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johndaigler

music copyrights - burning CDs

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As we prepare for Day Camp 2006, I've collected a CD worth of Camp (Pirate Theme) songs and stories. I own all the CDs the individual pieces come from. Several are BSA products, and others were purchased retail. But I think I'm on thin ice - perhaps a couple of times - and I don't want to pirate my Pirate songs.

 

Can anyone point me in the correct direction to find a layman's explanation of the appropriate music copyright rules?

 

My original thought was to burn a CD for every boy who registers - sort of a promoter/motivator/souvenir/momento, etc.

 

It's a long drive to Day Camp and we require each boy to supply a carpool driver/camp chaperone for one day. I thought the themed CD would come in handy in the car to and from.

 

I'm considering selling them for the price of Day Camp ($100) and throwing in a free trip to Day Camp with each CD purchased. ;)

 

Another thought was to burn enough of them to use as thank you's to the Scouts and Scouters who volunteer and/or work Day Camp.

 

Any ideas??

 

jd

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I think you would be safer to give them away than to sell them. I have no legal knowledge regarding copyright stuff, but I would guess that if it were given away, nobody will make a big deal out of it. It's when you make money off of it that they make a fuss.

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Hi John,

I really think this is a case of "Ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise"

I feel sure that none of the practicing attorneys in my small town would be able to give you the right answer.

I ran into several problems when we had our restaurants. We had to pay ASCAP and BMI a fee to play the music, either on the radio/ juke box or live band.

You might want to visit

http://www.harryfox.com/songfile/public/publicsearch.jsp

Some years back ASCAP made the news headlines when it asked the Girl Scouts to buy licenses for camps to cover the rights for songs sang at camp fires.

I was watching a news show the other day and it seems that a new storm is brewing about people selling preloaded Ipods?

I do know that I paid the BSA a fee when I was a Wood Badge Course Director to cover the copyright on the movies. I will try and find out how much it was exactly but I seem to remember it was about $10.00 per participant.

One reason the Wood Badge Staff guide was hard to get and then revised was because of the copyright license agreement that the BSA had with the company that represents Ken Blanchard.

While I of course don't want to see you posting from a jail cell and I would never tell anyone to break the law. I do think when you see the time it takes and the costs involved you might decide that it isn't worth it for 100 CD's.

Or you might just plead ignorance -It isn't any real defense, but if you don't know you might be able to sleep better.

Of course maybe we need to see if Councils would buy a license that might cover all the copies.

Eamonn.

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Eamonn,

 

The copyright fee for WB was $15 per participant...that has now been changed to $400 for the entire course.

 

sue m.

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To be safe, I would ask the SE to consult your Council's legal counsel. He's probably being paid a retainer to answer questions like this. I suspect I know what the answer will be though...it's the part about making 100 copies and including the cost in the camp fee that will be the sticking point.

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Thanks Sue.

scoutldr

Our Council does not have an attorney on retainer.

We have several that are unit volunteers or board members.

The last time we were taken to court National decided the Law Firm that would represent us. The firm was a bigger one than you might find in our neck of the woods. The Lawyers that sit on the board were of the opinion that $450.00 an hour wasn't out of line! I know what the big law firms in the UK charge and $450.00 an hour would be very cheap.

I haven't really done much to find out what the fee from the Harry Fox is, I think it's under $300.00 and then so much per song. The bad thing seems to be that no one company is handling all the songs and you could pay the fee only to find that the song you want isn't on their list.

Down loading and copying music from the Internet has really muddied the waters as far as I can tell no one has as yet decided what "Fair use" really means.

Eamonn.

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Sounds like a great idea - but implementing the idea is another story.

 

Copyrights give the writer (or publisher) rights to control the work and to protect it from any harm to it's commercial value.

 

At the same time, the doctrine of fair use allows snippets of the work to be used without violating copyright for the purpose of criticism, scholarly applications, reviews, parody (Weird Al Yankovic songs don't violate copyright because they are considered parody)and other such things. It's generally accepted that one of the fair uses is that the end user of a CD, DVD, etc. (that's you) is allowed to make a copy as back up and for one's personal enjoyment. It is NOT considered fair use to make a copy then disseminate that copy to others - whether for pay OR NOT (you might recall the Napster case - the courts decided that even though they personally did not post copyrighted songs on the internet for people to download, they were still responsible for enabling others to violate copyright laws - people uploading songs to Napster and other file sharing sites were in violation of copyright laws).

