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Old 8th August 2007, 03:50 PM   #1
gtappend
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Default Background music in podcasts

I've come across a small problem and I was wondering if anyone else had encountered it.

How do you cope with background music in podcasts? For example, I remember one NFS podcast was in a restaurant, where you could here music in the background.

At the weekend I made a wonderful recording at the wine festival here, and when I got home I realised that you could clearly here a barrel-organ (well, sort of the closest English word I can think of to describe it) in the background for a good part of it. I had been aware of him, but didn't really that he was that close or going to be on quite so much of the soundtrack.

After going through the FAQ of the GEMA (the music licensing people in Germany, similar to the PRS in the UK), I found that at least one tune he was playing is in their catalogue.

So I gave them a call and asked what the situation is, they offer podcast licenses if you want to use music in them (at reasonable prices, too), but not for this situation. To be exact: they'll license me items from their catalogue for an intro, outro, or to feature within the podcast. But this situation is covered for, so they're working out how to deal with it and are going to get back to me!!!


So... has anyone else had this sort of thing to cope with, or even had experience with how the PRS (or Spanish equivalent) to deal with something like this?

Last edited by gtappend; 8th August 2007 at 05:29 PM. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 8th August 2007, 04:26 PM   #2
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My solution has been not to worry too much about it. Seeing as it is obviously incidental and accidental, surely it should come under 'fair use'?
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Old 8th August 2007, 08:37 PM   #3
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I don't think we have "fair use" in Germany - there are strict rules for everything. Getting it wrong can be expensive

I also thought at first that it's only in the background, it's not as if I wanted it to be there. But then I read the GEMA FAQ and got cold feet - which I why I thought I'd play it safe and ask them before I upload it.
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Old 10th August 2007, 02:56 AM   #4
ValenciaSon
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Don't you have to worry about IP only when you make some gains?
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Old 10th August 2007, 07:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ValenciaSon View Post
Don't you have to worry about IP only when you make some gains?
Unfortunately, no. The rules in Germany for using music in podcasts are very complex - and that's if you're using it purposely!

You have to pay regardless of whether you're making money, a private person, or a multi-national company. That just decides how much you have to pay for the privilege.

Then there's a difference between playing the music yourself (to who someone else has the copyright), getting a musician to play it for you (does he belong to the union, etc.) and even worse - is this a freelance musician, because if it is and you use him/her regularly, you can get involved with paying some form of NI contributions for them.

That's why I gave up in the end and rang the people who should know. I'm still waiting for them to return my call 5 days later.


I'm not sure if other countries are so strict - I have to deal with this sort of thing in my job because of web pages and the like. But if you want to put a photo on your blog, then individuals on it who can be identified must give their permission, unless there are a group of people (generally more than 3), then it can be a general scene and you don't need to. Similar rules exist for audio recordings. If minors are involved then you need their parents' permission. And so on...

That's why I cover myself and get anyone I interview to sign a form to allow me to use the recording and a foto of themselves. So along with calling cards and giveaways, I carry a stack of these forms with me in case I see a motive I want to see or a person I want to speak to.

I have even seen invitations to events (eg. Scout training weekends) that have a disclaimer printed on them that fotos of the event will be used afterwards for publicity/web purposes.


It can all be a bit of a pain, but if you have anything to do with web design here, you need to know all about it because if you don't and get it wrong, someone out there (eg. your competition) is probably going to sue you.

Last edited by gtappend; 10th August 2007 at 07:43 PM. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 29th September 2007, 09:20 PM   #6
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I thought I'd let you all know what happened in the end.

The German equivalent of the PRS (the GEMA) eventually called me back and as this situation doesn't fit in their price list, they offered to let me buy the lowest form of podcast license for 60EUR per year.

However there are limits to this license:

- the podcast (website) can only generate a certain amount of income
- the podcast cannot be connected to a business

Being self-employed it's very difficult to separate business from non-business, especially when the websites are so closely interlinked.

They were going to give me the benefit of the doubt but then I read in the small print, that they would want to audit my accounts each year to make sure that my business really didn't earn anything from the podcast. If their auditors decided that I was, then appart from higher fees I would also have to pay the auditors costs!

Out of principle I decided not to proceed with this as I don't see why I should let such an organisation have access to my accounts to prove that I didn't owe them anything. Especially as the tax office will audit them anyway sometime.

And this is only to satisfy the copyright-owner of the music being performed - the performers' union and NI problem made the situation potentially even more complicated.


