Stevie Wonder On Music Rights

Singer. Songwriter. Radio station owner.  Stevie Wonder has issues with the system as well...



Part 15 Engineer's picture

we need your input on a copyright subject over at TheALPB Forums,,,

specifically we are trying to frame a description and question for me send off to GML to attempt obtain a waiver for our stations.

Part 15 Engineer

Hindsight is 2020

I'm not a democrat or a republican, i'm a common sense moderate progressive


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timinbovey's picture

I've been giving this some thought recently myself.  Although I play zero music licensed by them so it doesn't really matter to me personally.

However, as others have said basically, it's not always a good idea to poke the bear.

After my lengthy conversations and back and forth emails with ASCAP it was clear that they really didn't know what Part 15 was, and once they understood determined it wasn't worth the cost and effort to license. 

I don't know that a policy wide knowledge of Part 15 exists at ASCAP or SESAC, except that myself and perhaps a couple others over the years, have inquired about a license. I did explain in my letters what Part 15 was.

I wonder if a letter that lets it be known that there could be a LOT of Part 15 broadcasters might stir up the idea among new upstarts, that they should have a license and a fee. 

If just one person, representing one Part 15 might inquire and succeed in getting an email (no one writes paper letters anymore I see) from them stating that no license would be necessary, the precedent would be set.  I don't know that requesting a waiver for a group of stations would be a good idea. 

I never specifically requested a waiver. Three years ago SESAC just sent me permission to broadcast without a license when I inquired.  Last year, after working on it for over a year, ASCAP did the same and gave me permission with no license needed.  SESAC had even declared me "experimental and educational". I simply explained the nature of my station and inquired about a license. 

I've already been considering writing to GML just to see what happens. They could be like BMI and want a fee. For me that wouldn't matter as I play nothing from their list. But if you're playing more current and popular music you could be affected.  If just one person such as myself inquires and gets the go ahead, fine. If I'm given a rate and a form to fill out, I can opt out, tell them I'm not going to use any of their material, and let it go at that. This leaves it somewhat wide open for others as I would be a single person asking who would not necessarily be relating that information to a group.  Know what I mean?

On the other hand, as people have mentioned before, if a bunch of people start asking about it, they again might think "hey, there's some money here" and establish a rate. 


Centinel's picture

To the best of my knowledge, BMI is the only entity of those mentioned that cover the broadcast of copyrighted work. Others focus on 'performance', et al, like at a tavern, but not broadcast. So when we put music over the airwaves our concern is just with BMI.




timinbovey's picture

I can assure you, with 100% certainty, and after 44 years in broadcast radio, that broadcast radio pays BMI, ASCAP and SESAC and will also be paying GMR.

They each represent a different group of song WRITERS.  Broadcast radio does not pay performers, just writers.  It has been this way for many decades.

However, as for Part 15 the only licensing group, or "PRO" (performing rights organization) that seeks licensing from Part 15 radio is BMI.  But regular broadcast radio does indeed pay all of them.  And if you stream you also must pay SoundExchange as well.