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Anonymous
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MCPS - how can you check? new
      #357113 - 22/09/06 06:31 AM
Howdi.

I write library music. Twice a year the library/publisher pay me mcps. Now, they are very nice, wonderful, cuddly, trustworthy people but it does make me wonder (now that I'm writing for another library too) how I can verify these payments. Because in theory they could tell me anything and 'manipulate the figures in an imaginative way' because I have no way of checking.

How can I check the licences that have come in for my works? Surely I can't make enquiries with mcps because that info - as far as they're concerned - is between them and the publisher even though I'm the writer.

But it doesn't seem right that me (or my accountant) can't double check these things.

Maybe you can and I'm being stupid! In which case I apologise.

Any ideas chaps? Thanks.


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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #357180 - 22/09/06 09:08 AM
In general your MCPS should be slightly more than your PRS for Library Music so if you are receiving less you can ask to conduct an audit of the books. This won't make you very popular but it should be written into your contract somewhere that you can see the books at least once a year.

Some libraries do short change you on MCPS (I can mention no names!) and try to tell you that your royalties are covered by blanket licences or that all their records were destroyed in a fire 10 years ago or something except the main man keeps buying nice new Rolls Royces and re-equipping his already fully equipped studio.

I need to have a lie down.

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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Commander]
      #357323 - 22/09/06 12:45 PM
Quote Commander:



Some libraries do short change you on MCPS (I can mention no names!)




Go on, give us a clue? Maybe we have written for the same library.

Hmmm...I notice that 2005 mcps was lower than prs. I also notice (and this is what worries me) that there are tracks that have earnt prs but there seems to be no corresponding mcps payment. I did mention this to the library but they were a bit evasive.

Surely the mcps should put some mechanism in place where we can check this.

Asking to do an audit would not be good at this moment in time!


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Steve Hill
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #357605 - 22/09/06 10:57 PM
Quote BobMoussehair:

Surely the mcps should put some mechanism in place where we can check this.

Asking to do an audit would not be good at this moment in time!




Sadly these are mutually exclusive statements. There is a mechanism. It's called an audit. What you are saying is you don't want to use the mechanism available to you (probably for very good reasons) and you wish there was a different mechanism instead.

I don't think there is, or can be. In my 20-odd years in the accountancy profession nobody came up with a better invention than an audit to see if anyone was cooking the books.

(For the sake of any pedants out there, there are some other, very extreme measures available. These include getting e.g. the DTI to appoint company inspectors in the public interest, or suing them so that all relevant records must by law be produced in court including stuff like internal emails saying "shred the records now" and so forth. But these sorts of moves are highly hostile and somewhat career limiting!)

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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Steve Hill]
      #357760 - 23/09/06 03:06 PM
Quote Steve Hill:

these sorts of moves are highly hostile and somewhat career limiting!




As is an audit in all probability ...

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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Commander]
      #357785 - 23/09/06 04:58 PM
If you were an MCPS member yourself you'd get 50% direct... do the terms of the library contracts preclude that?

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Ay Carumba!
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #357826 - 23/09/06 07:15 PM
No, MCPS only pay directly to the composer on unpublished tracks that the composer controls 100%, otherwise the mechanicals come via the publisher.

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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Ay Carumba!]
      #357834 - 23/09/06 08:23 PM
Thanks. Getting off the subject now, but does PRS work the same way? Either I've got both these wrong, or one of them is different.

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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #357852 - 23/09/06 09:00 PM
No, PRS is different, you can't sign away more than 50%of the Composer's share, you get the remainder (ie minimum 50%) direct from them. For which I'm always grateful - God bless the PRS
I'm sure some publishing companies would have more if they could. Shirt off your back, fillings from your teeth (we need GOLD!) etc.

Sorry, sounded a tad bitter there...


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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #357913 - 24/09/06 06:09 AM
Regarding prs...

I think the whole royalty situation is antiquated. Seems daft that in this day and age, with all this technology, we're still sampling the smaller channels and as a result, not getting paid for our labours.

I saw a recent ad I did about 15 times on ITV 2 this week and chances are, I'm gonna get bugger all prs for it unless I win the 'Sample Day Lottery'. Which is annoying.

I realise they are trying to change the situation gradually and just reading the new 'm' mag, I see there's some promising developments - regarding quarterly cinematic payments for example. But change seems so slow.

Is it the Performance channel that samples at 90 quid a minute or something for its one day? I'd like to know who struck lucky with that one!


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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ...................]
      #357960 - 24/09/06 10:49 AM
Quote Herewego:

No, PRS is different, you can't sign away more than 50% of the Composer's share, you get the remainder (ie minimum 50%) direct from them.




