Sunday Times picks up performers rights issue

Published: July 31, 2009
The UK’s Sunday Times newspaper has reported on the long-running legal issue of performers’ rights and legal rulings pertaining to the capture, broadcast and sale of recordings from the World, Pipe Band Championships.
 
In a story titled “Pipers use Hendrix case to boost rights,” reporter Stuart MacDonald writers, “Currently, the musicians receive no payment from the sale of CDs and DVDs produced by The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), which runs the event,” and highlights the landmark UK court ruling in 2005 over the sale of recordings. The court decision ruled that all performers in a band must consent individually to terms of release.
 
The story reports that pipe band members could “successfully challenge the RSPBA and intend to raise the issue formally after this year’s championships at Glasgow Green in August.”
 
The RSPBA was alerted to the matter in 2006, but allegedly threatened the band whose member raised the matter with suspension if he continued with the allegations. pipes|drums covered the performers’ rights matter several times, including a lengthy article in 2006.
 
The Sunday Times reports regularly on piping and drumming matters, and most recently picked up the news of the suspension of international judges.
 
The Times’ performers’ rights story is the latest in a series of headaches for the RSPBA, which has been heavily criticized for its actions and perceived inactions.

42 thoughts on “Sunday Times picks up performers rights issue

  1. I’m a songwriter. I’m the first guy who thinks it would be great if all songwriters and performers got payed for their efforts. But, in this case, I think the revenues garnered by the RSPBA off the Worlds CDs and DVDs is not enough to make a fuss over. By the time they got all the necessary permissions, and payed out whatever royalties are due, it would cost more in time and effort than it’s worth, and the royalties would be a mere pittance. If we were talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here, I’d be all in support of the efforts of the bands, musicians, and authors of tunes, but I expect when all is said and done, each band might receive a couple of hundred bucks. Okay. What’s going to happen is that RSPBA will say, Forget this”

  2. The RSPBA does lots of things well, and anyone who has attended or competed at a major championship has to marvel at how efficiently they run their contests. As a member of a foreign” band competing in Scotland

  3. They don’t want their prizes leaving Scotland and they certainly don’t want to see any CD money leaving either.”…..That’s a wee bit unfair Al – I’ve never once heard anyone here complaining about a trophy going overseas. I’ve heard plenty moaning about ‘this band or that band shouldn’t have won’ as I’m sure we all have in all countries. However

  4. I’m a songwriter. I’m the first guy who thinks it would be great if all songwriters and performers got payed for their efforts. But, in this case, I think the revenues garnered by the RSPBA off the Worlds CDs and DVDs is not enough to make a fuss over. By the time they got all the necessary permissions, and payed out whatever royalties are due, it would cost more in time and effort than it’s worth, and the royalties would be a mere pittance. If we were talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here, I’d be all in support of the efforts of the bands, musicians, and authors of tunes, but I expect when all is said and done, each band might receive a couple of hundred bucks. Okay. What’s going to happen is that RSPBA will say, Forget this”

  5. The RSPBA does lots of things well, and anyone who has attended or competed at a major championship has to marvel at how efficiently they run their contests. As a member of a foreign” band competing in Scotland

  6. They don’t want their prizes leaving Scotland and they certainly don’t want to see any CD money leaving either.”…..That’s a wee bit unfair Al – I’ve never once heard anyone here complaining about a trophy going overseas. I’ve heard plenty moaning about ‘this band or that band shouldn’t have won’ as I’m sure we all have in all countries. However

  7. I’m glad to see that the Times is shining a light on the ‘old boys club’. Still, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the RSPBA follows suit with their unfettered arrogance by looking for a way to cancel all of the recordings of the event. That’ll teach us all a lesson. Please sir, more gruel?

  8. dont think ive ever heard anyone moaning about not getting money from recordings made at the worlds..wonder who’s feeding the paper with their information??

  9. There are protocols and well worked out codes of practice for this situation in other areas of music – why would it be different for pipers and drummers I wonder?

  10. Shirley, You are way behind the times, as stated all other music performers get paid fro the recordings of their music. Why should Pipe Bands be any different! Its about time this was all sorted, but knowing the RSPBA they will just sit on their hands and do nothing.

  11. I think the scenario put forth by K Batman” is pretty likely. The revenue probably isn’t worth the administrative cost. But if the RSPBA was forthcoming this wouldn’t be an issue. By stonewalling and threatening the parties making the inquiry they’ve only complicated matters. More than royalties the bands want some transparency.”

  12. Of all the organizations I belong to, professional, piping, fraternal, political and governmental, the RSPBA is by far and away the most opaque, convoluted and byzantine of them all. Really truely amazing behavior for the 21st Century. Cheers, Kent Argubright Doc””

  13. The R.S.P.B.A. will never let go of these recording sales simply because they make to much money from them. They are THE major source of income for the association. They should get there cut but the bands should get theres.

  14. Doc, Aaron and Batman have all nailed it. This might not be worth all the effort if the recording profits aren’t sizeable enough to justify the administration costs of paying artists, but there are principles at stake. An Association should be transparent to its paid-up/registered members, especially where finances are concerned. Does anyone know what the actual profits are for said recordings (to the RSPBA) for the last financial year? Probably not. There I was thinking an Association is there for the members. Silly me. Who is serving who here? It reminds me of how copper wire was invented: two scotsmen fighting over a penny!

  15. I believe the accounts that’s given to every member band prior to the AGM shows the breakdown of income, including that received from recordings. It’s a couple of years since I’ve been at an AGM or seen the annual accounts but I’m almost certain that’s the case.

