One of our great commenters just linked us to this press release:
PHOENIX, April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Tresóna Multimedia, LLC, a music licensing firm representing music publishers for custom arrangement licensing, synchronization licensing and dramatic rights licensing, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, Federal District of Arizona (No. CV 16-975-PHX-PGR) against Burbank High School Vocal Music Association (BHSVMA), the promotional company and operator of the famous Burbank Show Choirs, and the host of the Burbank Blast Show Choir Festival for allegedly infringing 98 music compositions without license. Also named in the suit is Burbank’s show choir director Brett Carroll, who occasionally performs with his groups.
According to the complaint, this corporation’s tax returns show that in the past year they spent $98,000 on costumes, $40,000 for choreographers, $198,000 on ‘other outside services,’ $40,000 on arrangers, and $89,000 on travel expenses but have not obtained any custom arrangement licenses for the music they perform at shows all over the country. The total cost of the 40 custom arrangement licenses that Burbank uses each year would be less than 2% of their $500,000 annual budget.
“The majority of show choirs recognize the rights holders and obtain the proper licenses. It is unfortunate that some programs do not,” said Larry Mills, EVP of Tresóna. “Tresóna tried very hard to work with the Burbank High School Vocal Music Association over the last two years, encouraging them to obtain the legally required licenses and to simply recognize the rights of the songwriters. It is disappointing that this is happening in the very cradle of creativity for the entertainment industry.”
Michael Eames, President of PEN Music Group and the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), said, “Unfortunately, my client’s songs have been used without their permission and I have spent many hours on this issue, pleading with Burbank’s show choirs for the last two years to do the right thing and obtain proper licensing. PEN issues licenses to other show choirs operating in Burbank’s district and all over the country, so it is upsetting that Burbank has not obtained the required licenses. As an independent publisher, my writers are always appreciative when their music is licensed and they are able to make a living from their hard work.”
According to the Copyright Act, anyone who creates a derivative work, which includes a custom arrangement, must obtain permission in advance from the rights holder. The rates for these are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Why in hell is the BUSD getting involved in public/private shell corporations like this? Can you imagine Reg Hall needing to form an outside company to help produce (or hide behind) his many Burbank High shows? Or hire private arrangers?
That’s the problem here — and now Burbank taxpayers are being dragged into the hassle.
Isn’t high school for high school kids?
The gross institutionalism going on here is appalling. This is fucking high school were talking about, not Disney or General Motors. And they’re using the “Burbank” name as well as directly tying it to BHS.
These guys like to play artistic businessman, and look what happens. They can’t even do it right or proper. Who gave them their legal advice here to avoid getting the song rights? The BUSD’s lawyers? Sounds like it.
Any lawyers? The plaintiff says that one of the accused on the group’s board of directors actually works in intellectual property.
This BHS show last month was just a sitting duck for a legal action like this. Don’t they know that people are always watching for these infringement cases, especially in show biz Southern California? It can also be monitored in other ways by these rightsholders organizations
Was this copyright-free thing an inducement to get the other schools to show up? We’ll handle the rights problems for you guys? And they apparently didn’t.
Here’s one of the songs they are alleged to have stolen:
Tresóna could have easily added the BUSD onto their list of defendants, because the district is clearly in bed with this group, and they also use its facilities in their violations as part of a promotional effort on behalf of the school. But it also knows that this school board would spend $20 million in legal fees just to avoid spending $40,000 in rights monies.
Something we’re sure that most of the board members — and especially Applebaum — are mighty proud of.