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Is there any practical way to DJ using popular mainstream songs legally in SL anymore?  By 'legally,' I mean paying the necessary royalties.  By 'practically,' I mean affordably, which I admit is subjective, but let's say for a few hundred dollars per year.

I realize that one can buy royalty-free music, and I have done so.  I own a few-hundred-dollar collection of royalty-free music, and I carefully preserved the receipt and license that came with it.  I have used that to create 24/7/365 background mood music at roleplay SIMs in the past.  But people don’t DJ background music.  They DJ popular songs for which one must pay royalties. 

Another particular case involves performers who compose, record and play their music or perform live.  That’s not what I mean by DJ’ing either.  

I did much DJ’ing about ten years ago.  I used Virtual DJ Pro, which I liked for many technical and artistic reasons (e.g., you could hand-scratch on a virtual turntable).  Additionally, Virtual DJ Pro had an online song service that would let me pull up virtually any song to play if I happened to get a request outside of my extensive collection.  The only exceptions were the Beatles, AC DC, and a few others with particular restrictions.  I also used SAM because it was a lot more powerful if you wanted to go ‘hands-off’ and let the machine drive while making coffee. 

At about the same time, Virtual DJ Pro dropped their song service, and the SAM DJ’ing system began cross-marketing royalty engines to keep one legal, at least in part.  I say ‘in part’ because the royalties were particularly tricky if one had listeners in smaller countries without the necessary trade treaties.  

The problem was the price of the licensing services.  The licensing services had minimum fees that cost beyond what I considered hobby money, especially if one bought all the international options necessary for Second Life—and even so, one was still uncovered for some countries.  Once I became aware of the evolving legal situation, I quit DJ’ing.  

Sure I got tips as a DJ, but they never covered my costs on streaming software and services, but hey, what’s a few hundred dollars a year for a hobby?  Keeping up with the new legal regime would cost me several thousand dollars a year, which took it out of the hobby category.  

I have noticed that the rules and laws about online streaming kept tightening over the years.  I think we are past the point where someone can claim ignorance of the royalty aspects of streaming without crossing over into willful blindness territory, which may be fun on forums but doesn’t absolve you in court.  

Maybe royalty services have gotten cheaper.  If I could DJ legally for what I consider hobby money, I might start back.  It was fun!

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We can all play lawyer and give our best guesses as to your question.  If you're really concerned, you might think about contacting Sony, Columbia or EMI and ask their legal department.  Are they even concerned with people streaming music into SL?  Would they bother going after someone doing so?

You'll get all kinds of answers to your question but who would you believe over the music companies themselves?

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i will say as someone who has played music and had fun DJing on SL:

there are so many youtube to mp3 converters out there that are first to come up on searches even in google. so, i don't really think they would care since pretty much everyone probably has downloaded a song or two without paying. that's just my take away on it since pretty much everyone does it.

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The obvious way to handle the costs is to work with other people. Join an existing radio station rather than trying to do it all (and pay for it all) yourself. I have also seen people DJ with royalty-free music, so you could make it your thing.

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You should look at the websites for ASCAP and BMI which handle licensing of most music in the USA. As a DJ you must be using some kind of music streaming application and that company might be responsible for the music playing from their servers. You might want to check with them too. 

You might get away with no license because linden dollars have no monetary value and you are playing to a private audience.

It would be fun to see someone actually apply to ASCAP for a licensing fee where you will have to reveal all the details of your SL DJ service to them. 

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1 hour ago, Bree Giffen said:

You should look at the websites for ASCAP and BMI which handle licensing of most music in the USA. As a DJ you must be using some kind of music streaming application and that company might be responsible for the music playing from their servers. You might want to check with them too. 

You might get away with no license because linden dollars have no monetary value and you are playing to a private audience.

It would be fun to see someone actually apply to ASCAP for a licensing fee where you will have to reveal all the details of your SL DJ service to them. 

this is actually some good information. -- thank you for responding to this! ❤️

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I think your concern is admirable!

Its not “all the way legal”but a middle ground would be to at least make sure all the music one uses *was* purchased from a source that will pay the Artist their percentage of that sale.

