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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.08 > 14Prev  Next

Re: Royalties and "This Business of Music"
By Matthew Caulfield

The good book, "Business of Music", comes at the end of this note. But first two other related points.

In the last digest Dan Wilson suggests using the same strategy which S. K. Goodman uses sucessfully to obtain tacit permission to use a composition on an audio recording without paying royalties to the Harry Fox Office, using that strategy in order to obtain permission from a copyright holder to make an arrangement of a copyrighted composition. I'm not sure that will work. The situations are different.

Under the compulsory license provision Goodman has the right to use a compostion once any other user has been granted the same right; the only question involved is the amount of the fee, if any. But the composer of a tune (or the author of a work) has the absolute right to permit, deny, or control any and all use of his creation. Granting the right of use to one arranger or adapter or reprinter does not permit any other further use. Therefore, it seems to me dangerous to assume that silence in this case implies consent, though it would in Goodman's case. (Not speaking as a lawyer here).

Regarding the Harry Fox office's interest or lack thereof in collecting royalties on small runs of recordings, which was mentioned several digests back, the late Merrick Price told me once of his experience in calling the Fox office about royalties on the recordings of the Seabreeze Wurlitzer 165 which he was having issued. Some distance into the conversation he mentioned the small number of copies he expected to have issued, and the office terminated the call by saying, "Get out here. If that's all the copies you expect to sell, we aren't interested. It isn't worth our time to even check your tune list against our files."

Now -- the good book. Two books, actually, by Sidney Shemel and M. William Krasilowsky, published by Billboard Pub. Co. in 1967 and 1971. They come highly recommended for their help on the ins-and-outs of the music trade and on the law of music copyright. The titles are "This Business of Music" and "More About This Business of Music." Has anyone here used them and found them helpful in answering some of the questions being discussed here lately? I have not, though I have been intending to do that.

Matthew Caulfield

(Message sent Wed 8 Jan 1997, 17:00:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Business, Music, Royalties, This

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