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PRS call for a Busking Day

GUEST,The Shambles 07 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 07 Jun 10 - 01:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM
Chris Partington 07 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM
Jack Campin 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM
VirginiaTam 07 Jun 10 - 02:28 PM
Leadfingers 07 Jun 10 - 06:39 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM
Rob Naylor 07 Jun 10 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Michael Ricketts 08 Jun 10 - 04:30 AM
breezy 08 Jun 10 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,disslecksik 08 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Pablo 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,disslecksik 08 Jun 10 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,PRS 08 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Busker 08 Jun 10 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,King of the Bus 08 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,OohRogerPalmer 08 Jun 10 - 07:18 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 08 Jun 10 - 08:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 08 Jun 10 - 08:20 PM
Rob Naylor 09 Jun 10 - 10:31 AM
VirginiaTam 09 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM
VirginiaTam 10 Jun 10 - 01:12 PM
autoharpbob 10 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM
autoharpbob 10 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 11 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 11 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Jun 10 - 07:15 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 12 Jun 10 - 04:55 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jun 10 - 06:26 AM
Howard Jones 12 Jun 10 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 12 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 13 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 13 Jun 10 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Dan Plews 14 Jun 10 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 14 Jun 10 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Jun 10 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 14 Jun 10 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Guest Merek & Dary 14 Jun 10 - 08:32 AM
Rob Naylor 14 Jun 10 - 08:54 AM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 09:00 AM
pavane 14 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Dan Plews 14 Jun 10 - 12:43 PM
s&r 14 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 02:57 PM
Howard Jones 14 Jun 10 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Jun 10 - 04:33 PM
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Subject: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 11:17 AM

http://lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com/2010/06/national-busking-day.html

National Busking Day - calls music industry

PRS for Music, the organisation that represents composers and songwriters, has called for a National Busking Day in recognition of the importance of busking in many new performers' careers.


Does anyone else suspect ulterior motives from PRS?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:28 PM

PRS for Music is also calling for every town and city to have a designated 'Busking Site', or 'Busk Stop' where performers can safely play.

Safe from whom?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM

And then they can send out their spies to check what they are playing and send them a bill...


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Chris Partington
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:39 PM

And then, perhaps, you can't play anywhere other than that designated site, and it will need a PRS licence to go with the entertainment licence.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM

I presume what they're going to do for the day is get their army of pieceworker agents to go round the country distributing their royalty takings for that day into buskers' hats.

I mean, they surely wouldn't make a statement like that without putting their money where their mouth is, would they?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 02:28 PM

There is a little dance group in south east England that only taught dance movement to little ones 7 and under had to close because PRS wanted more than the teacher took in annually.

PRS actually threatened to sue the teacher for last 5 to 7 years of using copyrighted music. She used children's songs mostly with some classic rock mixed in, I think. Early Beatles and Beach Boys kind of stuff.

Teacher applied for an arts grant in order to help her pay PRS so school could continue. Application was rejected.

Really stinks.

If PRS will go after a tiny tots dance movement group in a small village then no one is safe.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:39 PM

PRS is a wonderful organisation IF your name is Paul McCartney


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:10 PM

YEAH! That about says it all Terry.

If you are Terry Silver, or Don Thompson, and you would like your share of royalties for your original lyrics and/or music, or for your original arrangement.............

Dream on!

You may own the copyright, but Paul Simon, Elvis Presley's estate, or Michael Jackson's heirs, will get all the dosh.

And if one of them nicks YOUR song, just try to prove it's yours!

It took Bob Kenward eighteen years to win the right to sing his song, and John Conolly is still fighting for the rights to Fiddlers' Green.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:13 PM

Incidentally Terry, the rights to almost all Lennon/McCartney originals actually belong to Michael Jackson's estate.

Mine of useless information, that's me.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:18 PM

Don T: It took Bob Kenward eighteen years to win the right to sing his song, and John Conolly is still fighting for the rights to Fiddlers' Green.

Which of Bob's songs was that then? And what's the story?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Michael Ricketts
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:30 AM

C'mon guys, while I too have never been PRS for Music's biggest fan, I think we're all going a little overboard on this. Companies roll out these 'calling on' campaigns all the time, probably just pr.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: breezy
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:34 AM

'busking Day'

That would be the day of rest then !


