Fw: [Dixielandjazz] BMI

G. William Oakley gwilliamoakley at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 28 22:21:55 PST 2004

To: <acjspres at aol.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 28, 2004 10:20 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] BMI

> You are a rarity Joe.  You know someone who actually gets a check from
> That said,  the issue is not "just pay the tab."  First of all,  they are
> asking for a fee in excess of $1200.00 annually.  Doug's group meets once
> month.  That seems a bit steep on the off-chance you are playing covered
> material.
> I don't think you've followed the thread closely.  Part of the issue is
> thugs who run organizations like this and their minions who go out and
> extort these exorbitant fees.  If their books were open as to dispersal of
> the monies taken in I might change my attitude about them but I don't
> that will ever happen.
> It is the attitude of "just pay the bill" that allows these organizations
> send out "fishing trip" mailings to see what they can dredge up from
> who want "to avoid legal hassles down the road."  The point is not the
> avoidance of fees, it is paying a royalty fairly  and one that gets to the
> intended.  As a published playwright I get 50% of the money my publisher
> takes in on my work.  I consider this fair and I get an audited statement
> each year with my check.  If the licensing organizations were forced to
> provide audited statements they would be out of business.
> Here is an example of how they do business:
> BMI's $15 case. (Broadcast Music Inc.)(includes related sample letter to
> Congress)(Brief Article)
> Dance Magazine, June, 1998, by Marian Horosko
> Testimony objecting to the unfair classroom license fees demanded by ASCAP
> and BMI was heard in July by the Sub-Committee on Courts and Intellectual
> Property of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C. (see DM
> October, page 86). Chosen to-give testimony to represent the dance
> profession was Thelma Showman, an eighty-two-year-old teacher from Broken
> Arrow, Oklahoma, whose fifteen students appear in a public performance
> three years. Showman received a bill for $15 from BMI in addition to an
> earlier $100 intimidation fee she paid last year, although she does not
> BMI music. Since then, she has been targeted with letters from BMI
> threatening "legal action."
> We asked former New York State Supreme Court Justice Howard E. Goldfluss
> give us his views on Showman's recent harassment.
> "On December 16 of last year, Showman received a strong letter from BMI
> demanding payment of the balance of her music performance license fee. She
> owed, according to them, $15!
> Three weeks later she received a letter from a lawyer which read, in part:
> `You are hereby put on notice that unless you immediately remit directly
> me the full balance due BMI, BMI will aggressively seek a legal remedy to
> [sic] your willful breach of contract. Be further advised that you may be
> liable under the agreement for all of BMI's legal expenses incurred in
> collection of license fees.'
> All this for fifteen bucks! Was this just random silliness, or was it a
> concentrated effort to target Thelma Showman because her testimony before
> the Congressional subcommittee was so effective?
> Obviously, something moved the committee to action. House Bill 789,
> sponsored by Congressman James Sensenbrenner and Senate Bill 28, sponsored
> by Senator Strom Thurmond, would require radically revised copyright
> entitlements which would be fair both to copyright owners and users. There
> no longer would be guessing games as to which titles create liability.
> Exemptions would be clarified. Licensing fees would be resolved through
> binding arbitration. And the Justice Department would be obliged to send
> annual report to Congress overseeing music licensing collection.
> Naturally it is expected that ASCAP and BMI will lobby aggressively
> the passage of this legislation, but the fact remains that Congress and
> public have been alerted to improprieties. And, largely because of the
> teachers of America and their thousands of petitions sent to Dance
> and brave Thelma Showman, ASCAP and BMI may take another look at their
> license fees and the manner in which they collect them."
> You can do a Google search and find examples like this for ASCAP as well.
> also speak from personal experience with ASCAP, an experience that puts
> in the same league as the Teamsters and others of that ilk.
> "Pay the tab" if you like but I prefer to stand up to the thugs of the
> world.
> Sincerely,
> G. William Oakley
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: <acjspres at aol.com>
> To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Sunday, March 28, 2004 9:43 PM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] BMI
> > I know a couple of musicians who get a very nice royalty check every
> > months from BMI because songs they have written have been recorded and
> > played often. Why not just pay the tab? Our jazz society just pays the
> bill to
> > avoid legal hassles down the road.
> >
> > Joe Hopkins
> > Jazz Clarinet
> > AZ Classic Jazz Society...V.P. and 2004 Festival Co-Director
> > 480-396-6798 or 602-810-5888
> > www.azclassicjazz.org
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dixielandjazz mailing list
> > Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> > http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz
> >

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