You didn't read the actual judgement. Nor did you watch the trial. Schools will no longer be strong-armed into paying thousands of needless dollars when for decades, little to nothing was due from non profits and K-12 educational institutions.
If Hidy Ho HS Choir uses your music, especially if it is uniquely used and arranged, too bad.
I did. I copied below the part that concerns me. I hold a number of copyrights. This says that if you use my music as a part of your show, but your 'theme' has nothing to do with the original concept of my work that you get to do it for free. That is wrong.
Big T's massive escalation of the cost of licensing was wrong, as was their overly aggressive (even if legally justified) pursuit of copyright violators. That part of the judgement I agree with. But the part I have pasted below I believe goes beyond that. While I don't make much off of my music, it is my intellectual property, and for them to seemingly throw the doors of 'fair use' wide open is wrong.
Here is the part I refer to:
Point #2: Show Choir Arrangements Are “Fair Use” Under Copyright Law – But Use Common Sense (And Be Artistic)
Reading through this Court’s opinion on the Fair Use argument (explained below) was frankly astonishing. I never thought in a million years that the Court would take such a hard look at a common show choir set and set forth a detailed legal analysis as to the Copyright implications. But they did, and it’s a giant win for schools.
So, what is fair use? Fair use is an exception to certain parts of the U.S. Copyright Law for creative uses of existing creative works like music, film, writings, etc. Fair use is often seen in the form of parody, satire and commentary. Fair use also sometimes covers education, such as using copyrighted material to teach students in the classroom. Congress recognized that these uses are actually beneficial to society, and not noticeably harmful to the copyright owner. Therefore, Congress decided that such fair uses would be free from licensing requirements and not subject to infringement penalties. Though the concept of fair use cannot be adequately and completely explained here, those are the basic principles.
The Court was very interested in whether the use of a copyrighted song in a show choir set – and the distribution of custom arranged sheet music to teach that song – are considered fair uses under U.S. Copyright law. This goes beyond the question of whether Tresona has the right to sue for infringement. It answers the question of whether anyone can sue for infringement for a show choir’s use of a song in its artistic programming.
The Court determined that the use of copyrighted songs in show choir sets is, in fact, fair use and thus totally exempt from many typical Copyright law requirements. Licenses to perform the songs are not required; licenses to create and distribute custom arranged sheet music based on the songs are not required. Under typical show choir circumstances, no one can charge a license fee or even require a free license for the use of popular songs. Not Tresona, not Disney, not Taylor Swift…no one. Show choirs can do as they please in this regard and do not to need to pay anyone or ask permission, within certain guidelines to be discussed a bit later.
The Court based its decision on the fair use issue on two main factors: (1) the inherent educational value in having students learn, perform and compete with these custom arranged songs, and (2) the “transformation” of the original song in the show choir context.
As for educational value, the Court noted that “this use was not of a traditional commercial nature, but rather for the nonprofit education of the students in the music program. [VMA Director] Carroll distributed the sheet music arranged by [arranger] Greene at no charge to the students.”
The school was not trying to profit off the use of the song. They were merely intent on performing it in a not-for-profit manner, mostly for parents and other show choir enthusiasts. That is a big deal to the Court in determining fair use. Courts do not like when people or companies make profit off of someone else’s work. But since there is no profit motive here, only targeted fundraising efforts and a very limited audience, the Court felt that the use was mainly for educational and cultural enrichment purposes.
Next, and perhaps more importantly, the Court examined whether Burbank High’s use of the song “Magic” was essentially a “copy” of the original or whether the arrangement of “Magic” transformed the original into something new and inventive. The Court looked how “Magic” was used in the film of Xanadu, an 80’s musical fantasy film; and then looked at how Burbank High used “Magic” in its show choir work, “Rainmaker,” about a Dust Bowl-era town in the midst of drought. The Court could clearly see a difference there, and determined the use undoubtedly transformed the original into something new:
“Greene’s rearrangement did not simply copy several lines from one chorus of the song and repeat it, but embedded that portion into a larger, transformative choir showpiece that incorporated many other works, and imbued that entire piece with new expression and meaning not contained within any of the individual works.”
Here lies the crux of the Court’s logic. If a show choir incorporates a song into a larger, transformative work, like a new storyline, the song is free to use. Extra "fair use points" would be earned for using only a small part of the song and changing some lyrics or other musical qualities of the original.
Show choir directors are thus on notice on how to make a 100% fair use show choir set. Be creative. Tell a story. Use many different songs to tell that story. Do not use too much of a single song. Directors and their staff must take genuine care to meet these standards, and require their arrangers to “get creative.” I somehow do not see this as a big problem. The show choir community thrives on creativity.
This is the heart of the Court’s fair use decision. It wants to encourage creative rearranging of existing songs, and it wants to encourage educational institutions to continue what they have already been doing. The Court also wants Tresona to get the hell out of the way and stop bringing infringement lawsuits against schools and their supporters. That brings me to the last key point from the case.
Read the judgement. You're so far off base you're not even in a baseball park.
While I have no love for Big T, the 'fair use' part of the ruling is disturbing. It would be the end of intellectual property rights - which by the way have just been reinforced and strengthened by the 'music modernization act'. It would be license to steal.
This part of the ruling sounds like it comes from the 'all of the arts should be free for everyone to use on the internet however they want' crowd. Part of the copyright modernization push has been to claw back the rights of creators in the age of the internet and streaming. That part of this ruling would be a setback.