Copyright Breaching - You Have Been Warned !

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jonno, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Jonno

    Jonno Member

    I understand (from friends high up in the music trade) that the MPA (Music Publishers Association) are now taking an interest in the band world. They have, over the last few years, clamped down on choral societies and caught a few with un-authorised arrangements and photocopies; both attracting multi-thousand pound fines.

    I hear they are now starting to take a look at the band/orchestra field as they've heard of the amount of photocopying and illegal, un-authorised, arranging that goes on within it. Could any band afford the associated possible £25,000 fine that could go with being caught. I believe that the MPA has the authority to check any band library or any music at rehearsals or concerts. (Perhaps somebody could clarify)

    You have been warned.
  2. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    No, they require police help to search anything (i.e. a warrant), but they are easy to get.
  3. mr_anon

    mr_anon Member

    Is this serious? How much photocopied music do you need in your library to get you fined? Many bands will be under threat by this.
  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I should imagine that most bands have more than enough music in illegal forms to get fined large amounts right now.
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    .. not that walls have ears! :rolleyes:
  6. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    We have indeed been warned, but it's hardly an official warning, is it?
    Given the amount of copying that doesn't go on at all in brass bands, swooping on some unsuspecting band seems to me like a licence to print money. The banding equivalent of speeding cameras, if you like...
    An official notice would be nice.
  7. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    umm . . . the official warning is the copyright notice that appears on every piece of music

  8. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    ^What he said
  9. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    As far as I understand you can have as many photocopies as you like - as long as - you have the original copy.
    In my experience most bands will by the sheet music and issue copies to the players hence preserving the originals.
    The problem is where the band has no originals in their library.
  10. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... this has been covered extensively before and covered in this thread ... important reading regarding photocopying of published music ... basically any full copy of a piece of music (especially parts) is illegal! :-?
  12. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Even though this is common practice, it is still illegal, unless the publisher has given explicit permission for this kind of copying. (This is US copyright law, but I believe that the international laws which most countries adhere to are close). You might have an argument if (1) you have no more copies than you have originals and (2) the music is out of print or orphaned so that more originals are not available. But I wouldn't count on it.
  13. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member

    I can't argue with that.

    At the end of the day you must be careful.

    The only other points I could make BUT not verify until I can dig out the law and court transcriptions are that:

    1: Regardless of ownership if you have more than one band in your organisation and you share copies, that is 'distribution' catagorically a no no.

    2. I have vague recolection of a US case involving, I think an orchestra or choire who argued in court that it was acceptable to have 'working copies' as long as during public performances the originals were used! What I can't remember is the judgement or outcome.:x
  14. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    What I'm trying to say is that to suddenly enforce something that's been going on as long as there have been roneo machines is not really cricket. Not that you'd know about that, you colonial... :p

    Not that any of this makes illegal copying right, of course, but it really is like being the only car in a stream of traffic that gets flagged down by the flics. Morally right, but unfair and leaves a bad feeling.

    Incoherent and Occasionally Inarticulate Badger
  15. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    While we are looking at international policy -

    In Australia you can have up to 30 copies in any given set of originals. IE you go out and buy a Roger Thorne arrangement for an amalgamated band of 70 players, only 30 players can posess photocopies.
  16. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member


    As far as I understand, regardless of the rules in your own country, the rules that would apply here are from the country of origin. ie: My arrangements (UK) state that it is illegal to photocopy. So whether you live in Brisbane or Barnsley it is an illegal act.

    On a personally note and regarding my own music, I certainly have no objections to bands photocopying the odd part to ensure that all band members have got a copy in front of them. What annoys me is when bands copy and exchange complete sets.

    Just to remind everyone tMP does have a Copyright Fact Sheet available which not only explains the DO's and DONT's of copyright but explains the consequences and effects it has on others.

    It certainly goes a long way to explain this complicated issue.

    We may all end up a little wiser for taking the time to read it.

  17. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    I think that as a general rule, you cannot enforce another countries laws in your own. If copying is legal in your country, you can do it, regardless of where the piece is published. The publisher might take a dim view and refuse to supply you music then that's their privilege.

    I think that it is complicated by the fact that by buying a piece of music you are entering a kind of contract with the supplier to abide by their provisos. However, those provisos are not enforceable if they directly contract with the law in your country.

    Do not some countries have explicit copyright exemption facilities for backup purposes?

    As an aside, I think it is true to say that a lot of bands have "copies" of music where it is no longer available. I've already commented elsewhere about "deleted" music and how really this should not have to be the case in this day and age...

    We spend lots of money on new music from reputable suppliers where it is possible and I think most bands do and in some cases, the typeset quality/proofing leaves a LOT to be desired...

    We had some music the other day, a new set of Christmas music, that had text instructions layed over some other instructions. Truly appalling.
  18. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Quite. UK law does not extend outside the UK, sorry Roger! If it did Taiwan would be in a lot of trouble!
  19. peatair

    peatair Member

    This "warning" is very timely and people ought to look carefully at what they do. I'm afraid that there is a lot of misunderstanding about copyright generally. Having studied "intellectual property" law recently I believe that I am qualified to make just a few basic points:

    1. Once a composer (call him/her X) creates a musical work then the copyright has come into existence. [Copyright arises automatically].

    2. The copyright in the music itself will last until 31st December in the year which is 70 years after the death of the composer (X). e.g. X dies on 1st November 2004 then copyright in X's music will last until 31st December 2074.

    3. X sends his music to a publisher. Usually, X will "assign" the copyright to that publisher. In other words, the publisher now owns the copyright.

    4. The publisher prepares the music for printing (i.e. a "typographical edition" is created) and publishes it. There is a separate copyright in this typographical edition. This lasts for 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

    5. Legally, ONLY the copyright owner can copy the work. Hence, "borrowing" and "photocopying" are unlawful activities. An action can be taken for infringement by the copyright owner. There can also sometimes be criminal liability. The criminal side of the law is enforced by Local Authority Trading Standards Officers.

    6. There are some - very limited - exceptions when copying is permitted. One example is "fair dealing" for private study purposes. Other exceptions exist for libraries etc. Full details are in the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988.

    Borrowing a score and / or parts from (say) a University library and copying the lot for use in another band would certainly NOT be fair dealing. The problem here is that what amounts to "fair dealing" will be whatever the court dealing with a cases decides.

    7. the mouthpiece has an excellent info. sheet on copyright. The Music Publishers Association is also an excellent source of information. Many solicitors who specialise in "intellectual property" cases also have lots of information on their websites.

    There is lots of lovely music out there - taken from film scores etc. It's great to be able to play some of it. However, we ought to be responsible and avoid all this copying. A composer / arranger can spend many many hours on just a few bars of a piece. They are surely entitled to a proper return for their time and work.
  20. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    I agree with most of that.

    There has been a lot of debate recently in the computer press regarding what is and isn't "intellectual property" (IP).
    Unfortunately it's a bit of a red-herring to talk about IP as though there were specific laws relating to IP per se. There are not.

    In actuallity there are laws related to Trade Marks, Copyright and Company Secrets etc which deal with specific aspects that could be termed "intellectual property" but the term is not recognised legally.

    One aspect of this that hasn't been talked about much is the "arrangement" of copyrighted material for band where such an arrangement does not currently exist.
    I know it goes on as I've played some of it over the years..

    I'm not sure what the procedure for getting the OK from a copyright holder is in order to produce an arrangement that is approved. Presumably a suitable remuneration might be forthcoming for permission, or the copyright holder might elect to grant permission without remuneration at their discretion.

    If the procedure were clearer and simpler then I'm sure most would follow it....

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