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Blowing the whistle on habitual music photocopiers

Rather than stew and do nothing about a colleague of mine who BLATENTLY copies music at will for students, I thought I would reach out to folks on this forum.  My question:
 
How does one go about turning one in for photocopying music? Exactly who does one contact?
 
I am to the point that I feel that this person does need to face a consequence (rather than a gentle reminder, we are past this point).
 
So, to be clear, I am not asking about "how to go about reminding someone the copyright law"--those steps have been taken.  I am asking whom to contact to escalate the situation.  Any thoughts would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.
 
Aaron
Replies (43): Threaded | Chronological
on January 18, 2016 6:00am
From the U. S. Copyright Office website ( http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-infringement.html ):
 
"If you believe that a criminal infringement of copyright has occurred, you may contact the Intellectual Property (IP) Program of the Financial Institution Fraud Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Two main FBI divisions investigate intellectual property crimes:
  1. Cyber Division
    -investigates intellectual property crimes involving all digital and electronic works (including Internet, CDs, DVDs, etc) www.fbi.gov/ipr
  2. Financial Institution Fraud Unit
    -all other intellectual property crimes
There are three ways a complaint made be filed:
  • Complainants may contact their local FBI field office, and the complaint will be properly referred.
  • A complaint may be filed online at the Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov and, again, it will be properly routed.
Suspected criminal activity of any nature may be reported online at https://tips.fbi.gov and will be routed accordingly."
 
You may be able to blow the whistle anonymously, and you should if you can, but I'm not sure and you'll need to ask.  If your colleague is in a position where he/she could retaliate and harm you in any way at any time--personally or professionally--I encourage you to go about this as quietly as possible.
 
Applauded by an audience of 5
on January 18, 2016 1:05pm
Dear Aaron!
If you are a great man (composer) then you should facilitate distribution of your music free. Only then you'll have a chance to become a well known man and will earn huge money. (Or your children would get your money according to the law. Do you love them? I guess you do.)
Your music scores are also your children. If you love your music scores sincerely as if they are your children, then you bacome rich man. Be sure!
Music scores - it's like a sport's scores. Win it!
Wishing you a success.
Applauded by an audience of 5
on January 20, 2016 2:54am
I applaud your statement Sir! All my arrangements are free, but I don't have to earn a living from them. There is always that gap between getting started and being famous that needs to be filled (for some) with cashflow. That is the crux of the problem. How to get over that period.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 20, 2016 9:17am
Hello Andrey,
Although I applaud you for your idealism, the reality is that if composers – like any other practicing musician – are to raise a family (i.e. the 'children' to which you refer) thay need the means to do so. Like all other accomplished musicians, they also need to spend a great deal of their time working on their profession! If 'Music' is not a frill, it follows that those who compose it are not engaging in frivoulous occupations. Should symphony players play for free? Should piano teachers teach for free? Should film composers write for free? Should you do whatever you do to put bread on the table for free?
 
Sport's scores are won by some of the highest paid people on earth! Should they too be playing for free?
 
Photocopying of copyright is stealing and, like stealing, is an immoral and dishonest act punishable by law. PERIOD!
Point finale!!!
 
d
Applauded by an audience of 11
on January 23, 2016 1:44pm
Dear Donald, I never called for illegal things, neither appealed for this. I only thought that sometimes less known composers could use the possibility to advertize their music free. (Aaron seems not to be among them). Sometimes even famous singers, symphony players and artists make performances for charity, not for advertizing. The rest of time they earn money, or course.
I am glad to meet in your face a double coincidence in profession. I am molecular biologist (Doctor of Science) well known in the world. In the same time my soul cannot live without paying credit to God. This credit was expressed in poetry and music by ancient prophets such as David in Psalms. I recognized that those ancient texts contain so much idioms and metaphors that they are not properly understood by modern people, and even by medieval people. So I undertook enormous job using numerous clay cuneiform tablets, parchments and copper scrolls found in XX century in Egypt, Phoenicia (Syria), Sinai, Dead Sea caves and other Middle East regions to translate idioms properly by comparing texts in Aramaic, Phoenician, Egyptian etc. Also I studied cultural background and way of life of those ancient people to understand their mentality so different from that of modern people.
Now I am recognized in Russia as well known translator of Psalms into Russian and English. My books of translations and music written to them are published in over 20000 copies. I was officially approved by Russian Orthodox Church (in a written form). Also main Rabbi of Moscow approved the translations, as well as Moscow Muslim leader did.
 