So my advice is: if you're recording a podcast at any sort of event in Germany then make sure there is no music of any sort playing!

(Or get the performer's permission and ensure that he wrote the words and composed the melody himself and does not belong to any of the performing rights associations!)
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Old 30th September 2007, 05:27 AM   #7
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well you can edit it out with few studio software programs so the background music is not more then 60% and then there no problens
are you can reedit it so the music is on brakes you do a voice over with only you voice so not 100 % is played .. there is ways around it

jurdy
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Old 30th September 2007, 11:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djS View Post
are you can reedit it so the music is on brakes you do a voice over with only you voice so not 100 % is played .. there is ways around it

jurdy
Sounds like your best bet, graham
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Old 30th September 2007, 10:48 PM   #9
gtappend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djS View Post
well you can edit it out with few studio software programs so the background music is not more then 60% and then there no problens
are you can reedit it so the music is on brakes you do a voice over with only you voice so not 100 % is played .. there is ways around it

jurdy
I'm afraid not. Even a 60% level is sufficient for them to demand you buy a license. It doesn't matter how much of the song/tune is heard - one note is sufficient and even with voice over only 50% of any one piece is allowed.

In fact, the voice over option is more expensive - 120EUR per year for the basic rate, but if more than 5 different songs are identifiable per month then this goes up to 360EUR per year!

The 60EUR offer sounded quite good, but at the end of the day it wasn't a matter of the money but more of the principle of so much small print.
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Old 30th September 2007, 11:51 PM   #10
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I won't be making podcasts in Germany any time soon. Don't these over-the-top repressive IP laws harm the German economy in any way?
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Old 1st October 2007, 12:30 AM   #11
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In a way, yes. My problem started just because I recorded a podcast at a wine festival, and at some point you could here music in the background (at times quite loud unfortunately).

With so much red tape, who in their right mind is going to start a new podcast on a topic such as German festivals, unless they are affiliated to a large media producer who is already paying a flat fee per month for music rights?

There is so much of this about here, like paying a TV license for TV sets that you have in the cellar - because theoretically you could get it out some time and start watching something, or paying license fees to the author's assocation if you have a photocopier in your shop because somone could make a copy of a copyrighted text.

The latest one is that you have to pay a TV license (at a reduced rate) for your computer if it is possible to attach it to the internet (let's face it, most can...) because you could read the public broadcasters websites or watch their videocasts. (German readers: I know there are complicated rules for businesses and other exemptions)

OK, this is getting way too off topic

But to return to the question: yes, such things hit the economy. Image you own a business and have to suddenly buy a TV license for your computer, even though you only ever use it for writing invoices and your online tax return. Large businesses may not notice it but we self-employed do because it's just an extra burden - and not as if I don't pay privately anyway!

Needless to say I've become very careful about checking background sound levels when I do any recording now. At a recent festival I waited amost an hour for the music stop, and the other week a shop even turned their in-store radio off for me once I asked them nicely and told them what the problem was.
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Old 2nd October 2007, 07:32 PM   #12
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This whole copyright issue has become MADNESS. It's ridiculous. The original problem that people had was basically if someone gets something for nothing... That is, passing around MP3's limitlessly without paying anything. This, in theory, slowed sales of actual CD's and legal copies of the music. I also understand charging (a small, nominal fee) for the use of copyrighted music for something that is a for-profit venture. For instance, a TV commercial or anything with paid content.

However, this whole thing of charging for every snippet of sound or even for having something show up in the background of a photograph you took (of something else), etc, is just ridiculous. It's not only not in the spirit of the law, it's not in the spirit of LOGIC. Because of Metallica's big stink a few years back, I refuse to even buy their CD's (even though I love them) new in a store. I'll scavenge the used CD stores, that way they don't get a nickel!

I remember not so long ago that music artists would even use snippets ("sampling") from other songs and nobody really got bent out of shape about it. You give credit where credit is due and move on. It's not taking money out of anyone's pocket to have their song show up in the background of someone's podcast. In fact, if you think about it, that's double-dipping. If someone was paying royalties to publicly perform/play the song, then that's the payment. You shouldn't be paying YET AGAIN... wasn't that the point of them paying for the public performance in the first place?

Bleh. I guess I'd have to go with civil disobedience here, because I refuse to pay for things I own. A CD on my shelf *I OWN*... don't like it? Don't make and sell CD's... just go on tour and rape us with ticket prices, as usual.

-Michael
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