Subject: Re: open source definition
From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <>
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 12:58:57 -0400

> In the US, there is a compulsory license for sound recordings....
> if someone else wants to record the song and release their recording
> of it (also known as `covering' your song), you are required to sell
> them a license to do so.  I'm not sure what terms you're required to
> license it under, but it is indeed compulsory.

Sound recordings are covered by the same copyrights as paper works,
and also by additional rights known as performance and replay rights.

What Kragen is referring to, I believe, are the licensing terms used
by BMI and ASCAP.  These organizations came into existence as
enforcement vehicles in response to rampant copyright infringement.
The deal is that if you register with them and assign your copyright
to them, they will undertake enforcement (the means used by the two
companies differ).  One of them uses random radio sampling, for

When you hear about a bar being sued for having a band play a top-10
song without licensing, it's BMI or ASCAP who is usually the

Part of the deal, however, is that the second and subsequent
recordings carry very low royalties.  This means that if the first
recording is a bust and the second goes platinum the songwriter is
pretty well screwed.

The catch is that unless you are prepared to do your own enforcing, a
music copyright for a published work doesn't mean much in practice.

On the other hand, the fact that sampling-based enforcement has been
made to work is a good counterargument to the proposition that
copyright on intangible goods is unenforceable.