YouTube and BMI
Date: September 27, 2010
This is an important follow up to the thread I started earlier about use of copyrighted material on YouTube. There are so many nuances to the copyright laws that I want to make clear what exactly I am talking about. I believe the revelations I have received from the copyright Gods at BMI are true for 95% of what we do, in relation to copyrights covered by BMI and our uploading of videos of those works to YouTube. The following are exerpts from emails from Jerry W. Bailey, Sr. Director of Media Relations & Business Communications for BMI:
"It is correct that YouTube is licensed by BMI for all performances over its (YouTube's) platform." (parenthesis mine)
"BMI licenses only the "public performance" of music, as defined by copyright law. A public performance is defined as any performance outside a family and its social acquaintances. A YouTube video is a public performance. Since choral groups usually perform live, and those live performance may be videotaped, generally a public performance license (such as YouTube has) from BMI (when BMI represents that composition) is all you need when posting a choral performance on YouTube. If, however, you synchronize to video an existing recorded performance, then you may also need both a synch and master use license. The synch license would come from the publisher, and the master license would come from the record company (or organization/person) which owns the original sound recording. The act of synchronizing a recorded musical composition to video triggers the additional synch license, and the duplication of an existing sound recording owned by someone else (often a record company) also triggers an additional master use license. The act of recording a live performance on video does not trigger synchronization, but taking any existing recording and setting it in timed relation to audio/video images does trigger synchronization."
So it would appear that as far as BMI is concerned we can put a piece whose copyright is covered by BMI on YouTube with no additional license for that video. Be sure to read his comments above about synch and master use licenses.
Mr. Bailey I am deeply in your debt for clearing this up. Next step: Find out if YouTube has a similar license with ASCAP
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