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Legal implications for recording/selling rehearsal mp3s

I have over 500 midi/mp3 files of all kinds of choral music in all voices. I've been creating them for my choirs for years and make the rehearsal files for the Alaska All State Festival as well. I love doing it and want to pursue it as a primary income.
I'm still not clear as to the legal issues of creating rehearsal music for others, but would like to job out or start an online business creating files for directors and choruses.
I have contacted publishers a number of times and they are not interested in my work or my questions. Can someone tell me where I can find information referring to the sale of rehearsal music?
thanks!
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on August 3, 2010 1:36pm
An attorney would be the most reliable source, but there is no legislation about this specific topic, nor is there any directly relevant court precedent. To our knowledge, no MIDI-file website has ever been sued by a publisher. How interested are you in being a test case?
 
I'm assuming by "mp3 files" you mean MIDI files converted in the mp3 format, not actual recordings.
on August 4, 2010 11:08am
I'm not sure that I want to be the test case, unless I was being supported (financially and publicly) by a professional music education group.
As you know, many festivals make rehearsal CDs made from midi files. I and many other directors have websites where students can access midi files for home practice. It would be impractical to have to contact publishers for each piece supplied. I have a small program and sometimes have as many as 20-25 songs online at a time.
I know the legal rulings are unclear, but ethically I have no problem using and distributing these files for educational purposes. They are practically useless unless you have a printed score. True, someone could use a midi notation program and dissect midi files (not so with mp3) and reconstruct a score. But they can just as easily borrow a score and copy it. Some ethical parameters are only as sound as the people facing them. 
I will certainly contact Robert Fox to hear what they have to say (and charge). As I said, I'm not only interested as a director, but also as a potential entrepreneur.
Non-sequitur here- I have been unsuccessful in attempts to get the Alaska All State folks to download midi files from my site. It would alleviate supplying hundreds of CDs, and directors/singers could tailor the CD to their needs. The barrier is usually one of techno-fear. Downloading midi files is lightning-fast, and converting midi to mp3 is simple and no special programs are needed. Itunes has the capability, as well as Hamienet and other online sites. Are directors Outside becoming braver and more savvy?
on August 3, 2010 4:08pm
For?reherasal or whatever, if you are creating recordings of copyrighted music and want to sell them, only thing you need to do is to pay mechanical royality (for phonorecords) or digital mechanical royality (for file transfer). Visit www.harryfox.com  for more information.
on August 5, 2010 7:43am
On a related note, OneLicense.net just announced that they're now offering a "Practice Track License" (link: http://www.onelicense.net/announcement_practice_track.cfm)
Here's a link to the list of their represented publisher catalogs, which indicates which will allow their holdings to be included in this licensing system: http://www.onelicense.net/represented_content.cfm
on August 6, 2010 8:43am
David,
Thanks for posting the OneLicense address. Seems like a slick way to take care of multiple fees for producing rehearsal materials. Problem is cost. A choir of fifty kids singing four songs would cost $150 to produce rehearsal materials. Add $80 for each piece of new music (which cost less than rehearsal fees) and shipping. Now multiply this by five choirs. I have to ask myself to define my ethical alignment. Does producing rehearsal materials for the benefit of my students without paying fees really take money out of composer's and publisher's pockets? I don't thinks so, but if the answer is "yes", and I were to behave ethically, then I would have to stop producing rehearsal files because of prohibitive fees.
Now my original post was about starting a rehearsal file business. I WILL contact OneLicense as well s Robert Fox to ask about requirements and fees for producing and selling rehearsal aids.
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