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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10973
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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What is the licensing position if a choir that has purchased

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What is the licensing position if a choir that has purchased licensed music for each of its members then produces a 'learning track' created by the choirs' music team that can then be copied and distributed by various means (CD, online?)?
1. Can you better explain the situation. What music is in the recorded "Learning track"? Is the music in the "learning track" currently recorded by other music artists, some of them well known? Or is it historical music? Does the choir have an agreement amongst themselves about the copyright of music produced by the choir? Who are you? Are you a member of the choir, or the choirs' music team? What is your own personal interest in the issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am a newly appointed librarian to the choir, and a singer in the choir. Each 'learning track' would be a newly recorded series of 4 separate melody lines played by our accompianist for each voice which allows choristers to hear the notes they need to sing, not the words. The music for which the learning tracks are created is in copyright, mainly modern, and each copy is purchased separately to ensure licensing and copyright in the sheet music is appropriately recognised. My issue is to understand where what appears to be very complex and not clearly described licensing situation with learning tracks is to be approached by me in my new role.
2. The first thing is that whilst a "learning track" is covered by the educational use exemption from copyright, this does not permit the sale or transfer of any CD or recording to a third party without the payment of royalties on the song(s) to the currently recorded copyright owner.
3. Essentially, where you do a "cover" of an existing recorded track, royalties fall due to be paid to the existing copyright owner. It would be different if the recording was of a song which was more than the life of the copyright owner plus 70 years old. Then you could offer the CD or recording for sale. However, existing copyuright owners must be paid if you offer a CD for sale or transfer it to third parties who are not members of the choir.
4. It makes no difference that you are only recording the music, not the words. Each two bars of a song or eight notes falls to be licensed by copyright. So merely playing three bars of a recorded copyright song gives rise to the payment of royalties to the existing owner.
5. There is an exemption for educational purposes. However, once you go outside providing a recording for choir members, you fall outside this exemption.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But my situation will be that the learning tracks created by the choir are only FOR the choir, and are not sold or transferred outside the group of choir members who have already paid a license fee through their purchase of the original sheet music...
6. Well so long as all recordings are only used for choir members, then your activity falls within the educational exemption to copyright.
7. Please RATE the answer as unless you RATE the Answer your Expert receives no payment for answering your Question so there is no incentive to answer any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thats very helpful - can you confirm that applies both to CD copies of the learning track AND online access to a members only section of a website where the tracks are downloadable?? (part of my original question?)
8. All members of the members only section of the website must be members of the choir and the purpose must be educational. then it is fine to have a downloadable track recorded.
Buachaill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thats great - eases my mind considerably. Thank you
9. You are welcome.