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Mechanical Copyright..

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I was just sitting here on Sunday afternoon watching Britains Talentless people and I was wondering, how do shows like this get around mechanical copyright. When a random dance troupe turn up with their mix CD that they made themselves from MP3's?


I can see how the TV can get the clearance for the standard copyright to play the music and the mechanical copyright for them to "rerecord" the music for broadcast, but certainly at the fast paced audition shows how is the copyright issue dealt with?


Given that PRS chase ordinary companies that might listen to the radio in a communal place or dare to have hold music on the phone, I can't exactly see PRS-MCPS letting this slide, not on national TV...



Or have I got it wrong ?





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Ah well done you have spotted another flaw in the so called spontaneity and of it all.


If you have ever done a show where the amateur talent have turned up with home edited backing tracks then you would realise these are not home edited tracks. most of them a far to good to be home edited, some lengthy pre-production has gone in to make this appear spontaneous.


Amateur home edited backing tracks usually arrive in an unplayable format, if they play at all they were usually monitored on a system with no low end eg laptop, so to make it sound good at home, ludicrous amounts of boost is used on the low end, resulting in heavy over compression of the overall track and so much low end even the 16 db filter on a Heritage makes little difference, then they have the audacity to criticise your system because it reveals all the flaws on their CD.


Then they say can you play from the first time it goes "tra da da" to the bit where the bass comes back in, on track one, then go strait into the second half of track 12 on a CD you have never heard before, and wonder why you can't do it instantly.


Aah that's better, rant over, and it was supposed to be a rant about the obvious pre-production on all the so called spontaneous talent shows. :P

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You just described my past week.


on THE DAY OF THE SHOW, after the dress, after the programmes were printed, 6:30pm, I had this:


"Oh, I didnt like my track so I redid the mix, its on this CD, should be good to play man!"


so, I chuck it into my laptop, and once I've converted the .wma file (to be fair, I DID ask him not to use mp3...) I have a quick look at the file:


2 tracks, mixed badly, the first missing its Right Channel, but mixed to a Stereo Track, then a massive level boost into the 2nd track.


somehow I fixed it, and he had it for the show. he didn't get to practise it on the stage however...

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Moderation: I have removed two more off topic posts.


Let me repeat for clarity - KEEP THIS ON TOPIC.


If you wish to complain about moderation, or the programme itself, then feel free to discuss this in a more appropriate area.


It really does take the biscuit to discover a post has been removed, an explanation given, and then the same person does it again! It's not funny and it's not going to work winding me up first thing in the morning with at least another half an hours worth of housekeeping to do on the overnight posts!



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Well said Paul! :)


I'm still wondering about the original question. I'm going to have a guess that the broadcaster has somekind of license/arrangement with the MCPS to cover this. They will already have the necessary performance licenses in place.


The reality is, making up these mixes and mash-ups has very little to do with obtaining permission, despite the wording on the mcps site, and everything to do with money.

It's pretty well impossible for a songwriter or recording artist to deny permission for 'someone' to use all or part of their material, so I guess it must be part of the culture that this happens.

It is rare for any licenses or royalties due to be attached to specific material, more the quantity of material, so the more you do the more you pay.

Payment to artists is based on surveys carried out by mcps/ppl/prs rather than individual cases. You don't give David Bowie 25p for a 30 second sample of Under Presure ;) (well, Vanilla Ice didn't anyway :rolleyes: )


So I would assume that as these shows are generally one-off performances the industry don't get too hot under the colar about it. If the act is a success and frequently perform in public or release a recording then there are already licenses and procedures in place to cover remixes/mash-ups and the like - think of DMC, Mastermix/Music Factory.


That's my best guess of the situation and I ain't no expert by any means...

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The broadcasters have blanket agreements with PRS/MCPS/PPL to cover their activities.


Laying aside off-topic technical considerations to stay mod-friendly, it could be argued that a backing compilation or similar used in the show would be part of the programme production process - even if that compilation was not physically made by the production team but by the contestant (talent??!) - and would therefore come under the terms of the agreement.


Getting the relevant composer/publisher/label etc details of the music involved for logging purposes may be a bit of a challenge but there are databases available to fill in the missing bits - assuming you know what the tracks are in the first place.


Of course, as far as the individual contestant is concerned they have still made an unlicensed copy of some music - whether it's broadcast on TV or not - and therefore could be held liable if a relevant royalty collection body were minded to press the point.

Worth remembering that without a license it is still technically an infringement of copyright in the UK to rip an MP3 copy from a CD that you already legitimately own - even if it's only for your own personal use on your iPOD. Many other EU jurisdictions have introduced exceptions for this personal use but despite the efforts of the last government to bring us into line through a clause in the Digital Ecomomy Bill, heavy lobbying by music industry bodies and others defeated the move.

But does anyone know of anyone who has been "done" for this?




(edited to attribute lobbying to the correct parties)

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...the simple answer (speaking as someone who's worked this and other "reality" shows) is that it is done the long way. There are dozens of staff on this type of show carrying clipboards noting down every second of footage that's recorded by every camera single camera and any music that appears (deliberately or not) in the background whilst recording the interviews, crowd shots, behind the scenes footage. When it comes to your on-stage performance you are asked to arrive at the Judges audition (actually the second or third round) with a list of your tracks used and/or someone in the production office will have the sole job of logging all this info and chasing up any acts that haven't provided the info.


Whilst there is a blanket license for all the major broadcasters in the uk it only grants them the ability to assume automatic permission; they still have to log WHAT they use so that the appropriate payments percentages are diverted; also in these multi-platform shows separate permissions and licenses have to be arranged for Mobile broadcast, youtube, the official website, ringtones etc. so the amount of paperwork such a simple piece of TV produces is genuinely shocking.


The audition rounds of shows like BGT typically have 60+ people working on them in various roles.

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