Copyright Caper #3847

The NYTimes does it again: a great copyright caper that gets into rights as they are experienced by college marching and pep bands. Here’s a juicy quote, followed by a link:

In theory, bands need to get approval and pay for the rights to use songs. They often start with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Ascap) or Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), which license music and distribute royalties to songwriters and composers. They deal with sheet-music publishers, such as Hal Leonard or Alfred Publishing, which combine to control the majority of the popular-music catalog.

Rights to a song can cost $50 to $350, according to Jeni Paulson, president of CopyCat Music Licensing. Her company, a type of middleman, works with many Pac-10 and Big Ten band directors. They call, usually in the summer after making a wish list for the coming school year, and say which songs they want to use. CopyCat does the research on licensing and returns with a price.

“Not all directors know that they’re supposed to ask permission,” Paulson said.

Some artists and songs are simply off limits. Van Halen’s “Jump” is a popular request, but always denied. So are the works of the composer John Williams, meaning that the familiar chords of “Jaws,” “Star Wars” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” should not be heard blaring through arenas.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/19/sports/ncaabasketball/19bands.html?ex=1363665600&en=24bb71500c929f18&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

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