So, why I offer my music free for the USA people at ChoralNet site? This is because I advertize GOD, not the music itself!
 
I hope that you understand me properly.
Applauded by an audience of 4
on January 26, 2016 10:54am
My husband gives one of his pieces away free to "draw people to his website."  It doesn't really work.--People come, download the one song (which has been performed by thousands of groups now), but they don't even listen to the rest, nor has it lead to becoming "a well known man" or earning "huge money."  People just take it free and walk away.  This is a nice theory, but it doesn't actually work and never has. Loving the music and getting paid for it are completely, utterly unrelated.

He has to sell his other music--for money--or we will be homeless and starving. This is his job and his income (and our family's income, as I am a stay-at-home-mom at the moment). 

And yes, when people photocopy it, that is one less meal for my children and one less pair of shoes we can buy for them. Please please don't photocopy the music without permission. This is our only way of making a living!
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 19, 2016 3:26am
Aaron,
You may consider contacting your administration as they need to understand that the institution can be held liable if they are allowing such behavior. You may have already done this, of course, so your saying not recourse may be through ASCAP or the patent office.
 
good luck!
Matt
Applauded by an audience of 6
on January 19, 2016 6:47am
It's not up to you to enforce the law, is it? If such infractions are noticed, are you going to be held responsible for it? If not, then keep your nose out of it.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 21, 2016 6:31am
...the same mentality that lets thug victims lie in the street 'un-noticed'.
 
d
Applauded by an audience of 7
on January 19, 2016 6:56am
My advice -- check with your administration . . . they MAY be angry if you act "legally" without their knowledge. You know what I mean? Go "over their head"? It might be DISTRICT legal that needs to be involved.
 
Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.  
Applauded by an audience of 12
on January 19, 2016 7:20am
Ok. I am going to throw my hat into this ring.  I DO photocopy music. AFTER I buy as many copies I would need for my students, I then photo copy it for them.  I consider it their textbook. I make them write in it. I do demand pencil, but, being forgetful, and young, they do use pen. Let me state again, I BUY (read, PURCHASE) as many copies as I need. I am not doing this to get out of purchasing the music. I am doing it so my students can write on their music. I make them write in their counting/solfegge/diction/ect. I do collect their photo copies at the end of the season and recycle them. May I state again, I am not trying to avoid purchasing it. I am trying to avoid destroying it.....
Am I going to jail?
Applauded by an audience of 8
on January 20, 2016 2:48am
In my humble opinion I cannot see that this would be considered an infringement of copyright especially since you a) have the requisite number of copies and b) the 'copies' are transient.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2016 3:07am
Lori, in my opinion you are doing the right and logical thing. But is it legal? No.
 
I have little respect for the music copyright laws in this country. Despite their extensive legalese, they are simplistic and concentrate almost entirely on publishers' and author/composers' rights, giving minimal consideration to by far the largest set of players in the game - the USERS - and the day-to-day realities they face that defy simple solutions.
 
Until users' situations are addressed more fully and fairly (which, admittedly, will not be an easy task), "underground" photocopying will flourish, as many people will not mindlessly comply to laws they rightly deem to be flawed.
 
To quote former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall: "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up."
on January 20, 2016 9:30am
Hello Lori,
 
I can only presume that you also throw away the originals. (I also presume you are talking traditionally published copies, not purchased PDFs) If you do NOT throw away the nice originals, what happens to them– immediately and eventually" If you DO throw them away (i.e. recycl – as opposed to re-use – them) then why do you not give the students the originals in the first place. Perhaps it would be less wasteful if you were to purchase a few extra copies as legal back-ups in the first place and give the students really good copies in the first place.
 
