[LINK] music industry goes after public performance

Brendan Scott brendansweb at optusnet.com.au
Mon Jun 15 15:29:51 EST 2009

Chris Gilbey wrote:
> 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
> correct?>>
> 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.

I think this is not the case.  If you own all relevant copyrights you can choose not to collect a royalty, even if APRA wants to collect one.  I haven't looked into the music side of things, but that's the case for literary works (as explained to me by the Crown Solicitor in charge of those things). 


> 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.

I'm not convinced that collecting societies are in general good for authors.  I suspect they are bad, mainly because of the anti-entrepreneurial attitude they engender, but also because of the anti-competitive conduct that results (eg all content charged at the same rate - this discriminates against new entrants in favour of established players).  

The fact that an author receives a benefit from membership of a collecting society doesn't show that they are better off than if the collecting society didn't exist. 


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