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maylor
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england
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Hi guys,

I think I remember reading something about this a while back, but can't find it anywhere using the search function.

What's the deal with with music rights in your act? Are we allowed to use famous songs in our acts?

Do royalties only have to be paid if you perform on TV or something?

If not, I'm screwed!!

In urgent need of advice.
Smile
-The Scot-
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http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......1&21

This might be of some use to you. This is the post you were probably referring to originally. I found it in the F/X forum.

Kevin
Kevin
eddieloughran
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Hi,
This has been covered before but jumped between England and America. In England - the recording is coryright, as is the performerance, and playing in public places. The song or tune is covered too.

There is no way without a licence that you can legally do this, but, nobody bothers too much as long as you keep a low profile.
maylor
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Just how seriously is this taken? I've spent years putting together an act with a specific type of music. If I can't do it without being sued then I'm gonna cry!!

I've got a show in Spain next month - is this like England - covered by some European Union law or something??

Why throughout years of performing, even when I first started in the Magic circle's, young magicians club, has nobody warned me of this issue? Loads of magicians use famous music. Have they all got the rights to it??

A distraught,
Maylor.

Smile
eddieloughran
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Hi Maylor,
I`ve waited in the hope that someone else will pick up on this !
I think you may need professional help. Try: your agent, Equity or a Stage magazine.
The Performing Rights people and the Musician's Union are British, but I`m sure they will have Spanish contacts, and the Spanish will protect their own musicians.
In England, the theater usually arranges copyright and licences and Spain will be the same I`m sure.

But, I`m not sure they cover copyright recordings. You can sing a Beatles song, play a Beatles tune, but can`t play a Beatles record. I think!
One way out of this would be to buy a copyright-free recording and arrange your act round it.
The best way is to time your act very carefully and get some local musicians to record the music for you and then have it edited to match your act. Or have several different records made to allow different lengths of performance. The music would have to be copyright-free of course.
These recordings are quite cheap and can be done very quickly.
Yes, that is what people like Lance Burton do. You can even by a C.D. of his act, but I bet you can`t use it !
Hope this helps.
Eddie
david walsh
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I remember seeing Noel Galagher in an interview. He said that if a band covered one of his songs with out changing the arangment or the words, there is nothing he could do.

You could look into this. If it turns out to be right you just need to get a band to record a cover of the song/tune you have been using for your show.

Check it out first obviously.
David.
yosef_dov
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Greetings... there has been discussion of this in other threads, but no clear answer emerged... I tried contacting the organizations that handle licensing, telling them what I wanted to do (use some music clips during magic show) and NO ONE EVER got back to me...

So I'm gonna use the tunes I want, and if I ever go big time, then I'll worry about it...

Joe
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Ty Argo
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Unless you are a big-time performer or on TV, as stated above, there is relatively little chance a recording executive will be in your audience and challenge your licensing motives.

A birthday party parent doesn't really care if your music is licensed, as long as you're entertaining. They're worried about the birthday kid thinking the rabbit you just produced is for them to keep! Smile
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Magique Hands
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Paying for the right to play copyrighted music, is for the most part an ethical situation. It's the right and legal thing to do.

I'm sure you will discover that the costs involved are very little if you're not making lots of money from your shows. Sync Rights (artistic performance while playing a copyrighted song) gives you the right to play that song publically while perfomring a magic routine, illusion, dance number, etc...

Joining ASCAP or BMI, and paying those fees gives you the authority to play those songs publically. The fees are extremely low, and they give options to either pay a yearly fee, per song fee, or a fee based on the amount of money you will make from the performance of any particular music selection.

Hope this is good information,
- - Troy
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Ty Argo
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Interesting and thanks for the info. I agree there are ethical issues, but I was talking about a kid's performer who might only do eight shows a year and only use one or two songs. Regardless, good info, good points.
Dyslexics UNTIE!!
maylor
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Thanks Troy, and everybody, that's really useful. I'll look into it, you've been a great help!

Smile

I agree it's the right thing to do but
In the mean time, I'm going to keep on using them, because I haven't hit the big time yet, and I love my acts too much to stop.

Troy,

Does joining ASCAP or BMI cover me for performing in England or is this just for America?

Thanks.
Magique Hands
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Maylor;

Not sure if joining ACAP or BMI will cover you in England. I'm sure that if you contact them, they'll let you know. Here's ASCAP's web-address: http://www.ascap.com

You can join right over the internet if I remember correctly.


Have fun,
- - Troy
"If you go around sprinkling Woofle Dust on everything... people will think 'My... What an odd character." www.magicmafia.com
stephenbanning
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Hi there,

As a professor in Mass Communication, I've studied intrinsic copyright laws quite a bit and have worked with organizations required to turn in logs of ASCAP/BMI music.