There's something wrong with thks picture... I see a whole library of NEW music being heaved out each year? Does this honestly make sense? 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2016 3:12pm
I believe she said she recycles the copies, not the originals.
on January 21, 2016 6:41am
Yes, you are correct Jane– She does say she recycles the copies!
 
My question has to do with what happens to the (unused) ORIGINALS. Presumably she keeps them, but what for– to copy again, or do they sit around gathering dust? And presumably she is not just dealing with ONE piece of music, but a number of pieces. This results in a lot of originals (each year?) which should not be copied again. And that's the point- it's actually illegal to make copies inthe first place, so this illegality is multiplied each year when and if new copies are made! And what is the difference between doing this in a school and doing it with a church choir? Well, there IS a difference– school is where our children learn what is right and what is wrong– for life!
 
Donald
Applauded by an audience of 6
on January 21, 2016 8:05pm
In schools, we have a lot of things to teach. Usually, I give my students original scores (unless I've got a partial supply and the delivery of the rest doesn't coincide with my rehearsal schedule). i've always explained to my students why and encouraged them to challenge others about photocopied music. That said, I never allow my students to mark up the score. It's too bad, too, because they're really young musicians and many times don't know how to read the score.
 
Legal or not, I think Lori's got a good idea. She is doing the right thing, whether or not it's strictly legal. The composer gets the royalties entitled them for the set of originals. The students get to learn about music reading by marking their score to death. Then, she goes to the extra work of collecting the copies and destroying them. Students should see real scores. Photocopies should always be carefully explained to students if used. However, students have a right to learn to read music. Sometimes, making a mess of the scores is the only way to do that.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 22, 2016 1:42pm
But what about Donald's point that the originals get used again and again for new copies for new performances?  This should be a simple question to answer, despite others' comments about the complexity and/or unfairness of copyright law: Does a purchaser have the legal right--under copyright law--to make ONE copy for each purchased original, for the reasons mentioned?  Does the purchaser have the right to replace the first copy with a second copy, if the first is destroyed?
 
If this is done "whether or not it's strictly legal," and actually is not legal, how is she "doing the right thing" ?   If this is civil disobedience, then that concept should be included in the explanation to students. 
 
On the other hand, composers and publishers should examine whether or not their pricing and copy policies are costing them sales.  Some of us, with no funding and every purchase coming out of our pockets, limit ourselves to  1) materials that allow us to make classroom copies,  2) songs in our music textbooks,  3) works in public domain.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 26, 2016 7:40am
Bart- you hit the nail right on the head: "whether or not their pricing and copy policies are costing them sales." The answer, sadly, is quite possibly "Yes". BUT, and here's the rub, with every infraction (and I've got wind of a LOT of them in this thread) the price is bound to rise, as everyone from composer, bookseller, conductor, publisher, music stores, schools, community choirs...(the list is much longer) takes the brunt of illegal copying.
 
Donald
 
P.S. Hour for hour I'd risk saying that composers generally work for well below minimum wage; I KNOW I do! 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2016 4:46am
I recently quit a retirement home choir conducting job because they blatantly photocopy and tell everyone it is legal. I was afraid they would blame it on me if they got caught. On checking with other choir directors I was advised to contact the publishers who are losing money. While it is a "small potatoes" violation to the FBI and they may require you to become involved, publishers are an aggrieved party and will pursue this matter on their own to recoup lost earnings, or at least stop others from breaking the law. It is a very recent matter, so I do bot know the result yet. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2016 6:58am
We live in a litiguous world. If you want to be that guy that runs to the authorities on this kind of thing, so be it. If you live in a glass house, though...
 
I too purchase folios, and / or charts, for the kids. I stamp them with the school stamp and make one master copy. Then I put the originals away. I make the copies, number them, sign them out to the students, and then collect them after they have been learned. I shred the copies at that point. If a student doesn't have his/her copy I require them to purchase another folio. I never make more copies than the number that I purchased.
 
High schoolers will forget body parts, if they weren't bolted on.
 
