Soundcloud and LOML/PRS

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
Post Reply
soundy
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:39 pm

Soundcloud and LOML/PRS

Post by soundy » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:00 pm

Hi, I have a query about Soundcloud and licences.

Basically I have an agency that employs musicians performing cover versions at weddings/private events. Clients book at my website and need to listen to mp3's but my hosting space is not suitable for mp3 streaming, therefore I need to stream them at Soundcloud.

All of the tracks I need to stream are cover versions of famous songs.

I bought a years unlimited Soundcloud subscription after PRS told me just to buy a LOML licence band A for £130+VAT. They said I didn't need a PPL one as all versions are cover versions and not the originals. (but I don't know whether I might need any other licence apart from LOML too).

Basically Soundcloud are already taking down a couple of tracks I've uploaded. However as soon as I go to their copyright centre to tell them it's ok I have a LOML licence, the form looks terrifying!

It mentions legal action etc and anything I add to the form can be used against me etc etc. I don't even want to fill it in and tell them I've got a licence because I don't even know if I need a second licence and if I'm covered for this type of thing!

PRS don't even know! I've rang them a number of times now and they keep mentioning a licence between themselves and SoundCloud but I've read all about that, that's about something else entirely.

I just need to find out a) is my LOML licence band A enough to stream covers on Soundcloud. The woman at PRS didn't mention it was UK only, I think Soundcloud may reject it because people can listen globally at Soundcloud and my licence is limited to UK only?

Does anyone know how to get round this and what I need to do?

Thanks

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:00 am

Hi Soundy,
Let's split this into two chunks.
Using SoundCloud to stream samples
The LOML (Limited Online Music Licence) is exactly the right one for your needs. You don't need to worry about the fact that the SoundCloud servers are based outside the UK, so long as your clients who will access the downloads are based in the UK. Given the type of service you provide, I assume that this will always be the case. The part of the licence which permits this is clause 2.1 (a):
(a) to reproduce Repertoire Works and PMSRs, and Repertoire Works and PMSRs incorporated into Content on servers within the Server Territory for the purpose of transmitting the same to Users (for the User's own private and non-commercial use) by means of the Licensed Services; and ...
where 'the Server Territory' means:
“Server Territoryâ€￾ means the European Economic Area, Switzerland, the United States of America, Canada and such other territories as may be agreed in writing by the parties
As SoundCloud is based in Germany which is within the European Economic Area, you are fully covered by the licence. I imagine the reason SoundCloud have received takedown notices is due to the tracking bots the record companies use to identify either song titles or musical signatures of their works. As you are licensed to stream the music (the Repertoire Works in the licence) you should go ahead and use SoundCloud's challenge procedure.

Performing Copyright Works at Weddings etc
Although this in no way affects the SoundCloud issue, the LOML does not cover your artists when they perform copyright works at live venues. This is expressly mentioned in the LOML clause 3.12
3.12 For the avoidance of doubt, this Agreement grants no licence whatsoever in relation to Repertoire Works which are made available by the Licensee outside of the Licensed Service. However, such other exploitation of Repertoire Works may fall within the scope of other licensing schemes operated by the Licensors, details of which shall be made available to the Licensee on request.
Depending on the way your agency is structured, this may not be your repsonsibility, but something for the performers themselves to sort out. Since it doesn't form part of your question, I don't need to say more here.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

soundy
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:39 pm

Thanks!

Post by soundy » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:26 pm

Thanks for your help which is really informative!

There is only really one thing I need to worry about now and it's the geographical location of my customers. Unfortunately, people are listening and booking all over the world. They cannot download the music though, only stream.

For example I have had people that are UK based but just in New Zealand visiting family for an extended period and they listen to my sound files, book and pay for their entertainment whilst in New Zealand, even though their wedding is back in the UK many months later.

I don't think the LOML licence will cover this? (The client listening in New Zealand).

With regards to the acts performing the covers live, I wonder if the venue has this covered if they have a relevant PPL and PRS licence or is it something the band needs to do perhaps.

I spoke again to PRS today and the woman on the phone mentioned that SoundCloud have obtained a PRS licence but not updated their terms yet and that's why the online dispute/'tell them I have a licence' form looks scary- it's because nothing has been updated yet their end.

Still worried to submit this form though, and due having to think on my feet, she suggested to use YouTube to stream Mp3's because YouTube have a PRS licence already.

I'm familiar with their interface and copyright and I have to say the process has been far easier.

It's also easier if the version being uploaded is a cover version. YouTube generallly just gives me a copyright notice and tells me that original artist has decided to monetise (because the video I've uploaded is a cover version not an original it makes it easier).

So in the end PRS told me to do this instead as it's free and the worst that can happen is the video is removed in certain countries (not UK though).

Thanks for your help.

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:08 am

Hi Soundy,
On the issue of individuals who are not resident in the UK streaming your music, I think you should be OK as long as you are not actively targeting these people. Having a UK-only licence for something which goes on an internet site is fairly silly, but since PRS designed the licence for internet use, not you, I expect they understand the implications. This is probably more of an issue for them because of the rather messy arrangements which currently exist between the various copyright management organisations (CMOs) across the world.
If the music was being streamed from your own website, the solution would be to implement geo-blocking, but you don't have this facility on SoundCloud or YouTube
.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

soundy
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:39 pm

Thanks

Post by soundy » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:03 pm

Hi Andy,

Thanks for all your help you've really cleared things up for me!

I can go ahead and plan exactly what I need to now!

Thankyou

Post Reply