That does nothing about residual payments for air-plays, but its slightly less dodgy than ripping everything off a streaming service and re-playing something one paid nothing for.

Also, the audio quality tends to be better…….   ….and the folks who fail to pre-screen and edit out “music video” dialogue can really be distracting 🙂

If your information-dive produces anything that will result in better/fair compensation to the artist, please feel free to direct message me here or inworld.

Go you!

 

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Given the small size of the typical SL crowd I can't imagine paying royalties to anyone or anyone caring either way.  We're not running advertising supported radio streams here and the tips we make are miniscule in comparison to what RIAA and ASCAP would demand of us.  If you're worried about being sued, don't do it.  The rest of us will carry on and RIAA can go f**k itself.

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9 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

Given the small size of the typical SL crowd I can't imagine paying royalties to anyone or anyone caring either way.  We're not running advertising supported radio streams here and the tips we make are miniscule in comparison to what RIAA and ASCAP would demand of us.  If you're worried about being sued, don't do it.  The rest of us will carry on and RIAA can go f**k itself.

not attacking, but isn't this the same as being OK with 40 k of people logged in at any time on SL with a copybot viewer?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Alwin Alcott said:

not attacking, but isn't this the same as being OK with 40 k of people logged in at any time on SL with a copybot viewer?

No?  Who's copying anything here?  I bought the music, I stream the music to less than 25 people on a server.  Where's the crime?  The music industry would love for you to think it's a crime but ask the actual musicians who the real thieves are in this situation and it won't be the DJs.

Edited by Talon Brown
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16 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

Given the small size of the typical SL crowd I can't imagine paying royalties to anyone or anyone caring either way.  We're not running advertising supported radio streams here and the tips we make are miniscule in comparison to what RIAA and ASCAP would demand of us.  If you're worried about being sued, don't do it.  The rest of us will carry on and RIAA can go f**k itself.

I hear your point but people actually get paid to sweep for these types of things and there's software that does it as well. I had a video demonetized on Youtube because there was a stream playing music in the background lol. I'm not a youtuber or anything and just posted the video to share with friends and other people in SL. I have 1 follower and the video I have with the most views has 78 views. You likely wouldn't get sued or anything. They would have to prove damages which would be pretty hard, but they can certainly have your stream shut down and I am sure whoever you're streaming with has a policy where you wouldn't get a refund if that happened.

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2 minutes ago, Finite said:

I hear your point but people actually get paid to sweep for these types of things and there's software that does it as well. I had a video demonetized on Youtube because there was a stream playing music in the background lol. I'm not a youtuber or anything and just posted the video to share with friends and other people in SL. I have 1 follower and the video I have with the most views has 78 views. You likely wouldn't get sued or anything. They would have to prove damages which would be pretty hard, but they can certainly have your stream shut down and I am sure whoever you're streaming with has a policy where you wouldn't get a refund if that happened.

Youtube is different, they have algorithms in place to scan uploaded video for copyrighted material and take action.  (Sometime this action is completely at odds with reality but that's another story.)  Unlike Youtube there are so many different Shoutcast providers, spread across so many countries that I'd actually like to hear of a single case of one being taken down for playing "unlicensed" music.

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2 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

No?  Who's copying anything here?  I bought the music, I stream the music to less than 25 people on a server.  Where's the crime?  The music industry would love for you to think it's a crime but ask the actual musicians who the real thieves are here and it won't be the DJs.

It's using other's work without paying = copy and stealing
You did purchase the music for OWN use in a private setting at home.

The amount of listeners is irrelevant, because a stream is publicly accesabe on the internet and "could" have millons of connections. Yes its absolutely small in SL, but with the thousends of "DJ's"... its less innocent for the music industry.
Again, copybot as example : a individual copybotter isn't a huge problem, but 40k online at at time would be a very serious issue for a virtual world/community

Dont get me wrong, i did it too, but like speeding tickets... everybody does it, doesn't make it right.
 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

No?  Who's copying anything here?  I bought the music, I stream the music to less than 25 people on a server.  Where's the crime?  The music industry would love for you to think it's a crime but ask the actual musicians who the real thieves are here and it won't be the DJs.