As a writer/arranger I know the law. I tend to believe in the one price make as many copies as you need theory. I learned it from Michele Weir, Kerry Marsh, Rosana Eckert, and Dr. Jeremy Fox. I pay between $60 and $85 per chart. I sell my charts the same way. I am not as notable as the aforementioned so I only charge $50/chart.
 
Just my thoughts
Applauded by an audience of 4
on January 20, 2016 1:14pm
Copyright law can be confusing and uncertain in many cases.  This is especially true of issues of "fair use exemptions" and "less than 10% of the entire work rule" and so forth.  Copyright actually gives only the creator the right to perform the piece publicly.  It can be pretty maddening for educators and performers that lack the time and expertise to acertain compliance and as a result the letter, at least if not the spirit, of copyright law is widely transgressed.  Then there's the moral issue of respecting the reasonable and legitimate rights of owners.  I photocopy music for our choir, but only what is in the public domain.  There's an awful lot of it, enough to meet a great deal of supplemental needs and especially in the case of works that might no longer be available in print.  Generally, anything published prior to 1923 will fall into public domain but copyright issues can be confusing and difficult to precisely sort out even in the public domain one  must watch out for copyrighted "arrangements" and "derivatives" of music in the public domain.  Oy vey!  Copyright law to be difficult to enforce and often transgressed.   
on January 21, 2016 11:06am
Another confusing possibility:  Someone learns a traditional song passed down through family, since way before 1923.  After 1923, someone "collects" this song from another family in the region and publishes it--no "arrangement", just the basic song.  In 2016, a member of the first family makes money performing and selling CDs of her performance of this song that came down through her family.  Can the collector or publisher of the version from the second family sue the member of the first family?
on January 22, 2016 3:09am
If the original has been credited properly as "trad." then no, they cannot sue.
If the second family member fraudulently claimed the song as their own original composition, then some corroboration would be required on both sides I'd think. But I think the burden of proof would be on the publisher - they'd have to prove that their family member was a composer and could have written the piece independently. I don't think that would be possible. And any evidence of the song's existence prior to 1923 - a diary entry or something like that - would be sufficient.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 22, 2016 6:37am
I think most of us recognize and applaud the ethical principles discussed here, and we do our best to uphold these principles in the music we obtain for our choruses, schools, and churches. But really, life is short, and in the vast array of injustices in our world, photocopying choral music is pretty low on the totem pole. We might as well take down and report license plate numbers of freeway drivers who exceed the speed limit.
 
If it's your music that is being purloined here, then by all means, pursue your rights under the law. Otherwise, spend your time and energy making music as beautifully as you can. There is just not enough time in this life to exercise the real power for change that we have as musicians, and we are foolish to waste it going around policing one another.
Applauded by an audience of 3
on January 22, 2016 9:35am
From reading innumerable posts on ChoralNet over the past several years, it has become clear that most choir directors in all sort of positions try their very best to uphold both the ethical principles and legal requirements regarding copyright, that much unlawful copying of music is probably done out of ignorance about what is and is not legal or even ethical (copyright law appears to be a sadly neglected topic of study in higher education), but that there are still a fair number of choir directors who understand what is and what is not allowed and violate copyright law anyway, whether out of a belief that they won't get caught, a sense of entitlement to things that their budgets won't allow, simple expediency, or something else. 
 
I wholeheartedly applaud Aaron's efforts to stop a colleague from stealing money from composers, publishers, and distributors by illegally photocopying music, no matter which course of action he chooses to take.  It takes a lot of guts to be a whistleblower, in any profession.  If people like Aaron do not step up and do the right thing, who will?  The students don't know that the music they are learning has been stolen.
 
Illegal photocopying of music is only low on the totem pole if you aren't the one who creates, publishes, and/or distributes music as part of your livelihood.
 
Applauded by an audience of 3
on January 22, 2016 10:33am
I cannot believe so many people are advocating for stealing from composers. To help you understand what you are saying, I'll clarify it using your own words.
 
"life is short, and in the vast array of injustices in our world, [photocopying] stealing choral music is pretty low on the totem pole. We might as well take down and report license plate numbers of freeway drivers who exceed the speed limit."
 
