Brass Band Quality Mark

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by timbloke, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Following from a recent post on the copyright issue, TubaFran suggested setting up a band quality scheme or award for bands that have no copied music. I work in an industry where certification of Quality Management (ISO 9001) is a must, and having other certification, of environmental management (ISO 14001) for example, can be a great benefit when selling/promoting your services.

    Likewise there are such incentives to organisations such as "investors in people", "equal opportunities employer" and the "charter mark", that show to the world that the company or organisation is prepared to put the necessary investment in to ensure they can provide a quality service.

    Brass Bands likewise provide a service not only to the players who enjoy making music but to the wider community. With this in mind and Frankie's suggestion

    a) how easy would it be to set up a quality certification scheme for Brass Bands?

    b) what are the important points that should be included in the scheme?

    c) what benefits could and should the award bring?


    d) would you like to see your band sign up to it?

    My suggestions are:

    Holders of the tMP Quality Award for Brass Bands (QuABB) conform to the following requirements:

    1. All music held within the library of the band is held legally. No music is contained therein which is in anyway in breach of copyright through either illegal borrowing, republication or arrangement.

    2. The Brass Band has a written equal opportunities policy, and actively encourages attendance from all walks of life.


    Comments please?
  2. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Thanks for the new thread Tim and I'll add my comments from the previous thread as follows:

    Perhaps the Music Publishers Association could offer some incentives to bands that take a "NO ILLEGAL COPYING" stance. What about a certified scheme that bands sign to (having emptied the library of any dodgy copies) and in return perhaps the Association could offer a payment to bands to spend on music. If illegal copying is costing the publishers money then offering money back to bands that are prepared only to use legal copy would be financially to their benefit.

    What about a tMP led campaign to support this?

    I can some of the problems in respect of certification - who would be qualifed to verify the state of a bands library. Perhaps it could go something like this

    1) Band tracks through every piece in library - removing any "illegal" copies if any.
    2) Band officials sign a statement to the effect that this is done at that for future music additions only purchased copies would be added to library
    3) Spot check of a randon sample of music to be carried out by an independent person who signs off certificate
    4) Annual review to check no lapses.

    If the MPA could be invloved with this then perhaps they would be willing to consider running such a scheme and as said before a payment for the purchase of future music to be made to the band based on the annual spend on music. As a suggestion if a band spends £400 on music and has indicated that it would not seek to source the music via illicit means then what about a 20% refund. - £80.00 back to band and MPA get extra sales.
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... why not offer a discount voucher or loyalty scheme to encourage more purchases from publishers? The companies could form an association so that the buyer is not restricted to one outlet.

    It would be difficult to police bands keeping to the rules you have set out. There is nothing to stop someone removing the photo-copies and keeping them elsewhere to avoid the library inspection. By law, they shouldn't have any to begin with so random checks are maybe only the only surefire way of maintaining that condition.
  4. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Interesting topic tim. I must say though, that any grand clearout of illegal copies from band libraries will lead to a significant reduction in programme diversity!! Oh how the audiences will suffer!! (not that i'm condoning the use of illegal music!!)
  5. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Yes but think of all that lovely new music you could buy to replace the years of accumulated crap that gets played year in year out. Think the audience would also appreciate the change.
  6. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    What would be better would be a "photocopy amnesty" whereby bands could get the opportunity to replace their copies with genuine sets for an amount.

    The trouble with all of this discussion is that a large proportion of band works are still out of print and therefore not available.

    As I said in the other thread, some copying is done because you just can't get the music anymore. I'm thinking of some of the old "brown" music that is still popular to play, although not popular enough to reprint. Hopefully over time, this will become less of an issue as works become available again due to computerisation and imaging technology reduces the cost of one-off print runs.

    I contacted a number of publishers and asked them if they had a reprint service. One interesting thing that popped up (which I didn't realise) is that R. Smith & Co make all of their catalogue past and present available for purchase. If only all publishers were as enlightened...
  7. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I am sure that for the sake of performance many bands will have secured photocopies of parts for "old" music from other bands; at least this way the music can be played. Presummably the real concern of the MPA is the wholesale copying of complete sets and the lack of income from this. Whilst accepting that replacement parts should be purchased from the publishers; the charge to locate say a 1st baritone of some vintage overture would not be cost effective.

    Perhaps as part of the scheme the "odd" copy for missing parts should be allowed.

    We currently have a situation were it is clear that there are bands around who have substantial amounts of illegal wholesale copy in their library; Tim's proposal is that for bands that are prepared to put up their library for scrutiny they should get some recoignition. I further feel that a bit of realism should come in to the scheme to allow minor infringments as defined by a written authority. The final goal of this scheme would fundamentally be a change in attitude to the importance of our music and give the MPA what they want without recourse to a potential shut-down of bands that were caught.
  8. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    I agree with all you say.