So, just to be clear, with PRS you can collect it all yourself, or all through a publisher (less commission obv.) or 50/50... but MCPS you can only collect it all yourself or all through a publisher?

I agree with Herewego and Bob on the other points.

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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #357977 - 24/09/06 11:56 AM
Not quite Rob, the PRS won't pay more than 50% of the share to anyone other than the writer(s), and they pay them directly.
So if I'm the sole composer, they pay me directly a 50% share of royalties as a minimum, even if if the song is published. The other 50%, well that depends on how it's signed, so I could get some of it back through a publisher, or up to non of it if the publisher signed the deal in their favour.
So depending on your publishing deal (or lack of it maybe) you can collect between 50% and 100% of the Performance Royalties from PRS, the remainder depends on the deal(s) you've signed.
AFAIK of course.

MCPS, as far as I know, you're right. All to yourself if you control it, but once it's signed they pay all to the publisher, who then gives you your share.


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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ...................]
      #357984 - 24/09/06 12:13 PM
Quote Herewego:

MCPS, as far as I know, you're right. All to yourself if you control it, but once it's signed they pay all to the publisher, who then gives you your share.




Sometimes.


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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358142 - 24/09/06 05:43 PM
Quote BobMoussehair:

Quote Herewego:

MCPS, as far as I know, you're right. All to yourself if you control it, but once it's signed they pay all to the publisher, who then gives you your share.




Sometimes.




Soemtimes not ...

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__
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358147 - 24/09/06 06:02 PM
What amazes me is that you composer chaps get no payment for usage if the outfit using isnt using your stuff on their sample day. Have i got this right? Surely there must be a law somewhere that could be used to tighten up on this practice, to make sure you get paid every time your work is used


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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ...................]
      #358164 - 24/09/06 06:57 PM
Quote Herewego:

Not quite Rob...




OK, one more time Gav... thanks for your help on this BTW!

So, just to be clear, with PRS you always collect at least 50% yourself (or all of it if you have no publisher)... but MCPS you can only collect it all yourself or all through a publisher?

Actually, are you sure this bit is right..?

Quote Herewego:

Not quite Rob, the PRS won't pay more than 50% of the share to anyone other than the writer(s), and they pay them directly.




That implies that all writers must join PRS... I thought a publisher could act on their behalf if they weren't members?

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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: __]
      #358167 - 24/09/06 07:02 PM
Quote ow:

What amazes me is that you composer chaps get no payment for usage if the outfit using isnt using your stuff on their sample day. Have i got this right?




Yep, that's right. Not the case with the main terrestrial channels though because they have to report properly.

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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358183 - 24/09/06 07:45 PM
It's a bloody scandal isnt it? Its like saying i can take a basket of shopping every day from a shop, but only have to pay on the one day when the stock-take happens. It seems rediculous that the MU or trading standards or some other body hasnt had ago at this "sample" racket. I'm sure theres more to it than my simplistic view. Seems copletely daft to me though.

Its not asif the broadcasters dont know, everythings scheduled to the second!


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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: __]
      #358212 - 24/09/06 08:45 PM
There was a monopoly commission investigation into the PRS and all its works in about 1997. If you're interested I can dig out the link... it's all online at gov.uk somewhere.

The excuses for sampling at less than 100% (too hard for the users, too hard to pay small earners) don't hold water these days. Europe is currently having a very good look at it... it remains to be seen whether the old vested interests will be able to bluff it out. They're doing a good job (at doing a bad job) so far.

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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #358220 - 24/09/06 09:02 PM
Ultimately though its the prs/mcps that are doing the ripping isnt it? Arent they [sometimes] paid an annual [blanket] fee, but then use the sample day to decide which artists get any of it.

Excuse my ignorance if this is wrong. I dont know much about it.

But isnt there a code of practice to see that fees received are paid out [less reasonable admin]. What happens to the rest?

You pay to join, so isnt it a friendly society of sorts?

Suppose this is the point of the audit commission initiative.


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Ay Carumba!
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: __]
      #358266 - 24/09/06 11:16 PM
It's not that they keep the leftovers (I hope!), more that all the blanket fees they receive are distributed using the sampling methodology (apart from performances on the main terrestrial channels which are calculated 100% on - ahem, occassionally inaccurate - music cue sheets).

I hate the sampling thing myself and have been 'unlucky' on rather too many occassions. The MCPS/PRS argument would be that the administrative costs of 100% 'all-broadcaster' sampling would make it unworkable and unprofitable unless fully automated systems are in place everywhere, with digital detection of the music used too - otherwise you're still relying on under-staffed, under-paid manual input at the client end - and let's face it they couldn't really give a t*** who gets the money.