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,disslecksik
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

I once got a twix that was solid chocolate. I never thought about it at the time but now it's pretty obvious PRS took the biscuit!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Pablo
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:35 AM

"If PRS will go after a tiny tots dance movement group in a small village then no one is safe. "


OH GOD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO OH GOD OH GOD.

Do you think PRS stole Maddie?

You paranoid Icelandic chancers.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,disslecksik
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:37 AM

Is it true that PRS take the spare digits from those weird six fingered babies and put them in a giant fridge in their basement? I heard that they do this in order to, one day, create a super musician!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,PRS
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM

Watch it! Anymore of these negative vibes and I'll bring the house down.

On a serious note, PRS are superb. I don't know where all the bad ju ju is coming from.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Busker
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 06:46 AM

Never mind PRS, some chuffing immigrant slipped me a 1 euro coin the other day. I thought it would be different under the Torys, but no.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,King of the Bus
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM

Busk then, wherever you may be,
For I am the King of the Bus said Me,
You can play the spoons, wherever you may be,
Just please don't piss in my hat.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,OohRogerPalmer
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:18 AM

PRS Call for a Busking day?

What the hell?

I want to know that the Guatemalan pan pipes I'm listening too and paying sweet geoff all for are genuine Guatemalan starving families not Toby and Giles dressed up for a day.

But your right, this is how Hitler started.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:16 PM

""Which of Bob's songs was that then? And what's the story?""

The song was Bob's composition "Doctor Syn", which was written ahead of the filming of the Disney film "Moonraker", and Disney Studios accused him of breaching their copyright.

They tied him up in legal constraints for eighteen years, but he won in the end.

John Conolly, when last I spoke to him (and that was about two years ago), told me that he had almost been convinced that his surname, Conolly, was spelled T R A D.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:20 PM

It seems to me that the PRS favours the rights of big "names", over those of genuine, but less well known, composers.

I can think of no reason why they would be unaware of John Conolly's copyright in "Fiddler's Green".

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 10:31 AM

Thanks, Don.

That was the first of Bob's songs that I learned ( I play it like the Stuart Pendrill version, though, not as Bob plays it)...I thought that might have been the one, but KNEW it was written before Disney's film came out, so didn't really see how there could have been an issue, still less an issue that took 18 years to resolve.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM

ahh yes Disney.. Diabolical bastards they are.

My brother is still in a fight with them. He sold them a song for one specific part of Epcot park in Florida and less than a decade later they were using it in TV adverts to boost ticket sales at Disneyland in California. The contract very clearly stated that the song was a one off sell for specific part of the Florida park. Not for use in any other way. Did not pay him a sou for the misappropriation of his material. He only found out about it because his wife's brother and niece live in California. The niece recognised the song. Disney tried to claim the song belonged to them and they could use it in whatever way they wanted, but they pulled the advert and replaced the soundtrack, so evidently knew they were doing wrong.

Gotta love them big corporations trouncing all over the little guy.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 01:12 PM

just had an idea... on the licensing issues in the US thread

Could little shops, directly approach and purchase music from musicians. Attached is a contract that the businesses have permission to play these CDs on premises. They could even offer to sell CDs for the artists to any interested punters.

Licensing outfit couldn't do anything about a mutually agreed contract between artist and business, could it?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: autoharpbob
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 02:26 PM

I don't know why the PRS is getting such bad press, though it is nothing new to me. So many misconceptions in one thread though.

McGrath - PRS NEVER charges the performer of the songs, so the buskers are perfectly free to do what they like. The VENUE has to have the licence - in this case the Town Council, which recoups this from the entertainment licence it charges the buskers I assume.

The little dance group - look at it the other way round. That teacher was earning money from other peoples work - the people who had written the music those kids were dancing to. If there are still people in the world who think that songwriters do it for free, sorry, it ain't like that.

I once - many years ago - worked for the PRS. I was a sampler - a guy who was paid to go round pubs and clubs and write down what people were singing. Thats all. All the places I went to were licenced, no problem checking up on that or anything punitive. Just to find out WHO to pay the money to. But in several places I nearly got lynched - and no doubt it will be the same here. The PRS employs a large army of people just to do this - so that the writers get paid when people use their songs. So there are a few problems where who owns a song is not clear. And people whose songs don't get heard in the sampling don't get paid. It is still a reasonable system with good intentions - the PRS is NOT a profit-making organisation, but it of course covers its costs.

