Down Under Copyright Infringement

October 12th, 2011 by

On my commute to work this morning, over the din of chattering businesspeople and the train whizzing through the tunnel, I heard a man listening, and pleasantly bopping along, to Men at Work’s “Down Under.” Initially, I felt like bopping right along with him, that familiar, infectious rhythm making me smile despite myself. After a couple stops, it got me thinking about the lawsuit brought against the band in 2009 for allegedly using several bars of the Australian folklore song “The Kookaburra Song” in the melody of their international pop hit without permission. Never a missed chance to ruminate on copyright infringement!

The music industry is replete with these sorts of hairsplitting accusations that dominate the world of rights and permissions, a vital part of any creative endeavor.

When Lady Gaga released her highly anticipated single “Born This Way” from her most recent album of the same name in February, the crowd went wild. The internet was inundated with people wanting to give their thoughts on the pop maven’s newest musical venture – they loved it, hated it, idolized her, thought she had gone too far. The most echoed of the voices, though, was the claim that the song copied its melodic structure from reigning pop queen Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” Critics had a field day with this. Suddenly everyone was listening to the two songs back to back to see if they could spot the similarities. After giving both songs a very thorough listen, I have to say, I have a clear favorite, but I also can’t quite make out the supposed rip off. Gaga agrees.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check them out for yourself and see if you can find merit to this allegation littering the web.

Madonna – “Express Yourself”
Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

So what does Madonna have to say about all of this? After all, she and co-writer/producer Stephen Bray do hold the copyright for the iconic anthem released in 1989. Do they feel their artistic integrity and legal rights have been infringed upon? At this point, it’s hard to say. CNN reported shortly after the release of Lady Gaga’s contentious single that though Gaga told Jay Leno she received an email from Madonna’s representatives sending along the pop veteran’s love and support, those same reps claimed to have never told Gaga anything. The world may never know.

This brings up an interesting question of the difference between simply using someone else’s work as inspiration while making nods to their style and downright copying. Critics find Cee Lo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City” to be reminiscent of the much-beloved “Billie Jean,” something which doesn’t seem to bother the fans at all. In fact, sampling of beats, loops, and whole sections of other artists’ songs has been a popular form of music creation for decades. Take a look at Gregg Michael Gillis, better known by his stage name Girl Talk. He’s made an entire career out of doing just that. (One of the oldest songs using this mashup style was recorded in 1956 by Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman, then known as “break-in,” a hilarious predecessor to the now insanely popular music genre.)

The real question here is: is all of this legal? And if it is, should it not be?

Girl Talk’s label Illegal Art assures that the musician is operating fully within his rights under a Creative Commons license, and even provides an exhaustive list of all the songs, and their respective artists, sampled in his latest album on their website.

Men At Work, however, were not quite as lucky. Larrkin Music Publishing, who owns the rights to “The Kookaburra Song” filed suit against Ron Strykert and Colin Hay, the two Men At Work who wrote the song, as well as their former record label. The men were said to have reproduced a “substantial portion” of the old folklore song, and had thus infringed upon Larrkin’s executive rights. After a lengthy appeals process, Larrkin eventually won out on the grounds that the 1981 hit did, in fact, reproduce a noticeable part of the old song, which I believe to be the right decision. Take a listen and see.

“The Kookaburra Song”
Men At Work – “Down Under”

That offending flute, which is so recognizable in the unofficial Australian anthem, clearly plays out the melody of this childhood tune.

I’m all for artistic interpretation and using great works that came before you as inspiration for your own form of expression, but does that mean we should do away with copyrights altogether? Do they stifle creativity?

I think quite the opposite, actually. Copyrights allow for the people who spent the time, energy and mind power on an original project to receive the acknowledgement (and compensation) for their work, especially if it’s benefiting the population enough to warrant imitation.

RightsPro Adds PLUS Licensing

June 16th, 2011 by

We’re very excited about the addition of the PLUS licensing standards to RightsPro.com, further empowering our photo buyers and sellers to easily communicate the rights granted in a license agreement.

RightsPro is a member and supporter of the PLUS Coalition — the global standards body for image licensing.  PLUS is a non-profit collaboration between all industries engaged in creating, distributing, using or preserving images.

