Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Wedding and Funeral Fees


gazman

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 95
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Let's address the issue of "performance rights" in this context. What are "performance rights" in regard to a recording? Why do they exist?

 

To the best of my knowledge (IANAL) they are to do not with the recording of a performance itself, but with the use of that recording. The purpose of the rights is to ensure that if the recording is used in such a way that the performer is deprived of a further income on account of not actually repeating the performance, then they are compensated for that. Thus, if the BBC records a performance, there will be an additional fee for a second broadcast of that performance - which is, in effect, in place of the performer being paid to come back to repeat it (I speak from experience of my former wife's contracts when in the BBC Singers).

 

In the case of a wedding, there is no repeat performance that could take place in the absence of the recording. The recording changes nothing; the performers are deprived of nothing. In any case, the music is not the essence of a wedding video - it is part of the backdrop to the ceremony itself. A video of a wedding is not a video of a musical performance - it is a video of a ceremony, and the music is no more than part of the scene in the same way as the church building is.

 

This isn't meant to be dismissive of what's involved in the music, of course, but at the moment I can't really see why an additional fee is called for if the ceremony is videoed.

 

Paul

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the things that surprises me is the recent rate of inflation of organists' wedding fees. About 8-10 years ago, the going rate was about £50 for an organist for a wedding (£35 wasn't unknown but was rather stingy). About 2-3 years ago, the rate seemed to be about £60-£70. So why are we now seeing standard fees of £100-150? Why this sudden inflation in the past 2-3 years?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's address the issue of "performance rights" in this context. What are "performance rights" in regard to a recording? Why do they exist?

 

To the best of my knowledge (IANAL) they are to do not with the recording of a performance itself, but with the use of that recording. The purpose of the rights is to ensure that if the recording is used in such a way that the performer is deprived of a further income on account of not actually repeating the performance, then they are compensated for that. Thus, if the BBC records a performance, there will be an additional fee for a second broadcast of that performance - which is, in effect, in place of the performer being paid to come back to repeat it (I speak from experience of my former wife's contracts when in the BBC Singers).

 

In the case of a wedding, there is no repeat performance that could take place in the absence of the recording. The recording changes nothing; the performers are deprived of nothing. In any case, the music is not the essence of a wedding video - it is part of the backdrop to the ceremony itself. A video of a wedding is not a video of a musical performance - it is a video of a ceremony, and the music is no more than part of the scene in the same way as the church building is.

 

This isn't meant to be dismissive of what's involved in the music, of course, but at the moment I can't really see why an additional fee is called for if the ceremony is videoed.

 

Paul

I think you are confusing repeat fees with secondary use fees, Paul. The musician is hired for one use, to perform at a service. If that performance is recorded or broadcast (audio or video) that constitutes secondary use; the performer is performing live and making a recording or broadcast. If the BBC or another broadcaster or recording company "take" a public concert they will almost always have to pay a fee to the performers.

 

You only have to think of high profile royal weddings and funerals from the last thirty years to remember the fairly large sums that were mentioned in connection with the choral singers; and I can't imagine a repeat of those exact events. That doesn't stop the singers getting either broadcast, repeat or recording fees, although I can imagine circumstances where performers might be "bought out" of certain additional uses with one-off extra fees.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I am indeed ignoring performance rights because I do not think they are relevant in the case of weddings and funerals.

The ISM advises that performers’ rights can now be summarised in four categories:

 

1. the right to give consent to the recording, live broadcast, or transmission of a performance, or the use of a recording (these are known as 'non-property rights')

2. the right to authorise reproduction, distribution and rental of a recorded performance (these are known as 'property rights')

3. the right to 'equitable remuneration' for the playing in public or broadcast of commercially produced sound recordings

4. moral rights

 

You have every right to think that performance rights are not relevant in the case of weddings and funerals, but the rights can exist if these acts of public worship fell into one of the categories above.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The ISM advises that performers’ rights can now be summarised in four categories:

 

1. the right to give consent to the recording, live broadcast, or transmission of a performance, or the use of a recording (these are known as 'non-property rights')

2. the right to authorise reproduction, distribution and rental of a recorded performance (these are known as 'property rights')

3. the right to 'equitable remuneration' for the playing in public or broadcast of commercially produced sound recordings

4. moral rights

 

You have every right to think that performance rights are not relevant in the case of weddings and funerals, but the rights can exist if these acts of public worship fell into one of the categories above.

