[LINK] music industry goes after public performance

Chris Gilbey chris at perceptric.com
Mon Jun 15 14:46:55 EST 2009

Re Karl Auer¹s comments....

<<Uh - all your well-made points relate to people playing *other people's*
music, either live or recorded, where indeed it is the case that APRA
gets its pound of flesh.

If I create original music, and either put it on a CD or play it live,
APRA has no hold on me unless I choose to give it one. That is, I can
play at a venue or permit use of my CD on my terms, not APRA's.

The rest of this message depends upon this assumption - so is it

APRA acts essentially as a government approved monopoly in Australia.

If you are a songwriter and you want to get paid performance income for your
works you join APRA. You assign the right to collect revenues from live
performances to them. You can not withhold some portion of that assignment.
So if you want to get paid as a songwriter, you gotta join the union.

If you own a venue and you want to play music in it, you have to have a
license. End of story.

Artists are artists. Songwriters are songwriters. Different copyrights,
different collecting societies. So two licenses for two different, though
related sets of rights.

And an artists playing his or her own songs still has the performance of the
songs collected by APRA. This is to stop equally rapacious club owners and
café proprietors (to those rapacious record companies and publishers :))
from diddling the songwriter/artist/performer.

So from a songwriter point of view, why would you not belong to APRA?  ­
they are an extremely benign organization for a songwriter and they really
do work quite assiduously for the rights of the writer. (I may not agree
with some of the things that they do, but that has nothing to do with my
general belief of the beneficial role that they play in regard to
songwriters... As does CAL on behalf of creators of literary works.

So the answer is that no writer would be able to, or would have reason to
withhold the right to collect revenues for their songs. So the hypothetical
café that contracts with a local band to provide canned music would have to
pay twice. Pay the band and pay APRA.

You are right that someone recording their own music on a CD and playing it
at a gym would not be liable to pay either a synch or mechanical fee for
putting that music onto a CD. But they would still need a license to play it
in the aforesaid gym!

We need to get some clarity here on what the organizations that are out
there do, and who pulls their strings...

There are now a plethora of societies that represent various groups. Looking
at the boards provides some insight into the view that they have and the
leverage that they are using.

APRA has a board that is 50% controlled by songwriters and 50% by corporate
publishing companies. The chairman is always a songwriter.

ARIA has a board that is controlled by record companies. They are
predominantly controlled by overseas interests.

I am not sure of the constitution of the CAL board, but believe that there
are authors that form part of the board.

To me, the big issue is to have representation of at least 50% and
preferably control vested in creatives, rather than corporates, and
particularly to not have the corporate involvement be proxies for decisions
that are made in Hollywood (or London, or Amsterdam etc). It is centralized
control in parties that have no interest in Australia except as a colony
that repatriates $$ to the empire¹s moneybox that irks me.



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