"I DO [photocopy] steal music. AFTER I buy as many copies I would need for my students, I then [photo copy] steal it for them.  I consider it their textbook."
 
These are terrible ethical values to teach your students. 
Applauded by an audience of 7
on January 22, 2016 12:15pm
"I cannot believe so many people are advocating for stealing from composers."  Me neither.  It is profoundly discouraging in every way.
 
I would like to ask the ACDA/ChoralNet leadership to weigh in on this topic, in this thread or elsewhere here, soon.  Anyone?  Please?
 
on January 24, 2016 9:39am
>"I DO [photocopy] steal music. AFTER I buy as many copies I would need for my students, I then [photo copy] steal it for them.  I consider it their textbook."
 
I fail to see the logic for the gripe at all. The publishers and composers don't gain a single cent if they simply handed out the originals that they've already bought. They're not going to buy new copies just because of some grade-schooler's scrawlings; they'll simply live with it and keep using the copies, and everybody loses.
 
If a law does only harm and no good to anybody, then it's the law that should be considered a terrible ethical value, not its violation.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 22, 2016 2:31pm
Here's another variation of the question:  What do music publishers and copyright law say about teaching a copyrighted work by rote, or using a document camera to project on the wall?  On rare occasions with my elementary school choirs, I have done the former, and bought one copy for me and one for my accompanist.  When we are practicing singing, I never distribute scores, books or papers of any kind to students because at this age, it's a distraction, takes their eyes away from me, and results in paper noise. 
on January 24, 2016 4:10pm
As far as I understand, the law with regard to print music relates to the reproduction of print music (or any part thereof, including lyrics)
From that point of view, there is no legal problem with teaching the whole piece by ear and not buying sheet music for the singers, as long as you teach entirely by ear. If you project it, or give them a lyric sheet, or write it out on a board, that's a different matter.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 26, 2016 4:36pm
Projecting sheet music without actually making a copy of it first is indeed legal, because your are displaying what you have purchased, not copying it. This is covered in the "Copyright Law: An Introduction" article on the NAfME website, here: http://www.nafme.org/copyright-law-an-introduction/
on January 22, 2016 5:23pm
Hi all. I am going to give my opinion on the question first posed by Aaron Powell. Aaron deserves some decent suggestions for what course to take, not just the rigamarole that has followed in this thread. I intend to add more later to the twists and turns this discussion has taken, and frankly I am extremely disappointed in the opinions voiced which seem to excuse photocopying, explain it away as okay, and so on. Would any of you go shoplift at a department store or the mall? I think not, but this photocopying of copyrighted pieces is just that- theft of intellectual property---at the federal level, I might add. It's wrong and you need to stop doing it OR justifying it in bizarre ways.
 
Aaron, I am a composer/arranger published by a number of the top choral companies, as well as the new organization MusicSpoke, and I also self-publish. I am not a lawyer but am pretty well versed in copyright law. I estimate that I lose about $10,000 per year due to the illegal stealing of my intellectual property, either via photocopying, avoidance of performance fees and avoidance of paying mechanical licenses for recordings. $10,000 EVERY YEAR  is a lot of money to me and my family and I become very frustrated and angry when I think about it. Every living composer I know is suffering from this and every one of those composers is a real person, with monthly bills, many with families to support just like everyone else. Publishers are, of course, also affected and are struggling to stay in business. I can also tell you how much it galls me when I see the music of a friend being photocopied and used illegally. To those that photocopy music-- excuse me, but when did I give you permission to open my wallet and take whatever you want? Would you like to have someone doing that to you? Maybe I'll just take some of your paycheck from your school district-- don't mind me, I don't think you need all that money. Am I right?
 
Aaron, you state that this person has been talked to about this illegal photocopying and insists on continuing the practice. I assume you are a department colleague at this school (or church?). I understand your frustration as you observe this blatant breaking of a federal law. This person is at risk for a lawsuit, and is unwisely placing the school district/organization in that line of fire as well. You are taking responsibilty to protect your school and to try to get him to do the right thing, which is to stop stealing intellectual property amd hurting others within his own chosen field! Do not feel like you are the bad guy here--you most certainly are not.
 
