OMG! Someone is selling mp3s of my Father's recordings online! HELP!

Discussion in 'Music' started by MielR, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    My Father was a recording artist (singer) from the 1950's until his death in 1976. His name was Dick Roman. I did an internet search of his name last night, and to my horror, I discovered that his songs are being sold as mp3s and ringtones! I also saw a British (I think) CD compilation that features one of his songs. There might be more- I'm afraid to look!
    My Mother and I have received no money from any of his recordings probably since the 1970's. My Mom got an insurance check from AFTRA after my Father's death, and a few years after his death a royalty check from an Australian airing of an episode of The Tonight Show, on which my Father appeared. That's basically it.
    I've sent emails to AFTRA and a couple other unions (ASCAP and AGVA), as well as the RIAA but is there something else I should be doing?
    Please help!
    Much thanks in advance.
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    Have you tried contacting the RIAA?
     
  3. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Yes, I sent them an email this morning, but I guess I won't hear anything back till next week.
    Just wracking my brain trying to think of who else I should contact. The album I saw online (which even shows the LP cover!) was recorded for MGM. But, that was many years ago and I don't know if they still have the rights. I might try contacting them anyway just to see.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Searching for your father's music, I got a bit of a surprise. All this time, I thought you were a guy. :eek: I think it's the Luke avatar.
    Sorry, I know this doesn't help you any.
     
  5. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    :P That's ok! I should change that avatar anyway.
    Right now I'm trying to figure out how one of his songs called "The Truth Hurts" (recorded in 1965) got on a 2003 CD compilation called "Midnight Cryin' Time". I had never heard of the song before, but my Mom recognized the title instantly, and when I went through his records today, I found 3 or 4 copies of it. The record label that released CD is called Castle Pulse (which I think is based out of the UK), and I'm wondering if they even bothered doing copyright searches before putting out this CD or if they just figured the songs were so old, nobody would notice.
    Infuriating, to say the least.
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    It's too bad Michael Reuben hasn't been here since May, as I believe he is a lawyer specializing in copyright issues. You'll probably need to at least consult one to see your options. I've seen two of your dad's songs at YouTube. The uploaders aren't making any money, but I think you might have a shot at getting them pulled if you email YT. Maybe not, though, because I saw Joe Jones' kid complaining about somebody uploading "You Talk Too Much" years ago, and the video remains.
     
  7. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Yeah, YouTube doesn't bother me much- I've actually been planning on uploading some stuff myself.
    But selling ringtones, mp3s and CDs are a definite no-no.
     
    Ron1973 likes this.
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Is it possible your dad's stuff is in the public domain in the U.K. ? I think that their copyright period is shorter than the U. S. 's.
     
  9. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I don't know, that's something I've wondered about. Things don't go into public domain in the US for a very long time- the 1920's or earlier I think. Would something recorded in the mid-1960's be PD in the UK? Someone from AFTRA contacted me yesterday, requesting more info., and I'm sending a certified letter to Universal Music Group tomorrow, so I'll know something soon, hopefully.
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    There's also the Harry Fox agency - http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp
    You realize that iTunes is also selling them?
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dick-roman/id311703724
    Unfortunately, with modern equipment and lack of law enforcement and lack of sound judgment, anyone can do this type of stuff and buy music to make copies - http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/dick_roman
    Years back (maybe 7) I got off the train in Newark, NJ to catch a taxi to visit someone who lived about 15 miles away. While waiting for the taxi, there were vendor stands outside the Amtrak station selling music and movies that were obviously not original and not legit. I was with someone who bought a movie (and weeks later admitted I was right and played a portion of it which was obviously filmed in a theater) and the best customers hanging around the vendor stands and asking when movies were coming out were two uniformed on duty members of the Newark Police Department. It was obvious they were asking about illegal copies for their own consumption (and they bought movies and music when I was present) as they were happy to have something before its official release.
     
  11. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I did not know about iTunes! Thanks for the info....
    I've sent an email to the Harry Fox Agency.
    I wonder who I should contact about iTunes? I went to the iTunes site and there doesn't seem to be any contact info directly related to iTunes....?
     
  12. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    There's plenty of info and sites to get more -
    http://www.apple.com/contact/
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10355448-93.html
    http://www.musicianwages.com/the-working-musician/recording-releasing-performing-cover-songs/
    http://allindstrom.com/2011/03/article-does-itunes-sell-or-license-music-do-the-labels-owe-more-royalties/
     
  13. imageandsound

    imageandsound Auditioning

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    It appears that your dad's songs are being licensed by a distribution company called The Orchard, which sub-licenses music rights for digital and CD sales from the major record companies. Orchard's specialty is getting artists like your dad back into the general market when the people who actually own the recordings don't consider them to be worthy enough to market on their own. The company also appears to have a subsidiary called Master Classics Records, which distributes the music on CD. Its web site is http://www.theorchard.com/. I just checked its list of Dick Roman-licensed music, and it matches the ones that you've been seeing all over the net.
    For whatever it's worth, I'm pretty sure that the actual owner of the recordings is Universal Music Group. Since your dad recorded for MGM Records, the chances are very good that the ownership rights were sold to Polygram a few decades ago, along with the recordings of other MGM artists like Hank Williams. All of that material was most likely included when Polygram sold its music business to the Universal Music Group about ten or fifteen years ago. UMG's now located in Santa Monica, California.
    Good luck. I hope someone at The Orchard or UMG can help you.
     
