Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums

Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums (
-   Music (
-   -   Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns. (

ratherbpiping 06-30-2006 09:30 AM

Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
One thing that people loose sight on when discussing copywright and such things is the fact that even if there has been an infringement, that does not mean that the one protected has to sue or collect damages (what damages?). That is a choice on their part. While the law may live and die by the letter, people have capability of being reasonable.

Composers of bagpipe music, and publishers of bagpipe music and recorders of bagpipe music have a small set of clientle. the largest part of that clientle is members of Grade four pipe bands.

Grade four pipe bands are not professional and are not trying to become rock star status with million dollar mansions, and drive around in limosines. For that matter neither are the big bands, or soloist. When is the last time you saw Jack lee's face on National Enquirer or even Rolling Stone magazine.

Many of our heros are that because of their abilities, their teaching, their support. The greatest reward for many of them is to hear someone playing their music. They desirve credit for this. Why would they make it difficult for any band to play their music? Why would they not encourage bands to use their music at competitions and performances. As tunes become more popular more book sales take place, and more truely professional recordings are sold.

Since we are the custmer of their music, one would think they would encourage us to use their product, otherwise why would we buy it.

Now when I do make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with my million dollar mansion in the back ground, based on income generated from the fabulous rendition of "Clumsy Lover" that I recorded and it went Platinum, I would likely expect a message from Mr. Dickey.

The laws are there to protect creators of music, not to stifle the people.

Practicalities also play in it. If everyone demands a piece of the pie the cost of these CD's would be ridiculas. then nobody benifits.

Sure, the ultra pure can argue up and down the block saying "Strickly Speaking" Zero tolerance is another buzz term these days. Usually used by people who are afraid to make judgements.

Kenton Adler 06-30-2006 10:29 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
I agree with you completely Mike. If it was big business, and mass distributed recordings raking in significant amounts of money it would be a different issue entirely. Intellectual property is and important issue, as is copyright. And in a perfect world composers would be adequately compensated for all their work, and no one would buy one copy of a new book of tunes and then make copies of the one tune they wanted for the rest of their band.

But that's how it works in piping. And recording a band competition and making a few CDs to sell a handful of copies to interested parties isn't stealing anything from anyone, or hurting anybody in any way that I can see.

I would MUCH rather know that a band is playing my tune and doing well in competition than make a big stink about them not sending me my $5 in deserved roylaties. And I would love to hear the recording of it that someone made, even if i had to send them a few bucks to cover their time and effort.

It's not the same thing at all as making a recording that is intended from the start to be mass produced and marketed and specifically to make a profit.

I'll also venture that most "Zero Tolerance" types only adhere to that until they find something THEY think should be tolerated.

KiltedCowboy 06-30-2006 11:13 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
Ok.. thanks for the background info Mike... To learn what spurred this see Mike's thread in Pipe bands forum.

Can I use Kenton's "ohhhh I am so hurt by all the names you called me on the internet" rant? Look, I am not a stickler nor anything like that. I do see the benefits of listening to one's self play. I brought up the idea many times about going back to having judges speak into recorders as the band plays. Especially now, when you can just hand them a SD card.

AGAIN, my contention was that these guys selling the music at the games would give the recording industry another group to go after for their current copying attack. I am NOT in favor of their tactics. see this I don't think the way the competitions are fading especially here in the east, that the scottish games can afford the attention of the recording industry. Why bring on such trouble? If we call attention to music copyright issues, such as selling CDs of competitions, we run the risk of messy court battles. If that becomes true, then I am sure the games will just drop any competition to avoid this. Hence my concern here. I would like to still compete. I am NOT on the recording company's side. However, I do believe selling an unauthorized recording is stealing. I do not believe recording it for your own use is stealing.
I believe, this would be a good "gift" that bands/soloists receive along with the scoresheets.

crunluathman 06-30-2006 11:21 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
OK, so let's lift the ban on posting and exchanging "copyrighted" tunes here on the Dunsire forums. And for that matter, why all the fuss a while back over bagpipe freeware allegedly a rip off from Rob MacNeill's software.
How do we say Highland Games A is permitted (although technically illegal) to sell CD's with copyrighted music on it, but copying "Itchy Fingers" from a Dunsire post is not?