PLUS’ familiar terms and standards are specifically designed for use in communicating image rights licenses. Simple enough for the novice user, yet still powerful enough for the image licensing expert, the PLUS standards support virtually all photo licensing models. RightsPro now fully supports not only PLUS Packs and PLUS Rights Ready licenses, but detailed custom PLUS licenses as well.

Simplified RightsPro Licensing with PLUS Packs

PLUS Packs are an easy way to offer or request convenient bundles of rights, developed collaboratively by image buyers and sellers in 30 countries.  We’ve added all of the standard and rights ready packs to the default licensing terms so you can get through the process of licensing your photos quickly while clearly communicating the rights granted. PLUS is also working on the addition of Creative Commons Packs.

Custom Licensing with the PLUS Licensing Menus

When you need to describe a license that is different or more detailed than a PLUS Pack or Rights Ready Pack, RightsPro now allows you to specify any combination of rights, creating custom licenses using the PLUS licensing menus. When you need to offer a broad rights or to specify fine-grained permissions and constraints, the PLUS licensing menus provide you with the freedom and flexibility to accurately communicate your licenses.

RightsPro, ODRL, and PLUS

We still fully support ODRL, a very powerful rights expression language, which enables RightsPro users to license all types of intellectual property across many industries.  ODRL also participates in the PLUS Coalition and is now working on an ODRL PLUS Profile allowing the expression of PLUS image rights within the ODRL language. We will be working closely with ODRL and PLUS on that profile.

Getting Started is Easy

With just a few clicks you can start licensing your work with the PLUS standards, just signup here.  We’d love to hear your feedback on RightsPro, let us know what you think.

New Features in RightsPro

June 15th, 2011 by

We’ve been burning the midnight oil at RightsPro for a while now and are pleased to announce the roll out of some major new features on the site.

PLUS Licensing Standards

Along with ODRL and ‘legalese’ you can now also use the PLUS licensing standards to express the terms for a license.  RightsPro now fully supports not only PLUS Packs and PLUS Rights Ready licenses, but detailed custom PLUS licenses as well.  Read more details on PLUS in RightsPro here.

Payments via PayPal

In addition to Amazon Payments you can now receive payments via PayPal making it even easier to get through the licensing process.

Create a License From Existing Collections

We’ve made it even easier to start licensing your content from other sites like Flickr and Picasa.  Once you’ve authorized RightsPro access you’ll see your existing collections and can create a license for them with one click.

Direct Upload

The previous process for getting your content into our hosting service wasn’t exactly intuitive.  Now you can upload directly to a license in RightsPro.  You can even drag it right off of your desktop onto your browser, now that’s slick!

CMIS Plugin

Corporate users will be excited about the prospects of directly integrating RightsPro with their CMIS enabled Enterprise Content Management system so they can add rights management and clearance without moving the content.

And More…

We’ve even got a brand spankin’ new logo! Of course, we’ve added many other enhancements and fixes to simplify licensing and rights clearance for everyone and we’ll be updating this post with links to more detailed articles on how you can take advantage of each of the new features, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, you an get started by signing up here, and please don’t hesitate to give us feedback!

Content Licensing with RightsPro.com

February 23rd, 2011 by

Art buyers, photo editors, publishers, advertisers, museums, or any other content acquirer has the unfortunate task of performing rights clearance or at least due diligence on any project they manage.  RightsPro.com can help throughout the entire process of taking a project from idea to production, from license negotiation to payment, and relicensing later on.

You’ll never again have to be uncertain about what you have, where it is, or who controls the rights. RightsPro is designed to support the research and licensing process and to document the work after the fact. It enables users to identify the rights holders for each content item, and license all uses, whether it is a digital image, a valuable collectible, a quotation, or a film clip.

Let’s take a look at some of the stages of a typical licensing workflow and how RightsPro can help.

Project Inception

When a new project comes along, everyone on the team is going to need some basic information. Don’t let your staff waste valuable time looking for answers to common questions.

RightsPro keeps contact and correspondence information organized and accessible by everyone in your group.  You can record detailed publishing specifications and the licensing budget of the project and relate staff, client, and vendor contact records.

License Negotiation

License Terms

Publishers and designers lose thousands of dollars each year by not negotiating licenses with content vendors up front, not negotiating for future relicensing of content, not being able to use content under an existing license, and not negotiating bulk discounts.

