Arangeing/Performing... Copyright issues?

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by trumpet blower88, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I've written out a litle arangment of Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" for my Ska Band's set. Now I know it's copyrighted and all, but other smaller local bands and what not play lots of covers of other band's music.
    Does anyone know if I need to do anything about copyright issues before my band starts playing it at gigs and stuff? Right now I just have the midi file and score saved on Finale, so I don't think thats "illegal" in anyway. But if we perform it do we need any special permisison from who ever now has the rights to Glenn Miller's stuff?

    I just figured theres quite a few people on here who play lots of gigs so you might know some of that leagle stuff, but if not, thats cool...

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Ryan

    Ryan New Friend

    Jun 13, 2005
    I can tell you this... For our halftime show we are doing video games music arranged by our drum major, I know we called Nintendo to get the rights to music, I dont know if we had to but I would try and get the permission if at all possible. Just to be safe I guess...
  3. DLoeffler

    DLoeffler Pianissimo User

    Jul 16, 2005
    Columbia, South Carolina
    In a nutshell: If you did not write the original, you MUST get permission from the publisher and/or composer to do an arrangement. Before anyone says anything about not needing to do that to record, you pay a mechanical licensing fee to the Harry Fox agency. The publisher or composer can not stop anyone from recording a work. Even an arrangement. You just can't sell the arrangement. I know what you are thinking. Weird.

    Anyway, as Ryan said, get permission. Sometimes it is as easy as writing a letter and asking. Just tell the owner what you are doing with the piece and there is usually not a problem. Sometimes you will have to pay a fee. The main thing is: if you are arranging something for a not-for-profit venue, the publishers usually don't care. IF you are arranging to sell or make money performing the piece, the publishers will demand payment in the form of licensing fees.

    I have a arrangement on my website. Tried to contact the composer and could not find him through ASCAP, BMI, name search, etc... One day we got an email demanding payment. We sent a letter apologizing with the number of arrangements that had been sold and asked what type of business agreement he would like. When he saw that the volume was not that great, he simply ignored us. However, we are obligated to send him 50% in royalties, which is industry standard. As long as you are not a jerk about an arrangement, the publisher or composer usually are very easy to work with.

    For more info, check out the Library of Congress regarding copyright do's and don'ts.

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