Kenton Adler 07-02-2006 12:16 PM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
And my contention is that the recording industry doesn't care two whits about someone at a Highland games recording the band contest and selling a few copies. They aren't marketing them for sale to the masses, just a handful of interested band people more likely, and there isn't enough money involved to make it worth the worry.

And it isn't legal, or right for a member of a band to buy a copy of Scots Guard and copy a tune out of it and pass it out to the rest of the band. Nor is it legal or right for a member of a band or a soloist to accept a photocopy of a tune out of a published book without compensation to the owner of the publishing rights. The law doesn't say, "Except in limited quantities for your immediate band members". It says that it may not be reproduced. But I'd venture a guess that just about every member of the forum has done it at one time or another, and doesn't really see the harm.
And I don't see the harm in that either. It's not copying the tune and claiming it as your own, or putting it your book and distributing it to the masses for a profit.

That's what I mean when I say some people believe in "No Tolerance" until it's something they believe should be tolerated, and then THAT's okay. What's the difference morally, or legally?

Highland Harry 07-02-2006 06:28 PM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.

Originally posted by Kenton Adler:
That's what I mean when I say some people believe in "No Tolerance" until it's something they believe should be tolerated, and then THAT's okay. What's the difference morally, or legally?
True, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".

Don't think there's enough money involved to get anybody in the legal industry interested.

Could you imagine MacTavish breaking into a Lawyers office and ranting about the $50 he's out from his copywright royalties?

Klondike Waldo 07-03-2006 06:58 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
Is it realluy an issue of whether the recordingindutry wioll come after you or not, or is it an issue of what's right and fair? (And it is a right we're talking about- copyright is the right to control copying of intellectual property- it's not copywrite or copywright.) It sounds to me that some of us are taking the position, "well, since we're only cheating a little bit, we'll probably fly under the lawyers' RADAR." If you want to record someone else's creation, or copy it to distribute it, why not contact the author to ask permission? It could well be that the author would be thrilled that you want to perform the work, (I suspect most piping composers would be OK with that) but is it really our place to decide that for the author? Most piping composers are not listed with BMI, ASCAP or any of the other performance rights groups, so you're right in thinking that there's little or no chance on being sued for unauthorized use. It's just right, and couteous to either purchase teh music (rather than copy it) and ask permission form the author before you record it.

FWIW, last time I checked songwriters royalties were set by statute at $.06 per song per record. That's the maximum royalty, not the minimum. typically, the record companies negotiate less than the statutory royalty, so realistically we're looking at maybe 3-4 cents per copy. Not much at all for a small market like bagpiping records. it would take a huge amount of recordigs to support an annual wage. So, to sum up, it's not a major economic issue, but one of fairness and respect.

Gary Krueger 07-03-2006 07:40 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
I agree with Bob so far as the fairness and respect goes. I was a Director of Religious Education for 20+ years and as is our normal procedures, we would put together programs including the lyrics (and some times the music) of various religious tunes to be used at things like First Communions and Confirmations etc. I was new and didn't realize the issue until I was at a workshop where a gentleman, a very very prolific composer of religious music told me over dinner that he literally could not make a living since most of his tunes were illegally copied and used without any return to him.

I admit that religious hymns etc have a larger audience than do the typical piping tunes, but the issue is the same.

We settled the problem by buying an annual liscense to copy, for a flat fee, any publisher's music which meant that the composers would at least get some remuneration for their efforts.
(It didn't hurt that the larger publishers had begun suing individual parishes all over the country for copyright infringements.)

Kenton Adler 07-03-2006 08:36 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
There ya go. A reasonable solution.

ALL pipe bands and solo pipers, especially those who get paid to perform (weddings, funerals, or whatever)should buy an annual license to copy, or to perform, or to record). Where do we sign up? I'd buy a license like that.

In addition though, anyone who is not a registered non-profit and doesn't report their piping gig income, no matter how small, to the IRS needs to start adding that to your W-2. Same thing really. If you made $50 last year playing the bagpipe and didn't report it, it's a violation of the law.