Sorry, I am quietly screaming now. I can't help thinking that if the ISM represented tube drivers, they would expect them to be paid according to the number of passengers on the train. Surely one "equitable" all-in fee for the job is the more sensible approach rather than this quaint belief that you somehow "own" a performance and have to be rewarded in dribs and drabs whenever it is used, with all the costly overheads and bureaucracy that entails?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, I am quietly screaming now. I can't help thinking that if the ISM represented tube drivers, they would expect them to be paid according to the number of passengers on the train. Surely one "equitable" all-in fee for the job is the more sensible approach rather than this quaint belief that you somehow "own" a performance and have to be rewarded in dribs and drabs whenever it is used, with all the costly overheads and bureaucracy that entails?

I think the ISM is just stating what it believes to be the situation under UK and EU legislation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
One of the things that surprises me is the recent rate of inflation of organists' wedding fees. About 8-10 years ago, the going rate was about £50 for an organist for a wedding (£35 wasn't unknown but was rather stingy). About 2-3 years ago, the rate seemed to be about £60-£70. So why are we now seeing standard fees of £100-150? Why this sudden inflation in the past 2-3 years?

 

When I had my first chuch post, back in 1967, fees were 2 guineas for funerals and 3 guineas for weddings. Put it in context by noting that when I went to college a couple of years later, my rent for my student bedsit was three pounds a week. Since rent or a student bedsit is now well over 100 a week, it seems to me that there's been no real inflation in our charges other than the general inflation which is all around us, and is far greater than the government would have us believe.....

 

Anyway, if the couple want an organist, let them pay. They can learn Widor's Toccata for themselves if they preger not to cough up! A wedding on a Saturday is one of my weekend days pretty much taken up, so it has to be worth my while, in my view. After all, these people are often nothing to do with the church particularly, they're just acting out a fantasy in most cases.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't help thinking that if the ISM represented tube drivers, they would expect them to be paid according to the number of passengers on the train.
The organisation would expect nothing of the sort.
Surely one "equitable" all-in fee for the job is the more sensible approach rather than this quaint belief that you somehow "own" a performance and have to be rewarded in dribs and drabs whenever it is used, with all the costly overheads and bureaucracy that entails?
The ISM advises prospective couples: "If you plan to make a video or audio recording of your wedding, you must consult your musicians in advance. It is illegal to make a recording of a performance for possible exploitation, and even giving copies of your recording to friends and relatives may infringe the performers’ rights. You must also have the consent of your church.

Seeking the consent of performers is simple. The ISM contract for music at special services includes a clause which states whether or not a recording is to be made. If a recording is made, the musicians' fees are increased by 50% for a sound recording and by 100% for a video recording."

Link to post
Share on other sites
The ISM advises prospective couples: "If you plan to make a video or audio recording of your wedding, you must consult your musicians in advance. It is illegal to make a recording of a performance for possible exploitation, and even giving copies of your recording to friends and relatives may infringe the performers’ rights. You must also have the consent of your church.

Seeking the consent of performers is simple. The ISM contract for music at special services includes a clause which states whether or not a recording is to be made. If a recording is made, the musicians' fees are increased by 50% for a sound recording and by 100% for a video recording."

I have tried to compose a reply, but words fail me. It's probably just as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It is illegal to make a recording of a performance for possible exploitation, and even giving copies of your recording to friends and relatives may infringe the performers’ rights

 

Interesting, especially as the version normally told to prospective couples stops after the first 10 words. At face value, the above would suggest that it is in fact perfectly legal for me, as a wedding guest, to record the proceedings for my future enjoyment. (or at least, that the veto is with the church rather than the performer).

 

Depending on the legal definition of exploitation in this context, (but which I assume to mean commercial exploitation of the recording ie, this is the bit of the law that says I can't video a concert and sell the recording), this quote suggests that it isn't illegal to make such a video on behalf of the bride and groom and give them the recording subsequently. (And it's not exactly a ringing declaration that the bride and groom can't legally then copy the recording for all their friends.)