RightsPro makes it easy to include these terms in your original contract negotiations, which later will automatically calculate the appropriate discounted licensing fee.

License negotiation is made easy by our process of detailed rate and discounts entry and automated letter generation to solidify your negotiations.

You can include your own special terms, or customize your solution to generate letters to your exact specifications.

RightsPro even lets you record costs such as a source’s reproduction fee so you’ll know exactly how much a scan or screener should cost before you ask for it.

Project Design

How many times has there been miscommunication among staff about which image was meant to appear in a certain spot? How many times has a designer picked the content for the cover only to find that it was the most expensive piece they could have chosen?

RightsPro has the flexiblity to allow several levels of edits throughout the project workflow. You can even estimate the licensing cost of a layout before going to production.

Visual editors will love being able to communicate the exact image they’re talking about with thumbnail representations.

Selects can be made within a project’s lightbox, allowing designers access to record the use of those items within the project.  Project managers can see the licensing cost of a draft page, section, or the entire project before they’ve committed.

Report Uses/Payment

Usage ReportsYou’ve finalized your project and you know what content you’re going to use and where you’re going to use it. Now it’s time to pay those vendors, and you need to make sure you don’t miss any uses and that you get every last discount you negotiated.

But who wants to deal with mutli-use, bulk, relicensing, and other discounts? You could get out your calculator for a few hours and hope you’ve had enough coffee to catch every possibility, or you could let RightsPro do the work for you.

The automatically generated purchase orders reference your original contract and again show your project details so there’s no question about the context of your usage reporting. The current fees and any past payments to this source, which may now be partially credited back due to discounts, are also shown.

A report of the content used accompanies the purchase order. Every detail of the content — including source IDs, credit lines, how and where it was used within the project, when it was received, and of course, the individual licensing fees and discounts — are displayed next to a thumbnail of the content so there’s no confusion about what you’re reporting to the source.

Production/Project Completion

You’re ready to start actual production of the project but you need to confirm what uses have been paid for, how much you’ve spent, and generate things like credit line reports.

In RightPro your first look at a project record always shows you a summary for each source and the licensing or payment status for each piece of content being used.

Email Alerts

You’ll also be emailed before licenses expire so you can take down content or relicense without violating your agreement.

Relicensing

Have you ever thought you were done with a project only to find out it also needs to be re-run in another language, or that no one mentioned the brochure or the website that needed some of the same content as the original project?

Without a detailed licensing system, tracking down every last piece of content for relicensing can be a daunting task. It only gets worse as time goes by. After a few years it may be impossible to find all the information you need.

RightsPro gives you effortless relicensing, from estimation to final payment and includes any relicensing discounts you’ve negotiated. You no longer have to cringe when asked, “how much will it cost…?”

More Help

If you get stuck in the licensing process or have questions our professional services team is at the ready.  Our staff has been in the licensing business for over 15 years and can help resolve your rights issues.

Get Started

To learn more give us call at 888-245-1722, email info at rightspro.com, visit http://rightspro.com, or jump right in and sign up.

Shepard Fairey’s Tale: A Missed Opportunity for Copyright Legislation

January 20th, 2011 by

As of Jan. 12, 2011, the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey have agreed on a settlement. The feud was over a 2006 photo of then Senator Obama (left), which AP said Fairey used without permission for his HOPE poster. (AP Photo/Mannie Garcia/Shepard Fairey)

After almost four years of deliberations and legal maneuvering, Shepard Fairey and AP agreed on a settlement. While I’m not generally pro-litigation, this was one of those rare occasions when the law would have benefited from a trial. What the settlement means is that, once again, the courts were not forced to rule on what is meant by “transformative use,” which was introduced—but left largely undefined—in 2003. Instead, the courts left it in the hands of the litigants to scratch out a backroom deal. They missed an opportunity to expand the doctrine of fair use, which protects our constitutional notion of a commonwealth of ideas and the progress of science and the arts, and we, as a society, poorer for it.

Unfortunately, Fairey made a critical misstep and misrepresented his source material, and as a result, we have a settlement rather than a decision. Those of us who think that conglomerates are essentially having their way with copyright law—specifically in the form of a bogglingly long copyright term that is crippling our artistic, intellectual and cultural progress—will have to wait. And probably wait and wait and wait. And while we wait, our creative commons will continue to be owned and controlled by companies like Disney, Warner Bros. and AP.