Again, no tolerance means NO tolerance.

I don't disagree at all that composers should be compensated for the use of their work. And a performer's work should also be protected.

That said, who's going to enforce it? And to what degree? Who is the entity that's going to see the composers and publishers receive their six cents?

Maureen said it very well on the Pipe Band forum where this conversation started. We're somewhere in between. We're sort of a folk art, and sort of a performing art. Nobody's trying to rip anybody off, but you would nickel and dime the life right out of our entire artform if you tried to start making every band and every soloist pay to use every piece of music that we play that's not in public domain. Unless there was really some sort of reasonably priced coverall license. And we're not like some high school that puts on a musical once a year and pays for the right to use Fiddler on the Roof. We have lots of tunes in our repertoires, some of which get mis-labeled as "traditional". Mairi's Wedding being an excellent example. That's not a traditional tune. But who here can name the author, and when was the last time you sent him a royalty check?


ratherbpiping 07-03-2006 08:45 AM

Re: Recording Band Competitions Copyright protection concerns.
I don't disagree with you Klondike. We ashould look at fairness and practicalities, and I have never been a black and white guy, so bear with me for a minute.

My kids love to re-enact things they see in movies if it strikes them as humurous or meaningful. They do it with accents and dramtic flair. Suppose I video them. The scenes they mimick may come from several movies. Make copies and keep them for future blackmail purposes at weddings, graduations etc! Will iI ask for permission from the movie makers?

Suppose I send copies to grandma, aunts and cousins? Do I get permission from the movie makers?

Suppose I ask Grandma, Auntie, and Cousins for donations to the kids college Fund, Then Do I ask The movie makers permission?

Suppose I use it as an educational tool for them to improve their dramatic skills, and film each other to spur their intrest in the dramatic arts. Do I then ask for the Movie makers Permission?

Or they are part of a drama club and I make 15 copies for all the kids in the performance? Do I ask permission?

Now suppose I video the Public presentation of the drama club, and make copies available to the cast. Do I ask the movie makers for permission. Even if they offer to help out with the costs and cover something for my time.

Suppose I video the performaqnce and offer it to the audience?

Suppose I do it up right complete with Shrink wrap and start selling it at Blockbuster or on-line? Maybe to spice it up I add clipps from the actual movies?

All of these scenerios are different. There may be sequences from 20 movies involved.

Our band's medely contains 6 tunes. with a competition of 10 bands , that is 60 permissions. FOr what. Granted, our band could ask for permission to play the 6 tunes in performance. That would be manageable. The Games committee does ask for releases of photograghs for promotion of therir games, it could include recording of the band. But can the games practically get permission from all the writers for all the bands when they have no control over what the band will be playing?

If the recording is to be mass marketed, to the public as an alternative to other "Legal" offerings, than better get the ducks in a row. IF the recording industry is concerned about a bunch of grade three/four bands recording themselves as a hobby and to help improve them selves and just have some fun, or a keepsake of their own performance, as I said before they are in the dumpster.

I think the recording industry has more worries with "DJ's" playing and remixing CD's for profit at funtions dances and weddings, from garage bands doing the same. Than this type of recording.

This type of recording does more to sell the "Legal" copies. I would buy a recording of Allister Gillies playing an MSR rather than UCR PB. But I would like a recording of UCR PB so I can hear where we need to improve. One does not replace the other. The other thing that the recording industry has to battle with is Copying of published music whether on CD or printed form. A photcopied book or a Burned CD of a Copyrighted CD is replacement of the Legal copy.

So, by the letter of the law, there may be infringement, but not by the spririt, nobody is being harmed, and there is no theft going on. IF there were a lawsuit, the recording industry would have to cite damages. What damages are there? Such action does not make business or practical sense. except to lawyers, who as in all law suits always seem to be the big winners. IF these recordings were being presented as an alternative to RP BLandford's selling copies of SFU's latest alblum, sure there is some aurgument. But not much.

Klondike, to your question, "is it our place?" Sure, we can make judgements as to how we interact with others, treat others and we have to judge ourselves if we are treating others fiarly.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:25 PM.