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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 10639
Experience:  30 years of corporate, litigation and international law
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Question: I own a dance studio and pay BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC

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Question: I own a dance studio and pay BMI , ASCAP, and SESAC fees for my “public performing licenses.” Do I need an additional license (from the music labels) to make changes to my music in order for the songs to fit my dances? For example, I would like to change the tempo, add drops, cut out bad words, and mix songs together for a performance. I do this myself with music that I have purchased. I do not pay others for this service and I do not get paid for it myself. I will not be selling the music, publishing it, distributing it or profiting in any way. I will only be using the songs for live performances by my own group of dancers. Do I need to obtain “Masters Use Rights” in order to use the music this way? Do I need to obtain some other permission? Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is Richard and I will try to help you. Please remember I just report or interpret the law, so the outcome may not be what you hoped for.

Your BMI, etc licenses give you the right to play the music in public to an audience. However, since you want to alter the music, you would need to get the approval of the publisher of the works. BMI, etc do not have authority to give you permission to alter the songs in the manner you intend.

If you cannot get a response from the publisher of the works and so will not have the required permission, as a practical matter it is doubtful that anyone will notice the changes you made and pursue a copyright infringement case.

If I have answered all your questions, please positively rate my answer as that is how I receive credit. If you have more questions, please let me know. If the answer was especially helpful you can provide a bonus.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I already have the permission from the publishing company- I talked to Universal Publishing Group and they said that as long as I pay my BMI and ASCAP fees we are covered. It's the music LABELS that I am unsure of. I am talking about mixing two songs together (like a dj in a nightclub) so yes, someone is going to notice.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The discrepancy comes into the situation because I am not publishing, distributing, or making money off the mix. I am performing to it and that's it. I have been told by some sources that I need Masters Use Rights but when I look up the definition for what that is, its for using a song in a movie, commercial, video game etc. Its for live performance only- a public performance.
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 1 year ago.

If the Universal Publishing Group says that you can do it under their license, then I would not go any further in terms of seeking permission. You would not need a master use license because you are not doing that type of work. IF anyone complains just refer them to Universal Publishing Group. I do suggest you send the person you spoke to a confirming email so you have a record.

If I have answered all your questions, please positively rate my answer as that is how I receive credit. If you have more questions, please let me know. If the answer was especially helpful you can provide a bonus.