Would you like it if people used your work to make money for themselves without paying you for it?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: autoharpbob
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM

And Virginia, many organisations do purchase music directly from musicians with the express intent of not having to pay performance fees - the music you hear when put on hold on the phone is very often this. A contract transferring the copyright of the music to the organisation means they can play it whenever they like - but is that the best deal for the musician?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 07:47 PM

""I thought that might have been the one, but KNEW it was written before Disney's film came out, so didn't really see how there could have been an issue, still less an issue that took 18 years to resolve.""

When they go to court with the most expensive lawyers a million bucks can buy, it's more surprising that it took as little as eighteen years.


""Would you like it if people used your work to make money for themselves without paying you for it?""

Well Bob, unless your name is Paul McCartney (or some other big "Name" of that ilk), it doesn't matter whether you like it or not, does it?

For sure you'll get zilch out of the PRS. So yeah, you'll know what it's like to have your work earning for the PRS and it's favoured clients, because the share out will contain money charged by the PRS for your work, but you'll not be seeing any of it.

TRUE?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:13 AM

PRS / MCPS is of variable quality.
As are contributions to Mudcat threads.
From all I know, PRS does more good than harm, which is all that can best be said of most of us.
The Busking Day idea as I understand it came about when the PRS magazine people were startled at the response to some piece re busking they did, and sought to know more from their members. Remember PRS is owned by its membership, the music makers and publishers. Yes, it is dominated by the big boys - what's new in this our world?
Then the PRS PR people took over abourt busking, and in the way of PR people went right over the top. Again - news?
Like many others I have busked here and there in my time, in various places for various reasons. I was even a judge at a busking competiton in Glasgow in 1990. Now that was a piece of non-sense!
Ewan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM

I don't know why the PRS is getting such bad press, though it is nothing new to me.

There are many good reasons.

One is that when attempts are made to obtain maximum returns by extending the commonly held definitions of what is performance.

One example is their recent (but failed) attempt to insist that shops selling instruments reqiure to pay them for the snippets of music played in the shop to demonstrate the virtues of the instruments for sale. Is this showing a reasonable system with good intentions?

It is the light of such attempts that many will view this call for a busking day as suspect. If their concern in this area is genuine, there are many ways that PRS could help free the whole concept of busking from much needless re-tape.

As a way of fairly rewarding music's creators - this system is not it and should not be supported as if it were. If it were this (or even an honest attempt), I suggest that it would be generally and would not receive the bad press that is claimed to be undeserved or unexplained.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM

Wow!

What a lot of not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming is mixed in this thread alongside the well-informed stuff! I thought I was having a flashback to 2003-2005 and uk.music.folk, where all this stuff about PRS was put to bed for everyone who didn't read the daily mail (and i've recently found all the information I posted for their benefit!).

As a small-time songwriter, through singing my own songs in small pubs and folk clubs and folk festivals I've made some people poorer by the price of admission but richer in other respects, and (thanks to PRS) I've made a few better-known songwriters/folksingers a bit better-off (Richard Thompson, Steve Knightley, Nic Jones, Roger Wilson spring to mind) - and in addition the royalties the PRS has collected on my behalf have supplemented what is a very meagre income from a very worthwhile creative career (anybody on this thread work in banking/advertising/defence/corporate law etc., etc.?)

So I say thankyou for the music, the song I'm singing
Thanks for all the....(I'll get my coat)

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:15 PM

"PRS NEVER charges the performer of the songs, so the buskers are perfectly free to do what they like. The VENUE has to have the licence - in this case the Town Council, which recoups this from the entertainment licence it charges the buskers"

Yep - the money goes round and round, and it comes out of the poor 'performer' Busker's pockets and ends up in the rich guy's pocket...


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 04:55 AM

autoharpbob wrote:

"The little dance group - look at it the other way round. That teacher was earning money from other people's work - the people who had written the music those kids were dancing to. If there are still people in the world who think that songwriters do it for free, sorry, it ain't like that."

This is one of the daftest comments I've seen on Mudcat.   

Yes, the teacher, the kids, their parents, and the owners of the premises were all technically in breach of regulations. But the PRS's response (shutting them down) was as disproportionate as using a tactical nuke to take out a mad gunman loose in a big city. "Better a thousand innocent should perish than one guilty man escape?" I think not.

