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Honoring Creative Rights: ASCAP Music Licenses

Honoring Creative Rights: ASCAP Music Licenses

Whether or not it is best to use music during a shoot is open to debate.

Some feel it relaxes the model and helps him or her find a “rhythm” that creates a dance like partnership with the photographer. Others think the music is a distraction and prefer to work with words to get the best from their subjects. And, many do both.

But, one thing is not open to debate — if we choose to use music, we have to honor the rights of those who created it — just as we expect them to honor ours.

In a past newsletter, “intellectual property attorney”/photographer Jody Goldstein, set forth the general parameters that control when and how we can lawfully use music in our studios. Seen in its most simple light, the general rule is that if we play recorded, copyrighted music, we most likely need ¬†licenses. The most common misunderstanding? That if we own a CD, or have paid for a download, we can play it during a shoot. We can’t, and the article explains why.

That’s why, in December, I wrote a check to ASCAP, one of the two major licensing organizations, so that I could legally play music in my studio. The license lasts for a year. Using a rate established by PPA, my license cost me $152.00. (Just tell them you are a PPA member and they will give you that rate. I’s bet that other organizations have similar deals.)

If you don’t have a license, you might want to consider getting one. You can learn more about ASCAP, here.

Doing so puts us in solidarity¬†with our brothers and sisters of the arts — the musicians with whom we share the task of making sure that our clients respect the laws that protect all of us.

(Copyright: PrairieFire Productions/Stephen J. Herzberg — 2010)

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