different rules apply in different places. Most places seem to agree on the definition of Performing Rights as covering “music that is communicated or performed publicly including on radio, television, online, live gigs in pubs and clubs etc.” and mechanical royalties as covering “the reproduction or copying and storage of music in different formats. This covers copying of songs and compositions by record labels or other parties to sell them on CD, DVD, online, for use as production music and for radio/TV programs.”

Where I live, the Performing Rights Association and the Mechanical Copyright Owners Society have joined forces to make licences available to cover both areas.

Their “About Us” statement is “We're here for the music. We help music creators get paid for their work and give music users easy ways to legally play and copy what they like. Royalties keep the music coming and ensure the industry’s future. And that’s what we all want to hear.”

The licence they have issued “covers all these rights and uses of music, for both local and international songs, for the benefit of music creators and music customers.”

The licence I hold requires me to pay an annual amount in advance. Regular reports provide details on what was sold to allow royalties to be distributed to the copyright holders. The amount I pay in advance depends on an estimate of the likely sales for the coming year (though minimums apply). If I sell less there is no refund, if I sell more, I pay the extra royalties, together with the next year in advance, and the process starts again.

Let me add here, I regard it as a privilege to be allowed to use some of the great songs that have been written and am only to happy to pay the copyright holders their share. As an ex computer programmer, software developer and publisher I know first hand the pain of being hacked. My challenge is for sales to get to at least the minimum number I have paid for every year, hence the website. Thank you for your invitation to comment. Cheers

janeray1940
09-06-2014, 04:59 AM
This is an International forum and no doubt different rules apply in different places. Most places seem to agree on the definition of Performing Rights as covering “music that is communicated or performed publicly including on radio, television, online, live gigs in pubs and clubs etc.” and mechanical royalties as covering “the reproduction or copying and storage of music in different formats. This covers copying of songs and compositions by record labels or other parties to sell them on CD, DVD, online, for use as production music and for radio/TV programs.”

Where I live, the Performing Rights Association and the Mechanical Copyright Owners Society have joined forces to make licences available to cover both areas.

Their “About Us” statement is “We're here for the music. We help music creators get paid for their work and give music users easy ways to legally play and copy what they like. Royalties keep the music coming and ensure the industry’s future. And that’s what we all want to hear.”

The licence they have issued “covers all these rights and uses of music, for both local and international songs, for the benefit of music creators and music customers.”

The licence I hold requires me to pay an annual amount in advance. Regular reports provide details on what was sold to allow royalties to be distributed to the copyright holders. The amount I pay in advance depends on an estimate of the likely sales for the coming year (though minimums apply). If I sell less there is no refund, if I sell more, I pay the extra royalties, together with the next year in advance, and the process starts again.

Let me add here, I regard it as a privilege to be allowed to use some of the great songs that have been written and am only to happy to pay the copyright holders their share. As an ex computer programmer, software developer and publisher I know first hand the pain of being hacked. My challenge is for sales to get to at least the minimum number I have paid for every year, hence the website. Thank you for your invitation to comment. Cheers

Thanks for the reply. We have something similar here in the States with regard to performing and recording. But as discussed in your other post (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100182-Jam-sessions&p=1572411#post1572411), does this actually cover the rights for publishing lyrics/chords/melody as well?

Stevelele
09-06-2014, 03:30 PM
No, performance rights and lyrics and publishing a tablature are totally different things. You would need to get a separate license for that and it isn't likely you'd get one from a major publisher. And for all of those wondering about fair use, it doesn't really apply here


Thanks for the reply. We have something similar here in the States with regard to performing and recording. But as discussed in your other post (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100182-Jam-sessions&p=1572411#post1572411), does this actually cover the rights for publishing lyrics/chords/melody as well?

phil_doleman
09-07-2014, 07:52 AM
I couldn't agree more with Rick on this. As someone who earns my living from music, being told that I should give away everything for free (often with the addition of, "and it's not up to you anyway as we will just take it and share it all over the web without your permission") stinks. 'Thinking' something should be free is a world away from forcing musicians hand by theft.

Anyway, I have released recordings of cover which are not public domain, and have gone through the (UK) PRS/MCPS to license these, and it's a simple process even if you want to put one cover on a very short run of CDs. There doesn't (again, UK) seem to be a simple way for the small, lone musician to do the same with written (tab and/or score) arrangements of other people's music. This is why I've only sold arrangements of material well out of copyright (by several hundred years!)

This is probably why we see so many 'Beatles for Ukulele', 'Rock Classics' for Ukulele' etc. etc. books in the music shops- these companies are either a wing of the publishing company themselves, or able to carry enough weight to show the publisher that they'll earn some money from it and it's worth their time giving permission and negotiating a deal.

There is an important distinction to be made here between an arrangement and a transcription. An arrangement makes changes to the original, either for musical reasons (e.g. jazz musicians arranging show tunes), or in order to render it on a different instrument than was originally intended (for example, classical piano pieces arranged for guitar). A transcription (say tablature of a Jake tune), isn't an arrangement, as it simply records on paper exactly what the original composer/ performer intended. I see lots of things called 'arrangements' which are anything but.

janeray1940
09-07-2014, 08:00 AM
There is an important distinction to be made here between an arrangement and a transcription. An arrangement makes changes to the original, either for musical reasons (e.g. jazz musicians arranging show tunes), or in order to render it on a different instrument than was originally intended (for example, classical piano pieces arranged for guitar). A transcription (say tablature of a Jake tune), isn't an arrangement, as it simply records on paper exactly what the original composer/ performer intended. I see lots of things called 'arrangements' which are anything but.

My original inquiry is regarding "arrangements," not transcriptions, and the "giving things away for free" issue is precisely why this question came up. The arranger in question has done a few arrangements for a specific group of people for non-commercial use, but others beyond the intended group have expressed interest (and, yes, some have expressed the sentiment that these should be given away gratis).

Here in the US we have a similar process to what you've described for recording/performing rights. That is not the issue - it's the publishing rights, which clearly this thread has demonstrated is a far more complicated topic!

As for publishing rights - I actually had a recent conversation with a ukulele arranger (not transcriber) who managed to get the rights to a Beatles tune. As with many things, it was a matter of "it's who you know" - he knew the right lawyer who could go about doing this properly. Which, although it leaves most mere mortals out in the cold, I believe really is the only ethical way to do this.

Stevelele
09-07-2014, 08:15 AM
Fyi, what I wrote here applies to both arrangements and transcriptions. You shouldn't presume that making changes in an arrangement would make it so you don't need to get a license


No, performance rights and lyrics and publishing a tablature are totally different things. You would need to get a separate license for that and it isn't likely you'd get one from a major publisher. And for all of those wondering about fair use, it doesn't really apply here

janeray1940
09-07-2014, 08:42 AM
Fyi, what I wrote here applies to both arrangements and transcriptions. You shouldn't presume that making changes in an arrangement would make it so you don't need to get a license

I'm fully aware of that, thanks.

I've asked the mods to close this thread. I've got the answers that I needed. Thanks.