Or let's take another analogy. In the final extremity of a famine, farming communities will eventually eat their seed-corn. Sacrificing next year's harvest is preferable to starving today – but if you aren't actually starving, it's a better idea to tighten your belt and hold on to the seed-corn. And those dancing kids are the seed-corn of tomorrow's musical harvest.   

Instead of harassing them (and all the other small venues struggling to break even), the PRS should be subsidising them. A very small increase in the amount they charge the purveyors of Muzak in shopping malls and airports would more than cover the cost.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 06:26 AM

A good friend of mine spent a lot of time jumping through the various hoops to get PRS registration for his compositions and now wonders why ! He gets Damn All and PRS let any T D OR H do what they like wih his songs , and pay him nothing ! As stated previously , its ONLY the Big Boys and Major Music Organisations that get any benefit , while PRS continue harrassing Charities and Non Profit organisations .


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 07:26 AM

Dan, are you really confident that the PRS fees paid by small pubs and folk clubs will actually find their way to the composers you mention?

VT, in the UK composers who join PRS assign their rights in their music to it, so they can't enter into separate deals with venues or musicians. And even if the venue only plays music by non-PRS composers, PRS still demands a fee on the basis that it might.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 05:26 PM

What a lot of not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming is mixed in this thread alongside the well-informed stuff!

Are we to assume that the first catagory is all in the thread which you don't agree with (meaning anything critical of PRS) and the second catagory is that which you do agree with (meaning anything which is not critical of PRS)?

And despite your best efforts at a white-wash on behalf of PRS that you refer to in 2003-2005, I do not remember you putting these issues to bed for anyone, except perhaps yourself.   

Unless you are prepared to be specific on what you judge to be not-very-well-informed mouthfoaming and provide the reasons why you are making this judgement - it is not possible for anyone to provide an answer or for us to have a sensible discussion. Perhaps contributing to a sensible discussion was not the intention of your post?


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 06:17 PM

Hello Shambles

"Perhaps contributing to a sensible discussion was not the intention of your post?"

If I wanted to contribute to a sensible discussion I wouldn't be looking at this thread.

However, ill-informed mouth-foaming, if not taken seriously, can be quite funny, and it was in this spirit that I contributed.

Howard, I know that the fees paid by small pubs and folk clubs go to the composers. Because not only do I make sure it happens when I play, other people have come to my gigs and logged the songs, and I can tell you that the people I've mentioned have been the recipients of money as a result of these "samples".

Finally (and I'm aware this sounds arrogant) I have yet to meet anyone online, professional or amateur musician, who has done as much as I have on behalf of people on forums (fora?) to clarify the relationship between and legal and moral issues surrounding copyright and traditional music (as it exists in the UK legal framework anyway).

All that I had stated and researched was presented online at the time and as a result the Musicians' Union asked me to attend and advise the Specialist Music Group discussions between the FRTM (Folk Roots and Traditional Music) section of the MU and PRS, at which other non-performing folk music professionals from the industry were also present.

All of the ringfencing of royalties to the folk world from festivals, the small gigs and bars scheme which allows the small songwriters and folksingers to receive royalties commensurate to the usage of their music in pub sessions and folk clubs, and the funding of "new" traditional music by the PRS foundation for Music which takes place at some festivals - all of that had already been achieved thanks to the lobbying and discussion facilitated by the MU and the FRTM section.

So, while I'm happy crossing rubber swords with some of the foamier posters, I refuse to enter into serious battle with unarmed opponents. Life is far too short and there are far more fun and rewarding things to do with my time.

Like organising AORTAS' (Association for Oral Traditions and Songwriting) Songwriting Workshop, which runs between 19-26 August in Milton Keynes (details and prices here ) - perhaps we could have this discussion there over a foamy pint?

Cheers

Dan Plews


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 06:46 PM

It is only by wide and sensible discussion that a way will be found of fairly rewarding music's creators and if or when that is achieved, there will be many who will very happy to support this.

Dan if do you really believe that the existing PRS method is the way of fairly rewarding music's creators then it should be easy for you to convince others of this.

I would suggest that any form of support that is given to the current method makes the introduction of a much needed fair system ever further away.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 04:51 AM

Hi Shambles
I appreciate your frustration at the imperfect situation, but the progress already made towards a fairer situation has been made largely through the efforts of people seeking to work within the framework.

The pre-existing PRS method only came about as a result of informed debate and pressure from writers and publishers.