  16. Jamie is correct. Since the site redesign I can’t find the link to the minutes, and neither can Google, but IIRC the line item for recording income was circa £3-4k.

  17. WOW….as much as that…silly me for not realising the profit making potential from these recordings..23 bands in grade 1 last year with an average of 35 members each…that makes £4.97 a head…wouldnt even buy you an overpriced beer and sandwich in good old scotchland according to the whingers

  18. Don’t you think though the actual amount is immaterial – it’s the principle of the thing, and the respect for players, bands,and composers that matters?

  19. This is the wrong area of the music biz formaking money. We all do this for the love of the art, not the lve of money. It is however a good thing if a few people are able to make a living in the piping world and are able to help make it easier for the rest of us via their dedicated time and experience, particularly in the area of product development (bags, reed, drume, etc.).

  20. idve thought that the bands,composers and players would be glad of the free publicity..just seems like another cheap shot at the rspba by the whinging minority

  21. Bravo, Iain Macdonald! Beautifully put. This right and just position on this matter is spelt out by precedent. Everyone loves the ‘worlds’. As a competitor, I’ve never had anything but good things to remember each time I’ve been. It’s the ‘top brass’ at the RSPBA that needs to get its act together and enter the real world when it comes to this matter. The world championships event is no longer a chalk circle on the ground, some bunting and a few kebab stalls. And yet some attitudes remain the same. For the RSPBA to think they can have a release of rights sign-off on entry forms, and that bands signing this makes it all-binding, is just plain arrogance and reflects how the event has surged ahead in some areas and yet remains very ‘country fete’ in other areas. And SHIRLEY, you just keep your bonce in the sand. You seem blissfully unaware and happy to be there.

  22. I’m glad to see that the Times is shining a light on the ‘old boys club’. Still, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the RSPBA follows suit with their unfettered arrogance by looking for a way to cancel all of the recordings of the event. That’ll teach us all a lesson. Please sir, more gruel?

  23. dont think ive ever heard anyone moaning about not getting money from recordings made at the worlds..wonder who’s feeding the paper with their information??

  24. There are protocols and well worked out codes of practice for this situation in other areas of music – why would it be different for pipers and drummers I wonder?

  25. Shirley, You are way behind the times, as stated all other music performers get paid fro the recordings of their music. Why should Pipe Bands be any different! Its about time this was all sorted, but knowing the RSPBA they will just sit on their hands and do nothing.

  26. I think the scenario put forth by K Batman” is pretty likely. The revenue probably isn’t worth the administrative cost. But if the RSPBA was forthcoming this wouldn’t be an issue. By stonewalling and threatening the parties making the inquiry they’ve only complicated matters. More than royalties the bands want some transparency.”

  27. Of all the organizations I belong to, professional, piping, fraternal, political and governmental, the RSPBA is by far and away the most opaque, convoluted and byzantine of them all. Really truely amazing behavior for the 21st Century. Cheers, Kent Argubright Doc””

  28. The R.S.P.B.A. will never let go of these recording sales simply because they make to much money from them. They are THE major source of income for the association. They should get there cut but the bands should get theres.

  29. Doc, Aaron and Batman have all nailed it. This might not be worth all the effort if the recording profits aren’t sizeable enough to justify the administration costs of paying artists, but there are principles at stake. An Association should be transparent to its paid-up/registered members, especially where finances are concerned. Does anyone know what the actual profits are for said recordings (to the RSPBA) for the last financial year? Probably not. There I was thinking an Association is there for the members. Silly me. Who is serving who here? It reminds me of how copper wire was invented: two scotsmen fighting over a penny!

  30. I believe the accounts that’s given to every member band prior to the AGM shows the breakdown of income, including that received from recordings. It’s a couple of years since I’ve been at an AGM or seen the annual accounts but I’m almost certain that’s the case.

  31. Jamie is correct. Since the site redesign I can’t find the link to the minutes, and neither can Google, but IIRC the line item for recording income was circa £3-4k.

  32. WOW….as much as that…silly me for not realising the profit making potential from these recordings..23 bands in grade 1 last year with an average of 35 members each…that makes £4.97 a head…wouldnt even buy you an overpriced beer and sandwich in good old scotchland according to the whingers

  33. Don’t you think though the actual amount is immaterial – it’s the principle of the thing, and the respect for players, bands,and composers that matters?

  34. This is the wrong area of the music biz formaking money. We all do this for the love of the art, not the lve of money. It is however a good thing if a few people are able to make a living in the piping world and are able to help make it easier for the rest of us via their dedicated time and experience, particularly in the area of product development (bags, reed, drume, etc.).

  35. idve thought that the bands,composers and players would be glad of the free publicity..just seems like another cheap shot at the rspba by the whinging minority

  36. Bravo, Iain Macdonald! Beautifully put. This right and just position on this matter is spelt out by precedent. Everyone loves the ‘worlds’. As a competitor, I’ve never had anything but good things to remember each time I’ve been. It’s the ‘top brass’ at the RSPBA that needs to get its act together and enter the real world when it comes to this matter. The world championships event is no longer a chalk circle on the ground, some bunting and a few kebab stalls. And yet some attitudes remain the same. For the RSPBA to think they can have a release of rights sign-off on entry forms, and that bands signing this makes it all-binding, is just plain arrogance and reflects how the event has surged ahead in some areas and yet remains very ‘country fete’ in other areas. And SHIRLEY, you just keep your bonce in the sand. You seem blissfully unaware and happy to be there.

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