I'll discuss this as the legal right, the moral suggestion and the alternatives.

Legally, you can't play the Happy Birthday song on a kazoo for an audience without violating copyright laws (this is not a joke). This is why food chains do not play the traditional Happy Birthday song if they sing at your table. The Happy Birthday song is copyrighted.

One example is Michael Jackson who owns the rights to the Beatles music and makes 30 million dollars a year from royalties coming from performers, radio, TV and establishments. One caveat. Some Union Theaters, etc. will have a license to carry ASCAP and/or BMI music and the performer is not required to pay. The royalties go to the owner of the copyright. In the case of Michael Jackson, the Beatles sold their rights to a third party who sold them to Jackson. The writers, not the performers, get the royalties unless they sell them.

Will you get caught? Maybe not, but ASCAP and BMI have quite a few informers in relatively small towns who keep track of radio, TV, establishments, etc. It is considered theft. It is considered the property of another person, albeit "intellectual" property. This means your use of it is very limited.

Who uses music with royalties? David Copperfield. Who doesn't? Lance Burton for one. I also know Kirby Van Birch had music specially composed for him that does not have royalties attached. The key here is "composed." It doesn't matter who plays the music, if it is licensed by ASCAP or BMI you must pay to play. Rudy Colby used to used the Peter Gunn theme. That is definitely licensed.

What are the alternatives? You can buy music for magic that doesn't have royalties. Laflin Magic has two CDs of royalty free music for magicians. One is children's music, the other is a variety of music styles. See http://www.laflinmagic.com. Stevens magic also sells a CD of royalty free music. I believe all these cost about $30 each.

You can also used classical music if that fits your style. For instance, all the music on the Disney Fantasia sound track is royalty free. The composers lived long before licensing existed.

Note that Cruise Ships and Bars will very likely have a licensing agreement that covers the use of your music.

I hope this helps.

Stephen
Pete Biro
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The smart way is to hire someone like Michael Close to write and record music for your use. Then you own it.
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magic4u02
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The use of the made for magic cd's are certainly an option. However, keep in mind that a lot of other magicians will be using the exact same music and this will not make you as unique as you may want to be.

The best bet is to hire a professional to write the music to fit your show.

Kyle
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abc
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Stephen has it down to a T if that is the right way to say it. The places you perform at most of the time has an agreement with the local and national organizations that control music in public places like clubs and bars. They pay a small amount that allows them to play music without having to worry about copyright since they already pay for it. Performers like magicians and dancers just use the venues rights and that is 100% legal. If you are unsure it is safe to check with the publishing company that hold the rights to the music and they are usually more than willing to tell you the cheapest way (maybe you don't have to pay) to use the music. Asking doesn't hurt if you ask the right people. Composing your own music is also a good idea but using popular songs that people like and know just seems to be a bit more special. It is all about the entertainment value right. Smile
magic4u02
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The way to go is to just get in the habit of asking the different venues you are performing for and making sure of their policies ahead of time. This will save you a lot of headache later on.

Kyle
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Marshall Thornside
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Quote:
On 2003-07-11 17:30, Magique Hands wrote:
Maylor;

Not sure if joining ACAP or BMI will cover you in England. I'm sure that if you contact them, they'll let you know. Here's ASCAP's web-address: http://www.ascap.com

You can join right over the internet if I remember correctly.


Have fun,
- - Troy


you need to be a published composer to be a full member of ASCAP/BMI.
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stephenbanning
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There has been some discussion regarding rights to music overseas.

If the music is licensed by ASCAP or BMI you will be able to play it overseas if you pay a licensing fee. Are you REQUIRED to? Technically, yes, although enforcement gets less and less strict the farther you get from the United States until it is virtually non-existant in China.

The late Sonny Bono, himself the composer of a number of once popular songs, fought as a congressman to put teeth into overseas copyright laws.

The problem is that police overseas really don't benefit from prosecuting these cases. There is no local constituency that is served. This battle has been going on for decades since the Berne Convention in Switzerland.

Incidentally, to find out if your music is ASCAP or BMI licensed, just look on the label. It should list that next to the playing time.

ASCAP is the older of the organizations. BMI tends to be used by certain groups such as country artists.

Hope this is of some help.

Stephen
Daniel Faith
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What with the chance or this and the chance of that! If you are making money with your performance you must have the rights to use the music. It is an ethical as well as legal issue.

If your making money why would you not want to pay for the music. It is not a lot of money to get the rights. There is also plenty of royalty free music out there.
Bill White is a good example.

If you are a pro then pay. Would you want someone copying your act and making money off of it? It's the same thing!
Daniel Faith
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