Informed criticism, wherever it comes from, can even now help those who might otherwise not be able to see "outside the box" in teh way those outside the process can. But it's not my job to convince anyone, and I've already published the facts and found that there are always people who won't let them get in the way of a good opinion.

Cheers

Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:26 AM

Dan, you say that you know that what you say sounds arrogant. I can at least agree with that.

The problem for me is that I do not think that you are arrogant at all but apart from demonstrating this pose, all you have done here is to mock the experience and views of others whilst expecting others to value yours.

It is also difficult to accept that you can really be surprised at the general bad impression of PRS and some of their methods, that continues to be held by many of us.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:31 AM

Dan is right - and I can vouch for his extreme integrity.

The PRS system is flawed, for sure, and some of their initiatives have been wrong-headed, and we have to correct them all the time. But their brief is to maximise revenue for their members - it's why they exist.

Given the almost impossible challenge that collecting royalties on music presents in this free-for-all day and age, the PRS system is largely fair (ok, with occasional faults) and certainly better than any alternative system I've been able to dream up.

How the hell else do you collect writer's royalties? (If someone knows of a better way, I'd like to hear it).

Talk of all the money going to the rich people is misleading and unhelpful.

The sums actually collected for each original work is tiny, so obviously only the people who's music is getting played a LOT will make much money. But even minnows like me make what I think is a reasonable return - £1,300 last year (and I was only gigging for three months of that time). So fairness to composers is NOT an issue - and if you make zilch (as I used to for a long time and soon will again) it's because your music is not being played out much. Can't blame PRS for that.

Fiddler's Green is correctly attributed in the PRS database, as is Shoals of Herring, for example. They are NOT responsible for idiots who insist that these songs are trad - in fact they work to correct this. Yes, there is an issue that the database gets muddied by people sending in wrongly-attributed returns (12 different composers of Dirty Old Town, for example), but all PRS can do is run the system as people advise. The are not the police, and only operate under civil law. If someone has an issue with a misuse of copyright then the matter is settled between writer and user in the civil court. PRS may provide evidence, but they don't represent either party. They are merely a collection agency.

The alternative would be to have a free-for-all, no-payment royalty system, where music was not copyright, and no-one ever made a penny from his works.

But this is untenable in law. Copyright in a work exists at its creation. We can choose to waive it, but you can't draw a circle round 'folk-style' songs, or songs that folkies fancy singing. And you can't separate out copyright on songs from other music, or film, or the written word, or the design of products, paintings, buildings etc.

We have copyright laws, and royalties thereon, because it's what makes the world go round.

How would you feel if I said you should not be paid for your job?

I'm sorry to hear about the dance school. That sounds wrong, but there IS royalty free music available, so it should not have been a problem with the right advice.

Tom


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 06:41 AM

Thank you Tom.

How would you feel if I said you should not be paid for your job?

This takes us back to the original post. There are jobs and there are jobs.

If the proposed busking day and the set site for busking were a way of rewarding buskers - the site being licensed and the money from this going toward a pool of registered buskers - such a setup would recognise the difference between buskers and conventional performers. I don't think this is what is being proposed.

The busker performs and then leaves it to their public whether to pay or not. I suspect that such a system would not be thought sufficient for most conventional performers who would expect a fee.

So the conventional performer at least is paid for their job but I acept that this may still leave the composer unrewarded.

I suspect that in the PRS proposal the returns from any fixed busking site would to PRS members and just who would pay for this licence is unclear but I suspect that it would be the buskers who would be expected to provide these funds in some way. A Local Authority may initially pay for this licence but would probably charge the buskers to recoup their costs.

Given the almost impossible challenge that collecting royalties on music presents in this free-for-all day and age, the PRS system is largely fair (ok, with occasional faults) and certainly better than any alternative system I've been able to dream up.

I think that a fairer method can be found and that it is the angle of approach that is preventing most difficulties in finding it. It is the creation of the music for its own sake that is more important that enabling those to make a living from music who have chosen to make it their job.

But their brief is to maximise revenue for their members - it's why they exist.

Indeed and in the blind pursuit of this, it is often the music making that is adversely affected and any system which does this to any extent or accepts some damage as inevitable, is not one that should be supported or excused but replaced with a system which does not do this.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Guest Merek & Dary
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 08:32 AM

Nice to hear you alive and well Tom and hope you are happy in your new home. We were on holiday in Guernsey last week so envious of your life in the channel islands!