    Further, in this electronic age, where also photocopiers are also in plentiful supply, couldn't part of this "mop-up" of illegal copies include a service whereby bands could "register" them for a fee.

    What we are really saying is that the MPA rightly reckons that illegal copies that bands have should be paid for. However, that's not to say that the parts need to be legitimate, but that due payment should be made for them.

    Which is where my idea of an amnesty comes in. If a band has a copy of parts that they have not paid for, could they not register them online and pay some fee for doing it? The publisher has not had the costs of printing and distributing but could still benefit from reimbursal.

    As ever with these things, bands will go with the path of least resistance which guides most people and organisations in things like this.

    Given a convenient/cheap opportunity to come clean (carrot) and some mild threat (stick) I think most bands will take up an idea like this.

    As it stands, for a band or person to come "clean" currently means facing the possibility of prosecution and nobody in their right mind is going to do that.
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Don't you think realistically that fastracking and addressing this situation won't come about until a band is taken through the courts and proscecuted? :-?
  10. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Illegal photocopying is rife everywhere though. Why just get the bands? Cos they're an easy target?
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Occasionally, a teacher is hauled through the courts and substantial fines are given to scare off others photocopying copyrighted material outwith the fair deal clause. A band will eventually be made an example of to warn others of the consequences of illegal copying. It's not 'if' but 'when' in my opinion! :-(
  12. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    I agree that its not if but when, but on the same point, maybe there will be that much time and money required to prosecute all bands that the authorities may think it is more cost effective just to keep the status quo! Well, thats just wishful thinking!

    Also an amnesty is definitely needed, a period where bands can be sure that they will not be prosecuted, and can have a real good clear out. Obviously sending all illegal copies to be recycled.

    but we only have to look at tMM's comments on the thread "Keep your files to yourselves... see what can happen..." to know that prosecution of illegal copies can have severe consquences. What's the difference between an illegal mp3 and an illegal sheet of music?

    Although that reminds me of something else, but it is more relevant in the other thread so I'll put it there.
  13. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Ok I know there's an existing thread on copying and the dire consequences of getting caught; what we are proposing here is a pragmatic solution to the problem without the necessity of some poor band getting caught up in litigation for minor infringments.

    I think I'm aware of what we have in our library and we would have no problem signing up to such a scheme as proposed by Tim with the qualifications proposed by me.

    Any comments from any MPA members on this matter? Or even better would anybody know of a contact with whom this could be discussed?
  14. Xerox

    Xerox New Member

    Ive been watching this and the other 'copyright' thread with increasing unease and not a little anger.

    While I'm sure the band world has its criminally minded contingent it must equally be true that the vast majority of banders are among the most law abiding and decent people in the community who would not knowingly steal anything from anybody or infringe any sensible law. What we have here is yet another attempt to 'target the law abiding' by policing those who inadvertantly offend rather than try to do something about the real problem.

    It seems to me that the MPA has much too much power which has not encouraged it to try to remedy its own situation. Before the 'Music Police' are unleashed to target the bandroom in every town and goose step inside to inspect the music library perhaps it might be sensible for the MPA to set up databases of music in print/copyright (similar to those in all libraries/bookshops for written material) and to negotiate sensible working practises with the brass band organizations inside the 'fair dealing' element of the act. If its true that bands need composers, then equally, composers/publishers/copyright owners need bands and their co-operation and goodwill.

    Having perused the tMP article on copyright, and leaving aside its thin lipped moralising and generally 'finger-wagging' tone, it appears that the act was written by people who have no knowledge or interest in the band world which is, incidentally, a mere backwater of the music publishing industry. The difference with bands is that there is a nice permanent bandroom sitting in the middle of most towns just waiting for the attentions of the 'Music police' to score points without doing anything to the pro music world where the real culprits/money lie. The article, while highlighting the many stupidities of the act, actually has very little about the all important 'fair dealing' matter so vital to most bands.

    Several posters, notably 'Will the Sec', 'computerbloke' and 'Brassneck' have made excellent suggestions for sensible working arrangements with MPA/copyright owners. If a few individuals can come up with workarounds and ideas is it too much to hope/ask/expect the great legal minds who formulated the act to do an even better job? Or is it a case of yet another instance of our Lords and Masters across the Channel demanding we come into line? (re 1996 additions)

    Like all the other posters, I do not condone those who blatently copy complete sets of music and pass/sell to other bands, but the vast majority of photocopying in bands is for their day to day activities without any desire to missuse. There are numerous situations where the copier is the only feasible alternative, for example, in youth bands where there are not enough parts to go around and where it is usually vital to give the youngsters copies while retaining the originals safely on file. Even in many adult bands it is/has been standard proceedure to copy for rehearsal use while keeping originals clean and safe. Those of us who are old enough to remember an age before copiers were readily available, can remember the anguish of the band librarians when people left the band with all their parts or when, as I recall on one occaision, the part falling down the crack in the floor of a bandstand!