Idk of any but this is right from their own website.

"

In the United States, most Internet only radio station’s (webcasters) pay royalties for sound recordings copyrights through what’s known as a “statutory License”. It covers public performance rights and allows the radio station to play any type of music in the United States.

Webcasters are defined as “non-interactive”, meaning they fall under the statutory license which covers pre-programmed shows that listeners cannot skip or select their own music. To obtain a statutory licence in the United States, you will need to contact SoundExchange:"

 

https://help.shoutcast.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000936894-Where-can-I-find-more-information-about-music-licensing-

 

edit: sorry I quoted the wrong thing you posted. Meant to quote:

Youtube is different, they have algorithms in place to scan uploaded video for copyrighted material and take action.  (Sometime this action is completely at odds with reality but that's another story.)  Unlike Youtube there are so many different Shoutcast providers, spread across so many countries that I'd actually like to hear of a single case of one being taken down for playing "unlicensed" music.

 

Edited by Finite
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1 minute ago, Alwin Alcott said:

It's using other's work without paying = copy and stealing
You did purchase the music for OWN use in a private setting at home.

The amount of listeners is irrelevant, because a stream is publicly accesabe on the internet and "could" have millons of connections. Yes its absolutely small in SL, but with the thousends of "DJ's"... its less innocent for the music industry.
Again, copybot as example : a individual copybotter isn't a huge problem, but 40k online at at time would be a very serious issue for a virtual world/community

Dont get me wrong, i did it too, but like speeding tickets... everybody does it, doesn't make it right.
 

The amount of listeners is entirely relevant.  The server supports 25 listeners total so there's no possible way it could have a 26th connection much less "millions."  As for thousands of DJs, I think you're vastly overestimating the number of active DJs in SL.  Is the music industry losing money due to "unlicensed" DJs?  Maybe.  Are the artists?  Nope.  They see so little of the money from license fees it may as well not exist for them.  Again, go ask them who the real thieves are in the business.  It's not the DJs.

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5 minutes ago, Finite said:

Idk of any but this is right from their own website.

"

In the United States, most Internet only radio station’s (webcasters) pay royalties for sound recordings copyrights through what’s known as a “statutory License”. It covers public performance rights and allows the radio station to play any type of music in the United States.

Webcasters are defined as “non-interactive”, meaning they fall under the statutory license which covers pre-programmed shows that listeners cannot skip or select their own music. To obtain a statutory licence in the United States, you will need to contact SoundExchange:"

I would argue there's a distinction to be made between a SL DJ and a "webcaster" as they define it.  We're interactive, not pre-programmed and we can skip or select our own music at will.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

I would argue there's a distinction to be made between a SL DJ and a "webcaster" as they define it.  We're interactive, not pre-programmed and we can skip or select our own music at will.

Anything you do in SL is considered over the internet. You would be webcasting since the stream is coming from the web. Just because you only access it in SL doesn't mean it can only be accessed via SL. It is a web address that you plug into SL to play a stream right? And I am not disagreeing with your reasoning. I kind of doubt you would get caught anyways unless they have software that autoscans streams like youtube has for their vidoes. I wouldn't be surprised if that software already existed considering it swept my video before it was finished uploading. Like it even named the names of the songs that were on the radio in the background. It is all pretty stupid but it's where things are at right now unfortunately.

 

Screenshot 2021-05-24 033047.png

Edited by Finite
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Here's some reading for you. https://www.easysonglicensing.com/pages/help/articles/music-licensing/music-licensing-for-streaming.aspx

 

I used to use loudcity to keep myself legal and bought sam legally to dj with.  so keep in mind,  if someone hears it, they can subpoena LL for the ip address and that leads to your real information from your isp, so just an fyi,  try and keep it legal.   

 

but if you want to go for it, just go for it hehe.

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest you contact BMI and ASCAP what the charge would be on a website.

LIMB:

How many listeners do you have/expect?

Is the material to be used in a movie or television program? If so, how is it used? Will it be performed live?

How many listeners do you have/expect?

Is this material being used in a commercial or non-commercial presentation?

How many listeners do you have/expect?