However, the PRS subject. Having read all the threads would comment as follows:

As an organiser of the Banbury Folk Club, I have mixed feelings about PRS. Of course we would not want songwriters not to profit from the writing of their songs but from all accounts (as portraid in a lot the comments) PRS is not socialistic! I am all for the big boys getting a lower share of the PRS pot in favour of the small boys getting more as the big boys get more than enough from their big takes at gigs. Doing that would give the lesser known artists at least a living wage. Also, the bigger promoters should have to pay more when they have massive door takes so that poor folk clubs, like ours and many others, would not always be at risk of folding because they cannot afford it. Every club that folds is a loss to the musicians who rely on them to perform (and by doing so improving performance, getting their songs/tunes known and as a result the opportunity of going up in the scale of fame). The public also lose out on the availability of a type of music they prefer.

When there are so many anti PRS feelings out there, I am surprised that there does not seem to be anyone who has tried to find out, under the freedom of information act, how much money PRS receives and distributes annually and how much they hold in assets. With that information, interested parties lobying for a fairer system would have a better informed argument.

Derek


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 08:54 AM

Revenue in 2009 was £623 million. Around £40 million of that was from performances in pubs and clubs, but this was reduced on the 2008 figure by pub/ club closures (down about 5%, or £2 million, I believe).

From what I can see, the attempt to put the "bite" on music being played at work, or in places like the playgroup above, is to try and make up ther losses due to pub/ club closures. Most of them paid their license fee: an extra £2.2 million was raised by "vigorous pursuit" of people playing background music at work, etc, which nicely offsets the pub/ club losses.

It's this part of the PRS's strategy that seems to cause most of the negative feeling about the PRS from the "ordinary members of the public" that I know. Many of my friends have stories of the PRS pursuing people for payment of trivial or incidental use of music in environments where calling it a public performance is really stretching a point. Presumably broadcast radio stations have already paid the PRS, so trying to "double dip" on someone listening to a radio at work, or threatening a granny with prosecution for singing to herself while stacking shelves in a supermarket, seems unfair to most.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:00 AM

I doubt whether FoI applies to PRS, which is a private organisation. It's financial results are published on the PRS website but don't explain how the funds are distributed between large and small composers.

The issue for folk music is how to better ensure that the PRS fees are properly distributed to the composers in this area of music. The other issue is that we (or our venues) are paying PRS to be allowed to play music which it doesn't have rights over. There are no signs that PRS is interested in addressing either of these issues.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: pavane
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM

They keep sending threatening letters about wanting fees for music played at my company premises. Luckily although I have a company, I don't have any company premises, but that's not the point.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Dan Plews
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 12:43 PM

Pavane
Sorry to hear about the threatening letters - I don't have a TV and the TV licensing people keep sending me similar ones. When I called to clarify it cost me because there was no non-geographical number, and the customer service person acted like they were doing me a favour by making me hold..
Howard
Re the distribution:
It's really none of my business what Paul Simon earns in royalties, just how the PRS determine what someone's share is. And the answer is with big gigs and radio/TV (and thanks to the FRTM and MU Folk Festivals) everything's logged and therefore ring-fenced, going to those whose music is played), and with smaller gigs people can send in what's played online and they send people in to venues to sample what's played.

Derek
Re Socialist PRS
You're definitely right there.
Bureaucratic - yes.
Meritocratic - as far as is practicable
Dogmatic/pragmatic - I have known them to be both
Progressive re-distribution of wealth amongst songwriters - no thanks, not as policy, but...
protection of rights of songwriters and according re-distribution of wealth from copyright-infringers to copyright owners - yes please, art for art's sake, money for god's sake.

And on that note can I just add the following observation:

In my experience (limited to maybe a few hundred pub venues) there are as many places paying nothing at all as there are places who pay their dues - which means songwriters (and disproportionately the smaller songwriters, writers of Fiddler's Green, etc.) are not being paid where their music is making someone else money.
And this is not because of the PRS but rather the attitude of publicans, which is one that we see echoed rather a lot in the gutter press and online.

I don't think discussion here will change that situation: if the PRS had a cost-effective means of ensuring 100% compliance I'm sure we would have seen it by now - but that fact should be ever-present in any discussion about whether or not they eat babies.

Cheers

Dan


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: s&r
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 01:31 PM

The levy on non copyright music which is 'wrongly' paid to PRS is returned they claim by the PRS foundation which makes various grants. Typically they finance part of Cambridge F F (Club Tent). So that's all right then, take from the poor (clubs festivals etc) give to the rich.