    Most bands do not have either unlimited money or time to aply for copyright permission to people who, frankly, could'nt care less!! and won't take the time/ trouble to reply. Similarly, it is not usually possible to obtain a copy of the National Anthem of Slabovia!,..its usual to borrow it from a guards band for a one off use rather than take precious time/money for what is perhaps a charity event for Slabovian Refugees. There is no willfull attempt in such cases to defraud anyone, quite the opposite.

    Then there are the MD's who are not happy with the provided (or complete lack of) score and spend their own precious time writing out their own, usually finding lots of misstakes in the music at the same time! I can't believe that anyone could seriously view this as an infringement of copyright. And what about changing a part for a different instrument? If you can't write out that sop passage for rep etc., or transpose tenor horn for horn in F then that is an absurd situation,..more like a 'Two Ronnies' Sketch than the law of a civilised society..."no madam you can't put this carpet down in an octagonal room...!"

    Finally, if the band organisations really want to do something useful they could start to lobby MPA/government for a re-writing of the act, at least with respect to amateur bands. This is bad law which targets the law abiding and polices by fear and threat while doing nothing to safeguard the interests of copyright owners.
  15. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    What if representatives of the music owners were to insist on photographic evidence of illegal copies being scrapped, and the miscreants object on the grounds of humiliation?
    Sounds topical? ;)
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    As a part contributor to the tMP copyright fact sheet, I deeply resent the reference in the above quote. None of us are moralising or finger wagging, we're merely trying to prevent unfortunate situations like that which could come about from any investigations! With so many publishers, composers, arrangers on this forum, imagine if a band got stuffed for having illegal copies etc. Then what would happen? 'Why on tMP, with so many composers, arrangers and publishers on its books, couldn't some sort of copyright guideline be printed here?' Yup, tMP would get the blame for that too! The factsheet is there to try and help and spell out the copyright law as far as our collective knowledge can muster, no matter how much of an ass that law may or may not be! And yes, I dare say ALL of us, at some time in the dim and distant past, have been guilty, inadvertently or otherwise, of flouting that law!

    The fact sheet is as relevant to the people that compiled it as anyone else on this forum. It serves as a reminder to us all. In the days before the Internet, such wealth of useful information would not have been so readily available to musical collectives of any kind. The tMP factsheet is merely taking advantage of the increased communication the Internet has provided to inform its contributors of what the facts are with regard to copyright. We're not trying to preach a gospel, we're simply telling the facts as they are to try and help!

    I can (as a performer AND ex PRS employee - so seeing it from more than one viewpoint) understand your frustration, but don't take it out on those of us on tMP who are genuinely trying to prevent any of its users from coming a cropper! After all, if we were moralising to others, explain this verbatim quote from the factsheet:

    'Many threads on discuss the extremely complex subject of Copyright and its many related issues. It is all too apparent that many of US are confused by the governance and laws relating to copyright and the tMP Team felt that we should put together a new tMP Fact Sheet that is freely available to all tMP visitors and members which will hopefully, in plain English, help US understand some of the ins and outs of UK Copyright law.'
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2004
  17. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    It is clear to me, from the provocative nature of your user name and the insulting tone you have taken in your rank attack on tMPers who are discussing a touchy issue that you are dliberately out to provoke and upset people.

    As a composer, I find your comments regarding the wholesale theft of copyright insulting and highly offensive. Every piece of published music has a copyright statement on it. Therefore anyone who copies a piece of music without the copyright owner's permission is a thief.

    Having said that, there has been too much restriction placed on purchasers of music in the past with regard to replacement of lost/damaged copies and the fairly recent options given by some publishers for 'fair dealing' help to go some way to redressing that situation.

    In these days of computer prepared scores and parts there is no excuse for the lack of a score or for a high cost of reproduction of lost parts. However, in the past, the reproduction of individual parts and the production of scores has been very expensive - in the case of bands this is partly due to the relatively small market for the music. Small print runs cost more.

    Any deliberate choice made to elude paying the cost of the music is a wilful denial of revenue to the publisher and ultimately the composer or arranger. With attitudes like yours, is it any wonder that composers can no longer make a living as composers? Most of us can only make ends meet by having a day job!
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... this sounds a little like the what the UK Government want the IRA to do ... show photographic proof of weapons being destroyed. What's to stop them only disclosing only a percentage of their armoury? In the same sense, bands may show copies being burned, shredded or thrown in a hydrapulper for recycling (or even being given to pulishers), but who really knows the amount of copies they have?
  19. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Almost what I was alluding to (with tongue in cheek) except that it's actually Ian Paisley's Democratic Union Party that is insisting on photographic evidence, not the UK Government. There's a significant difference!
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Apologies Brian, it was only the DUP that wanted the photos. :-(

    I take it that every score and part are uniquely catalogued by each publishing company? If so, any copied part could be traced to the purchaser. If this system isn't universally in place, it should be!

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