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Royalties and Fairs, Festivals or Events

Royalties: Paying the Piper (Reprinted with permission.)

Almost all published music is protected by copyright and enforcement of these copyrights is growing more stringent. Organizations like ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers) are beginning to police festivals and similar special events to ensure compliance with the law.

While most professional musicians are already covered by dues to ASCAP, most amateurs are not. If they perform any music which has been previously published and/or recorded, royalties must be paid or the performer and the festival are liable to lawsuits.

The same holds true for playing recorded music. Royalties must be paid regardless of the non-profi t status of the festival or its organizers, a change enacted in the 1978 revision of the copyright law. Ignorance of the law, once considered an excuse by the courts in music copyright matters, is no longer acceptable.


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