I've said before, there should be a PRS just not the one we've got.

Stu


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 02:57 PM

Dan,

It's naive to say that small gigs can get logged. The PRS now seems to discourage small venues from submitting returns, they're too time-consuming to process. They prefer to rely on sampling, however this isn't representative, since the repertoire can vary considerably from one club or session to another. PRS recognises this with its "pubs and clubs scheme", but this is specifically aimed at PRS members performing their own material.

Anyway, it's the licence-holder's responsibility to submit a return - for most folk clubs and sessions that's the pub landlord, who is simply not interested in doing so. In 40 years of performing in public the only times I've been asked to provide information for PRS is at big festivals or by the BBC.

Informal sessions and singarounds are a particular problem since there's no set playlist, and it's unrealistic to expect someone to sit there logging tunes as they're played. Also, the way we learn music is a problem - we tend to pick up tunes and songs from other players, don't always know the composer (or even the title), and as the PRS won't open its database to non-members it's difficult to check what's copyright and what isn't.

I'm afraid I'm left with the feeling that PRS is demanding money, sometimes with menaces, just to allow us to perform music, even though they don't have jurisdiction over some of it and for the rest they are probably not passing on the royalties to the actual composers due to an inefficient distribution system.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 03:11 PM

Dan - I recognise your point that there are many venues operating without a PRS licence. However many pub landlords don't consider they are making money from music just by allowing their customers to sing and play a few songs, and when they're approached in an aggressive manner by a PRS jobsworth demanding a disproportionate fee, they're likely to react negatively.


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Subject: RE: PRS call for a Busking Day
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 04:33 PM

Howard,

Every gig in the land is potentially in the system by means of the Gigs and Clubs scheme. This is compiled by the artist retrospectively, so neither the venue nor the club is aware that it's happening. A majority of my PRS income arrived this way.

The chief problem as I see it is that a lot of folk people don't want to put a value on the music they're using for their enjoyment. And if you feel the writer and arranger's work has no value, then of course any licence fee however small is disproportionate and exorbitant.

But if you compare the licence fee with, say, the price of soap in the Gents, or the heating bill, or the beer or any other essential resource, then it's actually incredibly cheap. But only if you value the work of the people who own that music and the costs it took to make it available for your use.

Now, some say that 'folk' music should never be owned - but that's a different issue.

Even if we could define and isolate the music enjoyed in folk contexts, which we absolutely couldn't anyway, we'd not have the CDs, records, books, radio stations and music TV programmes which distribute it. We'd have lots of home-grown local music, which would be be great, but we'd be loosing something in the process. And where would you draw the line? Some 'folk' 'writers' (PLEASE note my inverted commas) might be happy to release their rights to a creative commons type sytem (and I have campaigned for a check box option for non-revenue-earning use myself), but others would not - and they have every right not to. Copyright exists, and it's a necessary function of society. (Note the word 'right' buried right there after the word 'copy').

As for this nonsense about 'not passing on royalties to the actual composers due to an inefficient distribution system' please read my post above again.

Considering the staggering complexity of the marketplace for performed music, the PRS system is almost miraculously efficient. Not perfect - but £1,300 in one year for the likes of me? Come, on, give the guys a break. I think that's damn good. Ok, they pay the chief exec too much, but you can't accuse them of unfairness or inefficiency - well you can, but only if you're more interested in mud-slinging and stirring up trouble than the truth.

I repeat. If you're not getting much money, it's because not many people are using your music. And that'll be me next year, so I'm not bragging ok? If you want to make a mint out of your couple of songs that people sing in the club, fine - but the licence fee will have to go up a lot. You can't have it both ways.

Now, I do agree that public domain music should NOT be charged for, unless it is being performed, as arranged, by the person/people who registered that arrangement. I was well into negotiations on this when I retired (having crossed swords with the MU, who hold the opposite view about it). And we were waiting with baited breath for the promised new special transferrable club licence which would exempt all PD music in non fee-earning situations.

But it's not been announced. Why, I wonder?

Could it be because not enough people are prepared, as Dan and I have been, actually to engage with PRS - and too many remain content merely to snarl at them from the undergrowth, and often in ways which completely miss the rights, legal issues and practical costs of the situation, while promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict?

I do hope not. Because if so then all my efforts will have been wasted.

Tom


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