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #358271 - 24/09/06 11:33 PM
Quote Rob C.:


Actually, are you sure this bit is right..?

Quote Herewego:

Not quite Rob, the PRS won't pay more than 50% of the share to anyone other than the writer(s), and they pay them directly.




That implies that all writers must join PRS... I thought a publisher could act on their behalf if they weren't members?




I don't know on that one, I was assuming PRS membership.
Any publishing contract I've had from UK & USA, also dealings with UK TV companies and their graspy contracts, they've always stopped at 50% of Performance Royalties, maybe they assume I'm a PRS member?
Must check this out, I can't remember if I read the 50% thing in Passman's book or similar, or had someone at a Publisher tell me. I'm sure if they could have taken more than 50% from me they would have, BTW

OK - out of curiousity I've just just checked further on this.
Reading the PRS rules, Rule 2(f)(i) says you can vary the division of fees, "provided the share of the publisher and/or proprietor of the Performing Right shall not exceed one half of the fee." I take that to mean that you as a writer can sign it all away if you like, but the publisher or new proprietor can't collect more than half from PRS.

However... you can allocate that all your PRS money goes to someone else other than yourself (eg publisher), but you can't specify a particular work. ie it's all or nothing - the publisher gets your PRS for everything you write, not just the one song you signed to them.

So the answer to the question "I thought a publisher could act on their behalf if they weren't members?" is both 'Yes' and 'no'.
'Yes' - if it's for all your catalogue, 'No' if it's for particular works.

I've learnt something tonight - my head hurts!


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Ay Carumba!
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ...................]
      #358274 - 24/09/06 11:43 PM
Just off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure every media music contract I've ever signed has said, under "The composer warrants and acknowledges", something along the lines that "he is or will become a member of the PRS".

So, although in theory it could be done, I'm not sure in practice that a publisher handling your PRS would be done very often.



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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358282 - 25/09/06 12:00 AM
Not had my MCPS this month yet - anybody else had theirs and can I borrow a fiver?

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Bill C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358313 - 25/09/06 05:33 AM
can someone explain to me how library music would attract MCPS? Surely if say a library track is used in a gardening program on terrestrial TV, there is a performance (PRS), but there are no mechanical copies unless say they put out a DVD set of the program series?

thanks

Bill


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Matt Downing



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? [Re: Bill C]
      #358333 - 25/09/06 07:42 AM
Quote Bill C:

can someone explain to me how library music would attract MCPS?



http://www.mcps.co.uk/productionmusiclicence/ then follow the link to "Rate Card"

The music pays MCPS according to what type of programme they are making, e.g. non-broadcast video (like a corporate video), TV programme, TV advert (which is split into terrestrial, cable, national, international), video game, feature film, etc.

A corporate video with less than 100 copies pays £27 per 30 seconds. A world-wide TV advert pays £5335.

Matt


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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358374 - 25/09/06 09:04 AM
Thanks for the digging Colin and Gav! It's mental

I'll let you know if I find anything on that MCPS 50%... but I think I know where it came from... it certainly doesn't seem to be anywhere on the MCPS site.

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Bill C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Matt Downing]
      #358377 - 25/09/06 09:07 AM
Quote Matt Downing:

Quote Bill C:

can someone explain to me how library music would attract MCPS?



http://www.mcps.co.uk/productionmusiclicence/ then follow the link to "Rate Card"

The music pays MCPS according to what type of programme they are making, e.g. non-broadcast video (like a corporate video), TV programme, TV advert (which is split into terrestrial, cable, national, international), video game, feature film, etc.

A corporate video with less than 100 copies pays £27 per 30 seconds. A world-wide TV advert pays £5335.

Matt




thanks Matt - so the program maker pays money to MCPS to make in effect a mechanical copy (correct?). So who pays the money to PRS for the performance of the library music?, is this the broadcaster?


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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: __]
      #358381 - 25/09/06 09:10 AM

Surely there could be some system put in place that works along the same lines as banks and their instant accounting methods? Each piece has a tunecode, can't this automatically register the necessary digital info with prs systems? That could automatically cross-reference with composer details, CAE no. , - value cost can be calculated automatically, deduct admin costs and a royalty can be forwarded to the composers account instantaneoulsy.

I can't understand why we aren't trying to work more towards doing everything automatically. Surely it can't be that difficult to implement.


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Commander



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358448 - 25/09/06 11:27 AM
Quote BobMoussehair:


Surely there could be some system put in place that works along the same lines as banks and their instant accounting methods? Each piece has a tunecode, can't this automatically register the necessary digital info with prs systems?




