Mudcat Café message #38025 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6498   Message #38025
Posted By: Roger Himler
13-Sep-98 - 08:46 PM
Thread Name: Intellectual property
Subject: RE: Intellectual property
Barry,

I do not know about Ireland, but part of the work of BMI and ASCAP is to go around to businesses that play music and make sure that they contribute to the royalties for them. They can be a very intimidating group and are quick to threaten legal action.

This is precisely the approach they took with OLGA, the on-line guitar archive that once offered lyrics and chords to hundreds of songs.

They have done the same to small venues who are not making money off the music.

The following story may be apochryphal, but I suspect it is not. A local park sponsored concerts on summer evenings. They paid the performers, but did not charge admission. Twenty or thirty people would show up. ASCAP came by and saw the large field where these concerts occurred. They said it could easily hold 400 people and they wanted the park to pay royalties to ASCAP based on that number, not on the 20 or so who really came. They threatened legal action if the park did not comply.

The result? No more concerts in that local park. So, Barry, be aware that the rights of songwriters are being defended, and perhaps much too vigorously.

Roger in Baltimore