The suggested steps that I think you should take are these:
 
1) tell him you are going into action in two weeks unless he proves that he is going to stop these activities (and he has to be honest about it- not just hide it from you). Insist that the illegal copies be destroyed. If he won't do that, you know his mindset.
 
2) talk to your administrators about this. They are not going to be mad at you! Most school districts are quite aware of copyright issues and truly expect all employees to be on the right side of the law. I would expect that most schools would read him the riot act and place him on some kind of probation. Would they fire him? I doubt it, but they will be angry with him and watching him.
 
3) either before after or at the same time as number 2 above, take photos of some of these illegal copies he has created, count up the total number of illegal copies, and include the info in a letter to each of the organizations/people who he is stealing from. In most cases, we are talking about the publisher holding the copyright, not the composer. Just find whoever the copyright holder is at the bottom of first page of music. Tell them the extent of the offenses. Oh, and btw, I bet most of those scores have a do not photocopy warning right there on page one--has he not noticed this??
 
Most of the publishers will be writing a warning to him AND the school district. Believe me, when the district starts getting cease and desist letters from lawyers, they WILL NOTICE and act. I have been involved in a few of these instances by the way. The larger publishers have full time lawyers on staff and they will pursue these cases, beginning with a  stern warning and threat of suit. I would also suggest, again,  that the situation should call for all the illegal photocopies be destroyed. The law has already been broken, why perpetuate it by continuing to use the illegal copies, right?
 
Btw, many of our best music colleges do not allow professors easy access to copy machines. There are specific staff who are gatekeepers to the photocopy machine. It  is their job to stay keep the department legal regarding copyright.
 
Thanks for caring about this subject, Aaron.
 
More later,
 
Paul Carey
Composer/Arranger/Conductor
Published by MusicSpoke, Oxford University Press, Walton, Kjos, Roger Dean, Hal Leonard, Santa Barbara Music Press
Applauded by an audience of 10
on January 23, 2016 12:35pm
I hesitate to add yet another consideration to the current assemblage but I'm interested in others' opnions because this is something I have done myself.  Sometimes a score employs such a small font that even someone with normal eyesight has difficulty with the lyrics.  For a visually impaired singer it's nearly impossible.  I have bought large print editions when available but I've also resorted to making an enlarged photocopy in order to learn the lyrics.  Uusally, after sufficient memorization I return to the original score and discard the photocopy, but not always.  If the piece is particulary lengthy or rehearsal time too short for good memorization I might use the enlargment through performance.  Trying to struggle with using a magnifying glass to avoid copyright infringement seems silly, but maybe that's the only way.   Ideas?
on January 23, 2016 5:25pm
With the disclaimer that I'm writing from Australia.
 
Technically against the law. But the Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society have stated that they regard it as fair dealing.
Is there an AMCOS-style body in the US?
on January 25, 2016 4:49am
You would be legally covered if you first contacted the publisher and asked permission to make copies - stating your reasons. Otherwise, you are infringing. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 26, 2016 7:52am
Rich– this depends very much upon where you reside. The Australian take on this issue is similar to that in Canada, being based very much on 'fair-dealing'.
 
The Canadian Copyright Act can not possibly keep up with all the technological advance that surface almost daily, with the result that a great deal of the law is open to interpretation by the courts when there is deemed to be an infraction. Generally speaking, 'fair dealing' tends to prevail (in Canada and quite possibly elsewhere) when there are cases not stricktly covered by law, which is probably a pretty big number. I'll betch dollars to donuts that no sane judge in the world would penalize anyone for making a enlarged copy of a piece of purchased music for someone with eye sight problems! In fact, it probably would'nt even get to court. So, in this case– is there infringement? And if there is deemed to be, (but by whom?) so what!
 
Donald
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 23, 2016 1:12pm
Hi again, Aaron. I've been rethinking this a little. I think the right thing to do is go to your school officials first before contacting the publishers. The school will appreciate that you are bringing this to them first to act on. Best not to ruffle their feathers if you jump the gun too much.
 
Good luck--and I know none of this is fun.
 
