Big Band Scene (March 2016)

In SJM46 (November 2015), I mentioned creating a digital archive of a band’s charts and promised to discuss the issue of copyright. As well as being a legal issue, it is also a moral issue.  If you have copied someone else’s work with the intention of profiting from it, then you should pass on some of your profit to the copyright holder. Especially if that is the composer or arranger of the piece.

Clearly if the repertoire is entirely written by the band members, there is no problem.  Otherwise, the issue of copyright depends on the nature of the band.  If the band is a professional one, where gigs are a source of income for the members, then copyright fees should be paid. 

It also depends on where the gig is held. Some venues require a play list and look after the fees themselves.   Even for an unpaid gig.

Copyright law in this country dates back more than three centuries. It has been updated from time to time to deal with advances in technology and new forms of media. The current act is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which extends protection to 70 years and states that copyright arises in the act of creation, not just the act of publishing.

This act is an example of enabling legislation, so it can be amended by statutory instruments. These cannot be debated in Parliament, only approved or rejected.  Statutory Instrument 2014 No. 2361 relates to creating a digital archive for a band.

Making a copy is legal, provided that certain conditions are met. The chart, either hard copy or a download, being copied must have been bought or a gift.  The purpose of the copy should be for your private use.  This includes use as a back-up copy, or for storage, such as a memory stick or on line in cloud storage accessible only by you and the band librarian.

Unless permission has been given by the copyright holder, it is not legal to make a copy if the chart has been borrowed, rented or obtained by means of a download enabling no more than temporary access, or if it is made for ends which are directly or indirectly commercial.

It seems that it is perfectly legal to have a digital archive for practice purposes.  Although if you have doubts, you should consult a lawyer.

But there is a cloud on the horizon. TTIP.  This does not refer to the chemical compound titanium isopropoxide, which is for industrial, not recreational, use. But rather to the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the United States and the European Union. These negotiations are classified, meaning that details are not to be made public.

Ostensibly the purpose is to lower trade tariffs and harmonise rules covering a large variety of goods and services.  Week long negotiation sessions alternate between Brussels and the USA.  Although these were originally planned to be completed by 2014, they are still ongoing.  At the time of writing, the twelfth round was scheduled for the week February 22nd to 26th in Brussels.

From freedom of information requests and leaked documents, it seems that if TTIP is finally agreed, it would give multinational corporations the right to sue governments if they regarded particular laws as affecting their ability to make profits. These actions would take place in secret courts.

So if agreement were to be reached, a large American corporation with a huge copyright portfolio could force the UK government to revoke Statutory Instrument 2014 No. 2361 making it illegal to make or hold, in any format, a copy of any copyrighted music.  But until then, in my view, your band’s digital archive is above board.

 

Next month:  More news and views and possibly a band profile.  If you would like your band featured, and I have not already contacted you, please get in touch.  Or if there is anything else, such as gig news, or feedback on this column, that you would like me to include in April’s Big Band Scene, please send it to me by Good Friday March 25th at g8aac@yahoo.co.uk.

 

[Photo: Hilary Burt conducts the Trees ensemble performing her original composition, Simeon.

 

Big Band Gigs and Events for March – Early April 

(† means a regular monthly gig, bold italic type indicates part of a regular series.)

 

Wednesday March 2nd.

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)

 

Saturday March 5th.

†8:30 pm, The Sussex Universities Big Band 10th Birthday Big Band Blowout in Room 76, The Falmer Bar, Falmer House, The University of Sussex BN1 9RH, (07761 689398). Free Entry.

 

Sunday March 6th

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry. 

7:30 – 10:00  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: The Studio 9 Orchestra at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Tuesday March 8th.

†8:00 – 10:30 pm, The Ronnie Smith Big Band at The Humming Bird Restaurant, Main Terminal Building, Shoreham Airport, West Sussex,  BN43 5FF (01273 452300).  Free entry with collection.

 

Sunday March 13th

4:00 pm, Pete Long’s Sinatra, Sequins & Swing: The Capitol Years Live at The Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3PX (01903 206206) £23/£22, friends £21.50. 

 

Sunday March 20th

1:30 pm, Saxshop at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with charity collection.

 

Friday March 25th.

†8:30 – 11:00 pm, The Les Paul Big Band (Family & Friends evening) in Patcham, BN1, £5.  For further details contact Les (01273 558009) les@lespaulbigband.co.uk  (Bring your own refreshments.)

 

Sunday March 27th.

†12:30 – 3:00 pm, The South Coast Big Band at The Junction Tavern, 99 Station Road, Polegate, East Sussex BN24 6EB (01323 482010).   Free entry.

 

Sunday April 3rd

†12:45 – 3:00 pm, Sounds of Swing Big Band at The Horseshoe Inn Hotel, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux, East Sussex BN27 4RU (02035 645225).   Free entry.

7:30 – 10:00  pm, Big Band @Brunswick: Straight No Chaser plays the music of Thad Jones at The Brunswick, 3, Holland Road, Hove BN3 1JF (01273 733984).  Free entry with collection.

 

Wednesday April 6th.

†8:30 pm, The Fred Woods Big Band at the Horsham Sports Club, Cricketfield Road, Horsham RH12 1TE (01403 254628).  £2 (Club members free.)