It’s not that I don’t see where the original AP photograph “inspired” Fairey’s work; I do.  But do I think that Fairey’s work is merely derivative, or a slavish copy?  I do not. I took the time to go see the actual work in the National Portrait Gallery. It is a complex and rich canvas with incredible artistic detail. Fairey’s work clearly supersedes what is, when boiled down, a routine journalistic photograph. Ask yourself how many photographs, particularly of public figures, you have seen like this one? Is this photograph, more or less, a “scene a faire” at this point? I would argue that it is.

Allowing this case to be settled privately prevents the judiciary from continuing the discourse between lawmaker and the judges who interpret those laws. (See “Separate but equal,” “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”) And it’s not just for important civil liberties. I’m not suggesting that copyright law is as important as constitutional law, the Founding Fathers insisted that it was, which is why they inserted it directly into the Constitution itself. Article 1 (Article one!), Section 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Without this commonwealth of ideas—both the incentive to create and the public benefit of building on those ideas—essentially all progress comes to a complete standstill.

But over the last, oh, 83 years or so, copyright law has gotten sick. I say 83 years because the problem originated that long ago in the form of a little mouse wearing black lederhosen. I’m talking about Steamboat Willie, of course. (You may know him better as the predecessor of modern day Mickey Mouse.) Since the invention of Steamboat Willie, conglomerates have more or less had their way with lawmakers over the protection granted to artistic “authors.”  Protection at the time of the Founding Fathers: 14 years (with another 14 years if you filed to renew).  Nowadays: life of the author plus 70 years. There’s a reason the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is also called the “Steamboat Willie Act.”

Which brings us back to Shepard Fairey. In a critical case decided in 2003 by the seriously influential 9th Circuit, the court finally fought back against corporate control of all things copyright, by introducing a concept called “transformative use.” It wasn’t really a new concept, per se, but a clarification of a copyright law term: derivative. It was the court doing its job and balancing out the lawmakers.  Essentially, transformative use means that the second work supersedes the original work, as opposed to being merely “derivative.” It adds something—something beneficial to the public.

Alas, while this case looked like a major step forward for copyright law and for creative authors, we seem to be back at square one. We finally had the attention of the nation and the opportunity passed with no impact on this critical but poorly defined area of the law.

Yes, You’re Able To, But Should You?

January 12th, 2011 by

(First video in an ongoing humorous series about copyright law.)

As hard as it is to believe, we have actually heard these kinds of false statements about copyright, as repeated here by the male voice. Not just in private conversations, but in public forums when copyright issues are raised. And not just on the street corner or local pub, but in professional association meetings. Part of it is what we like to call hopeful ignorance, as in, “If I hope I don’t have to pay anyone to use their work then I can probably find a reason that supports that hope.” We’re not sure where some of these ideas started; if anyone has a clue, we’d love to know where you think these ideas came about.

Now, these kinds of statements are not just for the uninitiated (i.e. rookie mistakes). We’ve heard some veterans utter these claims, mostly to put off copyright holders who’ve caught them red handed. The most recent being the now infamous “Cooks Source” editor.

We thought it would be helpful to deal with this shockingly common situation in a humorous way, in the hopes that people would pass it along, thereby reaching a wider audience of viewers and helping to dispel the bad notions. Oh and don’t worry, we’ve got some from both sides of this equation. We’ve heard copyright holders make some outrageous statements too.

All in all, most people try to abide by the law, or at least what they think is the law…

Fashion and Copyright

September 9th, 2010 by

Anyone who denies that the work of great fashion designers, like the late Alexander McQueen, isn’t art needs to get their eyes checked. (Above is a sampling of McQueen’s Spring 2010 collection.) Shouldn’t designers have copyright protection for their creative endeavors, just like authors and musicians do? (Photo: Marcio Madeira/Style.com)

Whether you’re a fashion sensation or fashion senseless, it’s likely that you’re aware of the next big trend this season—copyright protection. A least it will be if a recently proposed bill giving fashion designers copyright of their creative works is passed.