Paul
Applauded by an audience of 3
on January 24, 2016 5:22am
Just wondering how people feel about the practice of lending or renting purchased scores to other choirs. Obviously the composer or publisher gets nothing from this.
 
Andrew
on January 24, 2016 4:12pm
Legally it's not a problem. No music is being copied.
on January 24, 2016 11:44am
A mentor to many of us, the late, great, John Howell commented on this topic in 2011, in specific response to the following question:
 
I buy enough octavos for each of my students, but I prefer to give them photocopies so they can mark them as they wish as well as providing some markings in the copy.  My band director mentioned that in the band sector, even if you own enough copies of a piece to hand out, photocopying is strictly prohibited under all circumstances, which got me thinking about whether what I am doing is illegal.  Can anybody offer some insight on this question?

(JOHN)
"what you're doing is patently illegal.  Archiving legal copies to "save" them and performing from photocopies is strictly illegal.  And every COPY of every PAGE is a separate infringement, as is copying without including the copyright notice.
 
Under Fair Use there is one and only one exception: replacement copies which have been ordered but which have not yet arrived may be replaced by photocopies, but the photocopies must be destroyed once the legal copies arrive.  And with that one exception, it is completely illegal to PERFORM from photocopies, which is apparently what you intend if your students are marking their photocopies for performance.
 
I strongly recommend reading the actual copyright law, available on line, but if that puts you to sleep (as it may well do!) there are plenty of brief summaries for music educators available.  And there are NO differences between choral and band and orchestras under the law."
 
John was specifically speaking to a director who copies. The "offending" director in the initial post is clearly breaking the law. I think we can now ALL AGREE on that. 

How to deal with that? Really up to you . . . contact them and inform them? Call YOUR admin and ask for advice? Is there a district Fine Arts person? As I mentioned previously, your school district will NOT be happy if you act without their knowledge or approval. That's why there is legal counsel.
I hope this helps clarifiy SOMETHING in SOME way!
 
Paul
Applauded by an audience of 5
on January 24, 2016 7:00pm
Aaron, First I want to applaud you for your courage and ethics. Having said that, I also want you to be smart about how you go about adressing the crook of whom you speak.
 
After his addendum, I agree with Paul Carey's assesment, especially the first part which so clearly points out that there is no real way to rationalize STEALING! But do NOT act on your own. The penalties for copyright infringement are HUGE and although it rarely comes to that, you don't want to expose your institution to such a risk in a way that might hurt everyone, including the students, because of one bad egg. Also, it's possible that in trying to address the situation yourself, you could expose yourself to some kind of civil lawsuit brought by the offender. So, go to the person in charge (the principal??) and tell him/her about the problem. It shouldn't be hard for them to walk into the offender's rehearsal space and see the illegal copies for themselves. With that, they have all they need to address the situation and at that point you should be left out of it. Your pricipal should thank you but also protect you.
Good luck!
Don McCullough
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 6
on January 27, 2016 1:12pm
What principals should do, and what they actually do, is not always the same.
The principal may actually view this situation as an opportunity to (help) cut the music budget.
I too applaud Aaron for doing what is right however, before any of us suggest what he ought do,
it is probably a good idea for him to "Know" the parties that will be involved.
He already understands his colleagues is not listening, though we're not certain why?
For some that may not matter.  After all the law is the law.  Yet insight to a situation often helps
when trying to determine the "proper" solution.  Of course the situation needs to be corrected.
What if the other teacher is photocopying because the department is not granted a satisfactory
budget to provide the music required to be the best teacher for the students?  Just asking . . .
In such a case, perhaps they can work together in finding a way to have the budget increased
so that enough music - plus extra copies - can be purchased for the entire program.
When I taught, this was a priority in our department.  We had ways to be sure our budget was met!
Of course this may not be the situation.  Maybe the other teacher just likes stealing from composers
or doesn't like publishers or the copyright law - who knows?  But understanding this crap will help.
Just by coming to this site and asking, we know Aaron will do what is right.  My concern is that
doing the Right thing does not turn around and kick him in the butt.  Don't forget, he works there . . .
Applauded by an audience of 1
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