Lingo - Performing Rights

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Blanket License

For an annual fee, radio and television stations, public broadcasters, cable stations, universities, restaurants, programmed music services, etc. can acquire a “blanket license” from a performing rights organization such as BMI. This license gives them the right to perform every piece of music contained in the respective repertoire as often as they wish during the term of the license.

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Cue Sheet

A listing of the music used in a television program or motion picture by title, composer, publisher, timing and type of usage (e.g., background, feature, theme) usually prepared by the producer of the program or film.

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Feature Work

On television, a performance that constitutes the main focus of audience attention at the time of the performance. The vocalists and/or instrumentalists, respectively, must be on camera except where the music is used as part of a choreographic routine that constitutes the main focus of attention. On radio, a performance that is the sole sound broadcast at the time of the performance.

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Grand Rights

“Grand rights” is the term used to describe “dramatic” performing rights. This would cover performances of musical comedies (Broadway and off-Broadway), operas, operettas, ballets, as well as renditions of independent musical compositions in a dramatic setting where there is narration, a plot and/or costumes and scenery. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to issue licenses and collect fees for grand rights. The use of a musical work in a non-dramatic public performance is not a grand right: it is a “small” performing right licensed through a performing rights organization.

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International Standard Work Code (ISWC)

A unique number that which will be assigned to a musical composition to assist in electronic identification of performances.

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Logs

Schedules prepared by radio and television stations for performing rights organizations such as BMI indicating by title, writer and artist all music performed on the station during a particular time period. Used as a basis for payment to writers and publishers.

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Non-Exclusive Rights

The performing rights held by United States performing rights organizations are non-exclusive, because at the same time that the organizations have the right to license performances of works, the writers and publishers have the right to license them directly to music users. Other rights may also be granted on a non-exclusive basis.

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Performing Rights Organization (PRO)

An association or corporation that licenses the public performance of non-dramatic musical works on behalf of the copyright owners, such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. These performing rights organizations issue licenses to users of publicly performed, non-dramatic music for a fee, and then pay performing rights royalties to the publishers and songwriters of the performed works. There are more than 200 PRO’s throughout the world.

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Small Performing Rights

This term is used to describe the non-dramatic public performing rights that are represented by and licensed through the performing rights organizations: BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Performances of individual musical works on radio and TV and at hotels, restaurants, on programmed music services, and in concerts are “small” performances. These performing rights cover individual musical works used in non-dramatic renditions and are to be distinguished from “grand rights.” Note that when individual musical compositions are used in a dramatic setting, with action, scenery and dialogue, as may be the case in a “revue,” it could be considered a “dramatic” performance and not be covered under a performing rights organization license (see GRAND RIGHTS).

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Source License

In performing rights, a license granted by the copyright owner to the person, producer or organization being licensed to record or distribute the work, (e.g., in a taped program) so that the performance of the recorded work needs no further license.

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