I was talking to somebody about this not so long ago. There is a system and it is called digital watermarking. Basically it's a piece of code embedded in the music track containing all the composer and publisher details. Fantastic idea. Anyway, I asked why this wasn't being implemented if it was such a good idea. Apparently there are an awful lot of territories that don't even have computer systems in place to handle this level of technology, particularly in the developing countries, and until such time as everyone can agree on a standard and everyone is up to speed with their computer systems it simply won't work. Also there is no real incentive for people to want to do this since if they can get away with a blanket licence to cover a sample period it is going to be cheaper than paying what is actually due.

I really look forward to the day when every track goes out with all the relevant information embedded in it so that we all get paid for the exact use and don't have to rely on bloody sample periods or perople with bad handwriting getting details wrong anymore.

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Ay Carumba!
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Bill C]
      #358463 - 25/09/06 11:45 AM
Quote Bill C:

Quote Matt Downing:

Quote Bill C:

can someone explain to me how library music would attract MCPS?



http://www.mcps.co.uk/productionmusiclicence/ then follow the link to "Rate Card"

The music pays MCPS according to what type of programme they are making, e.g. non-broadcast video (like a corporate video), TV programme, TV advert (which is split into terrestrial, cable, national, international), video game, feature film, etc.

A corporate video with less than 100 copies pays £27 per 30 seconds. A world-wide TV advert pays £5335.

Matt




thanks Matt - so the program maker pays money to MCPS to make in effect a mechanical copy (correct?). So who pays the money to PRS for the performance of the library music?, is this the broadcaster?




Yes, the act of copying a track to tape ready for broadcast is subject to mechanical copyrights, so the broadcaster pays a big pot of cash to MCPS for this blanket licence and remits cue sheets to say what they have used and for how long.

PRS works in the same way and the broadcaster pays another huge pot to them in order to broadcast (or perform) these works.

Quote BobMoussehair:

Each piece has a tunecode, can't this automatically register the necessary digital info with prs systems?




Who enters the tunecodes? The broadcaster wouldn't know them and even if they did, you'd then be relying on a manual input system. So if we happened to have the same tunecode except that mine ends in a 1 and yours in a 7, there's a fair chance that I could receive a lot of your money and vice versa.

There was talk long ago of using digital watermarking to log music performances directly from the broadcasts but this is wrought with problems. Not least because of the huge number of non-watermarked tracks that could find their way into productions. It may have already happened in some way with radio playlists? I'm not sure.

Any system that incoporates manual input will have exactly the same problems as we have now - late and incorrect returns. While any automated system has to be completely watertight and installed with every broadcaster in the galaxy. That's no mean feat!

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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358592 - 25/09/06 02:08 PM
Hey ho. Let's leave it how it is then.



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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358685 - 25/09/06 04:51 PM
Quote BobMoussehair:

Surely there could be some system put in place that works along the same lines as banks and their instant accounting methods? Each piece has a tunecode, can't this automatically register the necessary digital info with prs systems?




The BMI (USA) uses the Shazam system for this purpose. There are several fingerprinting systems (Snocap is the other big one) which can track a catalogue of licences from the big labels. They work by analysing existing audio data and don't need any special recording data added.

Effectively, these audio fingerprints would identify the ISRCs and link to the relevant ISWCs. It can be done now. Snocap is primarily intended to do enable licensing on P2P. I think all the online and mobile licenses require 100% returns but I don't know if 100% is used by the PPL and PRS.

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Anonymous
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358692 - 25/09/06 05:17 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for that Rob. That was the sort of thing I was thinking of.


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Ay Carumba!
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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #358729 - 25/09/06 06:18 PM
Much as I would love to see a workable solution, I'm not convinced these systems would work reliably - though I have to say I know nothing about how they do their business.

- Can they recognise a 1 second clip?
- Can they recognised mixed/layered audio files?
- How about the producer's nephew's music which he gave them on a home-produced CD-R?
- What happens then to actuality music - say a presenter singing a number one hit off the cuff or background music on location. Currently if these can be recognised by the data entry staff they are returned and the rights holders rewarded.

What about this.....and that.....and the other....oh and....

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Rob C



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Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Ay Carumba!]
      #358763 - 25/09/06 07:59 PM
I don't want to get on the other side of a debate about whether these systems do what we might want or not. I know they work (if you want to test the Shazam system to phone in what's on the juke box in a pub you'll find it works incredibly well) but they probably don't answer a writer's or publisher's prayers... because they are inevitably phono copyright tools. Anything they can do for publishing (as at BMI) is a bi-product... and USA Top 40 radio is a different prospect to Radio 2.