 

Irrespective of the above, the fact that you have a right to X does not oblige you to exercise that right in any particular way. If the evidence is that structuring your fees in this way causes adverse reaction from the paying customers, why not simply quote a flat fee. If you want to be analytical about it, set the fee at the amount that means you make the same amount over the year (eg if your current fees are £80/£160 and half your weddings have videos, set the new fee at £120).

 

What's missing from this is that, in addition to the performance rights law, this situation is also covered by contract law. If I video your concert and go on to sell the recording, your legal comeback is via the performance rights legislation. If I'm paying you to play for my wedding, we have a contract and we can make that contract with any mutually acceptable terms. Hence, even if there was no copyright legislation, you as a performer could still quote a different rate for recorded weddings and could sue me for breach of contract if I paid the lower rate and had it videoed. It's just the same as your right to quote a higher rater for weddings on a Saturday, or days when you'd rather be watching the footie, or when there's an "R" in the month, or anything else you wish. (Actually, in the concert situation, if I've bought a ticket I have a contract with the venue, one of the terms of which - printed on the ticket, if the venue has any sense - will certainly forbid me from making a recording, but an example involving videoing an open air concert from beyond the perimeter would suffice).

 

I don't therefore understand why the ISM would quote copyright law in a situation in which a contract is to be formed, when the premise of a contract is that the parties are (within certain, very very broad, limits) free to agree whatever terms they like. It seems more like a trade union bargaining position than anything else.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't therefore understand why the ISM would quote copyright law in a situation in which a contract is to be formed, when the premise of a contract is that the parties are (within certain, very very broad, limits) free to agree whatever terms they like. It seems more like a trade union bargaining position than anything else.

IANAL but I think there are some rights, maybe the ones called moral rights, which cannot be signed away or waived in a contract under EU law.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It is illegal to make a recording of a performance for possible exploitation

IANAL either, but I wonder whether the important word here is "possible", which I would take to mean the potential for exploiting the recording as opposed to a current intent actually to do so? I'm probably talking through my backside though.

Link to post
Share on other sites
IANAL either, but I wonder whether the important word here is "possible", which I would take to mean the potential for exploiting the recording as opposed to a current intent actually to do so? I'm probably talking through my backside though.

I think that would make sense, Vox (I mean your first suggestion, not the second :) ). The person at the wedding holding the camera might have no intention of exploiting the recording but once their teenage child gets hold of it and puts it on YouTube, or sends it to some dodgy TV company, who knows how it will be exploited?

Link to post
Share on other sites

IANAL either - maybe should have added that above.

 

However, if Vox's interpretation were correct, then the words "for possible exploitation" would be redundant, since any recording could be used as innate describes. If they were redundant, they could have been removed. If they were removed the message would be stronger. It is in interests of those for whom the ISM wrote the sentence that the message be rendered as strongly as possible. So one could infer that the words are not redundant and hence that Vox's interpretation is not correct.

 

IANAL but I think there are some rights, maybe the ones called moral rights, which cannot be signed away or waived in a contract under EU law.

This is mostly correct. There are 'moral' rights and they can't be reassigned (unlike copyright, which is regarded as a kind of property and can be bought and sold). However, they only cover things such as the right to be identified as the author of a work and they have no economic benefit. I assume the obvious extension to performance rights applies - wish Barry Williams was still on the forum.

 

All that's irrelevant however, because even though you can't assign your moral rights (logically enough - you can't ever make it so that somebody else actually gave the performance) you can contractually undertake not to enforce them, and within that contract you can be paid for undertaking not to enforce them. (Which is lucky, otherwise the job market for ghost writers would dry up).

 

Finally, and ironically in this context, another one of the moral rights is the right to the integrity of a work, ie (for a composer) to have it performed exactly as composed. This is why it is illegal for you to reharmonise the last verse of a hymn tune that is in copyright. Fortunately no organist would be so cavalier with the law as to do this. I hope there's an exemption for wrong notes :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't therefore understand why the ISM would quote copyright law in a situation in which a contract is to be formed, when the premise of a contract is that the parties are (within certain, very very broad, limits) free to agree whatever terms they like. It seems more like a trade union bargaining position than anything else.

Surely the ISM is merely - and quite rightly - pointing out performers' rights which fall under current copyright law. If two parties wish to form a contract under different terms, then that, also, is their right; the ISM is not dictating otherwise.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...