How can I make sure to be compliant with copyright laws?

Q: I run a small studio and hold one recital per year. What is the least expensive and least time-consuming way to make sure I am compliant with the copyright laws?

—Ally Decker

Dance Ally, Gig Harbor, WA
 

 

A: “Your dance studio should purchase a ‘blanket license’ for all the music at the three biggest performing rights organizations: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and SESAC. These groups license millions of songs, and this license fee is usually based on two factors: the type of dance performed and the number of students at your studio. For example, if tap, ballet and acrobatics are taught at a studio with 100 students, the 2010 annual ASCAP fee would be $184.11. These rights will cover music that is used at the studio for classes and rehearsals, and for most recitals.

 

“Even if you’ve already bought the general rights to all three organizations, you may also need to contact the publishers of the songs, depending on how the work is being performed. If a recital is considered dramatic or has a narrative (e.g. musicals), ASCAP, BMI or SESAC can’t license it. The song’s publishers have to. For example, it may be considered a narrative if your recital has a theme. Ultimately, the decision about whether it’s dramatic or non-dramatic lies with the publisher, so your default should always be to ask either a performing rights organization or the publisher directly. You do yourself much more of a disservice by not checking.

 

“You can find out which publishing companies to call by contacting the performing rights organization where the song’s writer is a member. You can either call or type in a song name on their website databases (ASCAP.com, BMI.com and SESAC.com) to find publisher information. But don’t worry; even if you’re using 30 songs, you will probably only have to make a few calls to major publishing companies. And you most likely will not be charged a ridiculous amount to use a song. More often than not, there will be either no fee at all or it will be extremely nominal. And, in general, the smaller your recital is, the less you will have to pay.”

 

Andrew P. Sparkler is associate director of Legal Corporate at ASCAP.

 

Another idea: If you’re a member of a dance teacher organization like Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America or any state teachers organization, your membership generally gets you discounted licensing fees for all the songs on ASCAP, BMI and SESAC’s databases.

 

Photo: Dance Ally students (by and courtesy of Ally Decker)

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

Keep reading... Show less
News
Rambert artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer had input on the new Rambert Grades curriculum. Photo by Camilla Greenwell, Courtesy Rambert

British dance company and school Rambert has launched a new contemporary-dance training syllabus. Rambert Grades is intended to set a benchmark in contemporary-dance training, focused on three strands: performance, technique and creativity. Moving beyond the Graham and Cunningham techniques that form the basis of most modern-dance training in the UK, it includes contributions from current high-profile choreographers Hofesh Shechter, Alesandra Seutin and Rambert artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.