On August 5, 2010, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and ten co-sponsors revealed the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA), which will extend copyright protection to the fashion industry. With backing from both the CFDA and AAFA, whose combined members make up a majority of the creative designers, manufacturers and suppliers in the industry, it’s an impressive proposal. Word on the street is that the bill is expected to pass this fall with backing from both sides of the aisle.

I see you scratching your head. Weren’t aware that American fashion designers didn’t already have such rights? Don’t sweat it. I didn’t either until I started working on the rights side of publishing. After I got over my initial shock that visual geniuses like Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta don’t have legal protection for their unique creations, I began to realize that I had known this all along.

How many times have I nodded in approval at television makeovers that replicate runway outfits for a fraction of the price? How often do I purchase wares from Forever 21 and Target (known as ‘fast fashion’ or ‘throwaway fashion’), knowing full well that I’m getting ten times the amount of clothing that I would at an upscale boutique toting name brands? It really doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the fashion industry has very little copyright protection. Consider how quickly trends come and go. Better yet, consider trends themselves. Trends in the fashion industry occur because it is legal for designers to copy each other. To many in fashion, this is how it should be. This ability to copy parts and sample pieces—to put your own twist on an existing design—is the essence of fashion’s open creative culture. It pushes the top designers to constantly be innovative and come up with new ideas and, thus, keeps the fashion industry booming.

Kal Raustiala of the UCLA Law School and Chris Sprigman of the University of Virginia Law School explain this phenomenon: “The interesting effect of copying is to generate more demand for new designs since the old designs—the ones that have been copied—are no longer special. The overall result is greater sales of apparel. We call this surprising effect the ‘piracy paradox.’”

Think about it. Once a trend trickles down and is copied over and over, to the point where it’s no longer fashionable, most people are ready to move on and buy up whatever the next trend is. Out with the old. In with the new. It’s also often the case that the copier’s target audience is a completely different demographic from the original fashion designer’s. For the most part, these different levels do not directly affect each other. Chelsea Clinton wasn’t going to buy a knockoff Vera Wang dress if a) she can afford the real thing and b) she’d rather wear actual silk organza and not polyester. The people who buy designer labels expect a much higher standard of quality, including materials and make, and well, the label itself.

Speaking of which, ever wonder why you sometimes see labels all over a piece of clothing or accessory? It’s partly because that’s one thing someone can’t copy: the logo. The fashion industry does have one thing going for it, and that’s trademark protection. So the next time you see a Louis Vuitton handbag with that obnoxious monogram design splashed across it, think of it as a clever way they legally protect their product from copying.

But why isn’t the rest of fashion protected from copycats? Johanna Blakely, Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center (a media-focused think tank at the University of Southern California), explains: Courts decided long ago that apparel is too utilitarian to qualify for copyright protection. They didn’t want a handful of designers owning the “seminal building blocks of clothing” because then everyone else would have to license this style of skirt or that kind of sleeve from whoever owned the rights to it. This slippery slope situation I understand. And clothing, I agree, is mostly functional. But what about fashion as art?

To me, watching a fashion show is on par with walking around an art gallery. Shouldn’t designers be entitled to some sort of protection for their creativity, just as authors, artists and musicians are? A large faction thinks so, hence the proposed IDPPPA. Ezra Klein, from Newsweek, reiterates that the idea behind copyright is simple: “if people can’t profit from innovation, they won’t innovate. So to encourage the development of stuff we want, we give the innovators something very valuable—exclusive access to the profit from their innovations.”

But it doesn’t seem like a lack of copyright protection is really preventing fashion designers from innovating. In fact, as previously mentioned, it causes them to be even more innovative. What will happen once they’re protected? Will designers get lazy? Will we see a decline in the currently rapid rate new designs are cranked out and turned over? Will up-and-coming designers be too hesitant to put their works out there, for fear of being sued if their designs are too similar to copyrighted ones? Hmmm. Copyright is supposed to protect innovation, not profits.

I suppose these questions and more will be answered in time. For now, I’ll continue doing my part to support fashion designers and the trends they create in the best way I know how—by shopping at Forever 21.

A Copyright Dinner with Photog Friends

August 9th, 2010 by

The Professional Photographers Society of Greater Washington was recently kind enough to have us at one of their dinner meetings.

We discussed sharing sites, fair use, transformative uses, sending takedown notices, and licensing work through http://rightspro.com.

