[Dixielandjazz] Copyright Infringement

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Tue Oct 12 09:35:56 PDT 2004

In a message dated 10/12/04 7:42:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> So, if I should choose to play, say "Corcovado",(Quiet Nights) with my 
> trio,
> entirely from memory, never having seen a chart or studied either the music
> or the chord changes, am I violating a copyright?

Well, it would certainly give ASCAP, BMI and SESAC something to sue you for, 
but they would rather chase after the folks who hire your band first because 
they know your just a bunch of poor musicians with no money to tap into.  They 
would fair much better shaking down the club, or theater, or promoter, or Jazz 
society with a set of books they could get into and use their formulas to 
extract money from them or force them out of business, thus forcing you and every 
other group out of business in yet another place to perform live.

This is why they are so big and powerful and nobody wants to fight them, so 
they just get away with extortion almost everywhere they go rightfully or 
wrongfully because they have manipulated the court and copyright system for so many 
years that nobody really knows what is going on to fight back against them.  
ASCAP boasts every time they try to shake down a new business that "We will 
sue you and We have NEVER lost a Case"    Pretty strong Blackmail to me.  Most 
people roll over and play dead and give them the money rather than go through 
the courts and try to fight them.  The litigation costs could easily far 
outweigh the extorted payment, and ASCAP knows this and so does BMI and that is why 
they have an Army of Collection Agent Lawyers on staff.

Your only hope is for early Alzheimer's, When they come after you just keep 
saying over and over again "I Don't Recall" it has worked for several bigger 
more powerful figures in this country in the past twenty years or so.  :)))

If they drag you into court, just play terribly with all wrong chords and 
notes and they will let you off the hook, it's your only safe source to plead 
your defense, tell the judge you only play for your own amusement and the 
abusement of others.  He will probably believe you and dismiss the case. 

  You might even want to ride one of your horses into the courtroom in a 
grand entrance and bring a dog or two just to add a bit of distraction and get the 
judges attention.  Better yet bring the ASCAP group a present and present it 
in the court room after their opening statements, a Nice gift wrapped box of 
rattlesnakes would be a nice gesture.


Tom Wiggins 

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