Friday, June 8, 2012
Music License confusion - Non-PRO vs PRO tracks
This particular customer is in Italy, so her local collection society is SIAE, but the same applies in other countries. For example, if you're in the UK, the performing rights society is PRS and if you're in Germany, they are GEMA. But pretty much, the same principles apply.
Many of you will have noticed that whilst you search or browse for music on our site, you always have the option to "Display PRO and Non-PRO Tracks", or "Display Non-PRO Tracks only". But what really is the difference, and when / how / why does it matter?
PRO in this case does not stand for "Professional" as you may first think. It stands for Performing Rights Organization. PRO tracks are composed by composers who are members of Performing Rights Organizations. For those composers, neither we, nor any other stock music site, can legally sell the Performing Rights to their tracks. Non-PRO tracks are composed by composers who are not members of a Performing Rights Organization, and as such, we at Shockwave-Sound.com or other stock music sites can in fact sell you the Performing Rights to their music.
In a music track there are three "rights", three different parts of the copyright:
- Sync rights = The rights to use the music and put it into a media project, such as a film or a video game.
- Mechanical rights = The rights to produce CD's, DVD's or other physical objects that contain the music.
- Performing rights = The rights to broadcast the music on TV or radio, or to play it in a public place (such as a restaurant, cinema, etc.)
Or maybe you are going to make a film about your local city and make 1,000 DVD's of that film. And you want to use our music in your film. Then you need the Sync- rights (to put our music in your film) and you need the Mechanical rights (to manufacture DVD's that contain the film that contains our music). But you don't need the Performing rights, because you have no plans to broadcast this music on TV or Radio, or to play the film in a public place such as a restaurant etc.
|Broadcasters such as NBC, BBC etc|
already have performing licenses, so
you don't need one.
So... you see, whether or not you need Non-PRO Tracks, or just any tracks from our site, depends on how you are going to use the music. If you are going to play the music in public, or on your website, then you need the Performing rights. But if you are not going to play the music in public, or on a website, then you don't need the Performing rights. And if you don't need the performing rights, then you can use any tracks from our site.
If you need the Performing Rights to a track, and that track is "Non-PRO", then simply buy the track from our site. With the Non-PRO tracks you are buying all three rights from us.
If you need the Performing Rights to a track and that track is "PRO", then you have to buy that right from the performing rights society in your country. From our site you can buy only the two other rights; the Sync rights and the Mechanical rights.
As it turns out, the vast majority of our customers do not need the performing rights. They only need the Sync- and or Mechanical rights. And if that's the case, it doesn't matter if you choose "PRO" or "Non-PRO" tracks. Many royalty-free music websites don't even tell you which tracks are PRO and which are Non-PRO, because they figure it is so unlikely that you actually need the Performing Rights, that they don't want to confuse you with PRO vs Non-PRO music.
On our website you can choose to browse only Non-PRO tracks if you like. As you Search or Browse for music tracks on our website, take a note of the options: "Display PRO and Non-PRO Tracks" / "Display Non-PRO Tracks only" options on top of the list of tracks.
I hope this has been helpful.
So... To Play music on a website I need Performance Rights ? So the WWW use is treated as Public Performance like in TV or Radio ?
Hello Piotr, yes, in some countries you do need a performing license to play music on a website. For example, in the U.K., the PRS sells an "online license" which costs somewhere in the region of £50 per year and you need this license if you have a website that is aimed at a UK audience. The exact interpretation of this is not entirely clear to me, but you can get information about that from the P.R.O. in your country.
Piotr, I don't know. Maybe different PRO's interpret those kinds of minute details slightly different from each other. For these types of detailed questions, you need to contact the PRO in your country. At the bottom of this page: http://www.shockwave-sound.com/cue-sheets.html you can find links to the PRO's in many different countries.
I was wondering... if I upload a video to Youtube with PRO music and put this video on my page I don't need performing rights for it.. right ? Since Youtube already got that covered... am I right ?
Hi Piotr, here we are coming into the "fine details" of the terms of each performing rights organization. If the music is technically hosted on YouTube and technically streaming from YouTube, but it's embedded on your website and therefore it's playing on your website, to your audience. Frankly, I'm not sure about this. Maybe even each P.R.O. interprets this slightly different from each other. Again, the only thing I can say is that you have to contact the P.R.O. in your country, and ask them about such fine details about their terms.
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