 

Technically, playing a recorded song or movie at camp or a meeting is a violation of copyright laws (no public performances of copyrighted material is allowed). That being said, most copyright violations are a civil matter settled by lawsuit and it would be pretty hard to assess damages for such small violations.

 

However, there is a criminal copyright violation on the books that could come into play in your case, IF the copyright holder(s) found out about it and made an issue of it - it is a felony if a copyright violation involves more than 10 copies and has a value over $2,500. You'll already hit the more than 10 copy mark - what's tricky is value over $2,500. Based on typical retail CD pricing, the value may only be around $1,300 (assuming $13.00 per CD times 100) BUT the law may include more than retail pricing to calculate value. Something to consider.

 

I do think it's a good idea, but I'd think hard about whether its worth the risk. Is it likely one of the copyright holders will find out? Maybe not - but who foresaw 13 year olds getting sued by the recording industry for uploading songs into the internet? If you're still interested in doing this, it won't hurt to try to figure out who owns the copyrights to the songs you would like to use (its generally the publishers but the listing is usually with every CD) and write them a letter asking for permission to include their song on this limited edition CD - I'm willing to bet that you'll get mostly "okie-dokies" from the copyright holders (and get it in writing).

 

CalicoPenn

 

ps - Technically, everything I just wrote above is now copyrighted. It used to be that the author had to write a sentence claiming copyright (and had to use either the word copyright or the c in a circle) but now the US follows the Bern Convention and copyright is automatically bestowed on all writings, songs, etc. I'm familiar with this as an artist (not full time but I do sell works from time to time) - mostly abstract painting, photography, conceptual pieces and some installations - and all of my work is copyrighted.

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I always thought that "copyright" meant you had the "right to copy"!

Really, your collection put on a CD for convenient, personal, playback is O.K. but the minute you play it, or disseminate it in any form, you need to pay royalties to the copyright owner, (Including "Happy Birthday" by the way! The copyright is owned by Time-Warner!)

Even if you are giving the CDs away, the copyright owner has a claim to some remuneration. You may be able to get around this, if you get permission from each of the copyright holders to use their work for your purposes, but that would be up to them.

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JohnDangler,

What you propose is a clear violation of copyright laws. You can make "backup" copies of your own music and even make "dance" mixes of songs from different CDs. But the minute you give a copy to someone else whether for free or for fee, you violate the law. Like wise, if you give or sell the original CD to someone else (that's legal), you cannot play copies of the CD you made.

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JD - While I've seen it done many times, I do think it violates copyright laws. Our local Middle School does a "memories" CD every year and charges for it. It's loaded with copied music. I'm quite sure they aren't paying any copyright fees. (It's kind of ironic that a school does this, since it's the music industries form of plagiarism).

 

I would suggest you consider the "snippets" route. I believe that you are generally covered there. Now, there could be a debate on how much a "snippet" is. I would guess that something more than one verse is not a snippet. But I don't know if that's ever been defined.

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Aarggh matey...me thinks you are headin' for the plank.

 

Is there a reason that adults should be encouraging boys of this age to celebrate an alternative lifestyle that includes pillaging, plundering, a bottle of rum, dancing on a dead man's chest, debauchery, felonious conduct, murder, arson ...

 

Oh, I'm sorry...its all about fun. YoHoHo, let the good times roll.

 

 

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That's a whole new thread --

Is "Pirates" an appropriate theme?

What's next: "Gangsters?"; "Pillaging Barbarians?"; maybe "Dread Lazer Taggers??".

 

But, Alas, I'm a lowly Pack Trainer (One of several hats - obviously. You can't make decent living nowadays just being a Pack Trainer!) and not the Council's Day Camp Themer (Which, BTW, is quite the good gig, if you can get it!), so I merely run around screaming, "It's the Program! Learn it - Love it!!!"

 

Now, I'm off to contact all these publishers, so I can try to do this the right way before I face the moral dilemma of whether to do it even if I don't get the proper permissions . . .

 

jd

 

 

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Peter Himmelman has also given his permission -- He's the second Scout I've met through this process. I'm getting closer!

 

jd

 

Besides Disney and BSA, I can tell my biggest issue is going to be the obscure CDs that are older music and/or compilations of older stuff. I may have to develop a work-around for those.

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Way to go BSA!!!!

 

Only 4 copyright owners yet to permit my last 8 songs (out of 28). This whole thing has been a bit tedious, but not really difficult. Most artists/publishers have been very supportive when they hear it's for the kids, I'm not making any money --- and the deal clincher seems to be the fact that I'm actually bothering to ask permission!!!

 

jd

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