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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.08 > 13Prev  Next

Re: Royalties for Mechanical Music
By Ed Berlin

S. K. Goodman said:

> it has been my practice to go ahead and produce the recording first,
> and if it actually sells out 1,000 copies (well below the 5,000 unit
> "demo" limit set by law), consider another 1,000 unit run. These
> numbers are so small in the grand scheme of modern commercial music
> that it seems ridiculous to even call their issuance to the attention
> of the licensing agencies...

Then Andy LaTorre asked:

> Well, suppose the agency gets wind of this? Do they have the right to
> slap you with a bill or fine (I heard or read somewhere that copyright
> infringement fines are $10,000). Can this happen even if you produce
> only ONE unit?

Consider the case of Olympic Records & Crown Publishers, which put out Dick Zimmerman's LP "Complete Works of Scott Joplin" in the 1970s. He recorded some excerpts of Joplin's "Treemonisha" without first getting the rights (supposedly they had never been recorded, but they had been ... so prior permission actually was not required) and the companies were sued by the Lottie Joplin Thomas Trust, which owned the copyright for the opera. The result was that the recording companies had to pay one-half of their profits, plus about $100,000 "in lieu damages" and interest.

Ed Berlin

(Message sent Wed 8 Jan 1997, 14:19:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Mechanical, Music, Royalties

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