The last question is key. Shows the 'market' size and potential cost of license. A 50kw Clear channel (NOT the company) radio shop in California will pay more in licensing than some 1kw day-timer shop in Louisiana. On that note, I'm assuming a DJ in SL will have an audience of maybe 50 (argument sake) on a constant basis. This DJ gets BMI/ASCAP compliant, the DJ will probably pay a fee that can be placed on the Visa or MasterCard. That fee will be used to be distributed to the various artists and writers.

How do they know what music is played?

A bi-yearly week long survey sent out by BMI and ASCAP. Note what songs were performed, the artist, the song writer.

Contact BMI and ASCAP for specifics. We are not copyright lawyers, so any answer given here could be on target or just a bit low and outside.

40 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

No?  Who's copying anything here?  I bought the music, I stream the music to less than 25 people on a server.  Where's the crime?  The music industry would love for you to think it's a crime but ask the actual musicians who the real thieves are in this situation and it won't be the DJs.

You did not buy the music. You purchased a license to listen to it. The publishers still own it.

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5 minutes ago, Chassie Rowley said:

You did not buy the music. You purchased a license to listen to it. The publishers still own it.

Not to attack you personally but this attitude is just one of the reasons I have and will continue to tell RIAA to go f**k itself.  It's also the reason I buy CDs and rip my own MP3s instead of buying digitally.  I'm not buying into their "you'll own nothing and like it" future.

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We own a RL bar and we use SOCAN for our public performance licence and streaming music in world The licence also stipulates for streams that no more then 3 songs from the same artist/performer can be played in a roll When simulcasting from our bar we go by that rule there.

But DJs have been playing in world since the early days..

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2 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

Not to attack you personally but this attitude is just one of the reasons I have and will continue to tell RIAA to go f**k itself.  It's also the reason I buy CDs and rip my own MP3s instead of buying digitally.  I'm not buying into their "you'll own nothing and like it" future.

It's not attitude though. It's a fact. Read the fine print when you buy a CD. By broadcasting the music you are redistributing it.

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1 minute ago, Finite said:

It's not attitude though. It's a fact. Read the fine print when you buy a CD. By broadcasting the music you are redistributing it.

I swear to God it's corporate overreach like this that will slowly push me into becoming a communist.  My playing music over a stream to a few people is no different than playing the CD to a group of friends in my house.  Granted, I know the music industry would love to charge us for that as well but until then they can go f**k off and fight it in court if they wish to waste the time and money for the 1000L in tips I might make on a good night in SL.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Talon Brown said:

Not to attack you personally but this attitude is just one of the reasons I have and will continue to tell RIAA to go f**k itself.  It's also the reason I buy CDs and rip my own MP3s instead of buying digitally.  I'm not buying into their "you'll own nothing and like it" future.

Buying CD's is still the same. You own a physical COPY and not the actual contents of the compact disk. I know people who would buy a vinyl album and transfer it to cassette for playing in the house or car while keeping the vinyl as pristine as possible. You are doing nothing different except for formats. That's acceptable.

Finite is correct "It's not attitude though. It's a fact. Read the fine print when you buy a CD. By broadcasting the music you are redistributing it.".

The ***** of the bunch is always the small print.

Edited by Chassie Rowley
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Chassie Rowley said:

Buying CD's is still the same. You own a physical COPY and not the actual contents of the compact disk. I know people who would buy a vinyl album and transfer it to cassette for playing in the house or car while keeping the vinyl as pristine as possible. You are doing nothing different except for formats. That's acceptable.

Finite is correct "It's not attitude though. It's a fact. Read the fine print when you buy a CD. By broadcasting the music you are redistributing it.".

The ***** of the bunch is always the small print.

I'm sorry I didn't really clarify what I meant by my earlier statement by my distain for the "you'll own nothing and like it" future.  I know I don't own the music either way.  I was thinking more about how media is moving away from physical to digital distribution and how in the process it's entirely possible for customers to buy a "license" to digital media only to have access to it stripped away with absolutely no recourse because they only had a "license" which could be terminated at any time by the media conglomerate that sold "it" to them.  That's why I buy physical media.  I'm not playing their game.

Edited by Talon Brown
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