Quote cwillsher:

Much as I would love to see a workable solution, I'm not convinced these systems would work reliably - though I have to say I know nothing about how they do their business.




You can try Shazam yourself for the price of a phone call... but I'd stress again that it's a phono tool.

Quote cwillsher:

- Can they recognise a 1 second clip?




I don't think so... but they can do a few seconds.

Quote cwillsher:

- Can they recognised mixed/layered audio files?




Their catalogues are built from label asssets, so no (but see what publishers might do below).

Quote cwillsher:

- How about the producer's nephew's music which he gave them on a home-produced CD-R?




Unless it's a label asset it would be unlikely to be coded.

Quote cwillsher:

- What happens then to actuality music - say a presenter singing a number one hit off the cuff or background music on location. Currently if these can be recognised by the data entry staff they are returned and the rights holders rewarded.




Nope.

If something has an ISRC (and it's been coded) you can trace the ISWC and CAEs using these systems. You can't use them as a universal publishing identification tool... but that's not what they're for. But I would say, without wanting to get stuck defending them, that they are a good solution for chart TV, radio, mobile and online logging. This would enable 100% returns to be extended to many channels that currently sample 1 day in n. That's not perfect, but it would get us out of the Stone Age. You could even use fingerprint recognition in pubs and clubs.

So... basically, any collection society could monitor any audio channel simply by plugging a tuner into the software and generating a timestamped list of what's played. This will work on TV, radio, Internet... any audio stream.

When the software doesn't recognise something it can alert a human or flag a timestamped question-mark to be followed up manually.

Finally... if these systems were used there would be an incentive for publishers to feed them too. Right now they are being populated by record companies/PPL but they could recognise any recordings... so a publisher/s could easily license popular pirate material (say The Grey Album) for recognition.

I don't work for them or have shares in them BTW.

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Ay Carumba!
member


Joined: 02/10/02
Posts: 827
Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Rob C]
      #358849 - 25/09/06 11:18 PM
Thanks Rob. I can see it could be a few steps in the right direction at least.

Hey I liked this...

Quote Rob C.:

When the software doesn't recognise something it can alert a human...




You can just imagine can't you..."Oi am 'avin' a fag!"

Quote Rob C.:

I don't work for them or have shares in them BTW.




Hey, that's not such a bad idea, maybe we should pool our resources - I've got um...er...£3.27 right here!



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Rob C



Joined: 10/02/03
Posts: 8434
Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: Ay Carumba!]
      #358984 - 26/09/06 11:04 AM
I just looked this up this in my patented big-pile-of-paper filing system, and there's another one I should have mentioned...

Audible Magic

Interestingly, on this page they suggest a rights monitoring application - sadly the example they show (KFOG-FM) was down this morning.

The main 3 I see in the technical press would be Snocap, Shazam and Audible Magic. This is a mental area for start-ups and you'll probably see many others come and go, but those three at least have working technology.

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Perfectspace
member


Joined: 16/07/03
Posts: 86
Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #359138 - 26/09/06 03:16 PM
Hi people

Just wanted to add something about the MCPS Writer/Publisher percentages.

As an MCPS & PRS Publisher, and also a published Writer member, I can confirm that it is entirely possible to have your MCPS Writer share paid directly to you (unless your Publishing contract says you may not, and also as long as you are a member!) This is something I do with some artists to save me admin. However, I'm not a 'Library Publisher' so there is a chance the rules are different for Libraries and their writers.

So Bob - an answer to your 'transparency' problem might be to check your contract, and if it allows, ask your Publisher to agree to ring MCPS and ask that all writer shares on your published tracks are altered to reflect the fact that you wish to receive your monies directly. This will, at the very least, then show usages from commercial releases, premiums and any other MCPS licences.

Hope that helps.
Cheers
Peter

--------------------
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Steve Hill
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Joined: 07/01/03
Posts: 13141
Loc: Oxfordshire
Re: MCPS - how can you check? new [Re: ]
      #359302 - 26/09/06 09:25 PM
It seems to me that the whole industry depends far too much on trust (ha!) and that's a recipe for disaster, or at least deep suspicion.

Does the MCPS not have a competitor? Or indeed the PRS?

Can you not in these free-trade EU times decide to sign up with say a French or German royalty-collector?

Can't systems put in place in another era be replaced by something transparent like a dynamic on-line database (members' only access) which shows on a daily update what plays you've had and what you've earned in consequence?

Maybe with the resulting royalties credited direct to your bank account every couple of weeks?

Seems to me what these Luddites need is a healthy reference to the Competition Commission, or better still, a real competitor.

--------------------
Dynamite with a laser beam...


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