Here are some of the highlights:

RightsPro Supports stockphotorights.com

August 5th, 2010 by

Copyright clearance and licensing of stock imagery can be a tricky area to navigate but stockphotorights.com (set up by Getty Images) is a new site to help image buyers understand some of the issues involved.

We’re now official supporters of stockphotorights.com.  You can find us in the guides section and can expect blog and forum posts from us there in the future.

They’ve also put together a short video summarizing stock photo rights visually. Check it out:

Copyright Infringement: Ignorance Was Bliss, Now I Feel So Dirty

April 12th, 2010 by

Poor beautiful girl

I used to play the upright bass quite a bit.  Unfortunately my beautiful axe has been more of decoration than an instrument of late.  It’s been broken for several years now.

I played straight ahead jazz, usually at restaurants that wanted a trio to quintet sized group for a handful of hours on the weekend, the occasional festival, weddings, that sort of thing.

At the majority of these type of gigs if the performers are reading the music they’re doing so out of what’s called the Real Book, a spiral bound collection of poor quality Xerox copies of transcriptions of common jazz standards.

I remember my first encounter with this ‘publication’.  Some character pulled up outside of a summer jazz workshop at a college in a beat up old Caprice and popped the trunk to reveal the various volumes and keys it was available in.  I bought my first Real Book from that dude (a well deserved moniker), and several more from music stores that kept them behind the counter and would look both ways before pulling them out for sale.

So cool, so illegal

This thing might as well be hot. As you can guess, the ‘real’ Real Books have not obtained the any licensing rights or permissions from the original composers or their estates and as such are infringements of copyright and illegal.

The music was transcribed by hand in the 1970s from popular recordings, often performed by the composers themselves, so for musicians it’s the real deal.

The legal ones suck. There are completely legal, licensed versions of Real Books, and I can tell you from experience that they are not fun to work with.  First of all, they’re wrong.  Somewhere in the process of being approved and verified by the estates and publishers they’ve strayed from the way they were usually performed and recorded so they just don’t sound right.  Secondly, the collection of songs doesn’t match those in the illegal book.  I’m sure legal publishers would never be able to afford to obtain the rights to all of them and still turn a profit.  Lastly, even if you do find the same song in both the legal and underground books, again, they’re not the same, and you can’t have musicians reading both.

Let’s suppose that all the musicians in the group have unanimously decided to play only from legal Real books, or maybe they just don’t need any sheet music.  All rights cleared, let’s count it off… right?

Oh wait, performance rights. Even though rights may be cleared on the written sheet music there are also public performance rights involved.  Much of the onus of performance rights lies with the venue, but musicians are partially responsible too.  Worship services are an exception where permission is not required.

ASCAP represents a large number of composers, authors and publishers, and businesses can obtain a license for performances.  Then all the manager of the venue has to do is get every band to lookup every song in ASCAP’s repertory to ensure it’s covered and playable.  Yeah, right.  In all the gigs I played I don’t think there was a single place that mentioned anything about having an ASCAP license and only one musician said they were a member, and he was primarily in it for the composer side of things.

So are all these jazz musicians rolling their doobies in printed excerpts of copyright law and laughing in the face of the hard working composers behind the music?  Truth be told I didn’t meet very many ‘cats’ that were into illicit drugs, and who has rolling papers that fit in their printer anyway?  So, no.  My guess is that most of these artists would be happy to throw a few bucks from each gig to the creative souls who helped make the night possible, but the reality is that connecting these two parties, defining and negotiating the license, and transacting that small of a payment is normally an unreasonable hurdle.

That’s what we’re trying to accomplish with RightsPro, making it easier for rights holders and licensees to get through the licensing process so everyone is cool.

I dropped my bass off at the luthier this week and with any luck I’ll be able to practice enough in time to accept an upcoming gig next month.  Unfortunately, it’s very likely we’ll be infringing on copyright yet again, but I plan to do everything in my power to avoid it.  I don’t see anywhere on ASCAP or BMI’s site about musicians obtaining licenses directly but I’ll continue to investigate.  I’ll be spreading awareness by asking any venues if they have obtained a BMI and/or ASCAP license.  I’ll be discouraging fellow musicians from purchasing illegal Real Books.  And lastly, we’ll continue our hard work on RightsPro so I can one day easily give the greats their slice of the pie.