  14. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Thanks very much. I've already sent a certified letter to UMG regarding the song on the CD compilation. Hopefully, I will hear something back from them soon.
    11/18 UPDATE: I received some emails (finally) from Universal Music Group today. The 2 albums on iTunes were NOT licensed from them, and UMG is requesting their immediate removal.
    I also discovered the same group of songs in the Amazon.com mp3 store. I listened to the songs and it was obvious to me that they were ripped from an LP record, complete with pops and crackles. UMG will be requesting those be removed as well.
    Apparently, "The Orchard" is a shady company that accepts music submissions from 3rd parties, and doesn't put much effort into finding out if the people who submit the music actually have the rights or not.
     
  15. imageandsound

    imageandsound Auditioning

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    I'm glad UMG got back to you, and I'm really sorry to hear your info about The Orchard. At the moment, they appear to be the only (supposedly) legal way to get recordings of artists like your father.
    Just curious. Do you know if they're going to give you any further royalty info on your dad's catalogue? When you also factor in the stuff that he did with Dot Records, it appears that everything he recorded now belongs to UMG, so -- by my estimation -- they owe you an accounting for about the last 50 years worth of sales activity.
    It'd be interesting to know as well about the condition of the master tapes. In my admittedly limited experience with them, I know that UMG takes pretty good care of its masters, but time still manages leave its mark.
    Anyway, good luck. I'm rooting for you.
     
  16. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Thanks. :)
    According to UMG, they have had frequent problems with "The Orchard" in the past. I don't understand how a company like that manages to stay in existence.
    I've found all the songs in question up on Google Music as well, so I informed UMG.
    UMG hasn't given me any royalty information yet. I'm planning on asking them about that again as soon as the take-downs occur on those 3 major music sites. I'm also going to ask if they would have any interest in LEGALLY licensing whatever music of my father's they own, to iTunes, etc. Probably not, but it's worth asking, anyway.
    In the meantime, I've uploaded to YouTube the tape he used to lip-sync to when he performed in the 1969 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and one of his Tonight Show appearances:

     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Cool stuff, keep us posted with this! And good luck!
     
  18. delomusic29

    delomusic29 Auditioning

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    Be wary of the paths you cross! All niceties are not nice! Helpful and helpfulness can be deceptive stall tactics. Assistance from the enemy can make giving information a bane about your neck. Master Classics Records is an arm of The Orchard and UMG. Masterworks can only be obtained from master holders (UMG). Your father's music should not be in the public domain unless it was never renewed after twenty eight years upon its release. The unauthorized licensing of past songs are being mitigated by the majors UMG, Warner Music Group (WMG), Sony Music Entertainment and EMI (UK & US). They are making deals with ad-supported companies, without compensating the artist and songwriters of the songs they are using. Itunes, The Orchard, IODA, Tunecore, Rightsflow, Limelight, Music Reports, Sound Exchange, Youtube, Facebook, MySpace, Google Music or Android Market and various other aggregating entities have circled the wagons against downloaders on the Internet who are downloading songs without authority or permission, yet, because these "majors" are the ones who allowed access to the masters in their care, are responsible for allowing these downloaders the opportunity use your works in this manner, without "synchronization" licensing or they go through various licensing agencies, created for the purpose of dealing with the "majors", without having to deal with the songwriter(s) or the artist(s) who performed the song(s). This entire matter is happening to thousands of unwitting and unknowing songwriters, artists and musicians. Contacting someone concerning it is akin to pulling teeth that need not be pulled, hard and painful. I have been trying to settle my differences with these entities for a number of years and their stubborness and determination to prevent me from collecting licensing revenue through my publisher entity is steadfast and frustratingly consistent. When trying to get information, I am referred to as a "third party", unable to persuade these entities of my inherent rights to not only domestic revenue, yet, foreign revenue, as well. It is a day to day task that takes me 6 to 8 hours of communication that allows me to squeeze out whatever information I can get to further my cause of ownership and claimant and when I ask them for physical documentation proving that one of their member claimants do in fact have the right to claim, I have yet, to receive any documentation, from the requested nor the co-publisher or any collective. Don't give in, but find out whether your father signed a "work for hire" agreement or an agreement giving his publisher at the time of release rights to administer and not as an employee writing songs for the publisher benefit. This is where matters get murky and read the Bob Marley ruling and you may get a better understanding of what happened to your father's works. Good luck! Son of Robert Higginbotham/Tommy Tucker writer of the classic blues song "Hi Heel Sneakers".
     
  19. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I attempted to make that previous post readable........
    Be wary of the paths you cross! All niceties are not nice! Helpful and helpfulness can be deceptive stall tactics. Assistance from the enemy can make giving information a bane about your neck. Master Classics Records is an arm of The Orchard and UMG. 
    Masterworks can only be obtained from master holders (UMG). Your father's music should not be in the public domain unless it was never renewed after twenty eight years upon its release. The unauthorized licensing of past songs are being mitigated by the majors UMG, Warner Music Group (WMG), Sony Music Entertainment and EMI (UK & US). 
    They are making deals with ad-supported companies, without compensating the artist and songwriters of the songs they are using. Itunes, The Orchard, IODA, Tunecore, Rightsflow, Limelight, Music Reports, Sound Exchange, Youtube, Facebook, MySpace, Google Music or Android Market and various other aggregating entities have circled the wagons against downloaders on the Internet who are downloading songs without authority or permission.
     Yet because these "majors" are the ones who allowed access to the masters in their care, are responsible for allowing these downloaders the opportunity use your works in this manner, without "synchronization" licensing or they go through various licensing agencies, created for the purpose of dealing with the "majors", without having to deal with the songwriter(s) or the artist(s) who performed the song(s). 
    This entire matter is happening to thousands of unwitting and unknowing songwriters, artists and musicians. Contacting someone concerning it is akin to pulling teeth that need not be pulled, hard and painful. 
    I have been trying to settle my differences with these entities for a number of years and their stubborness and determination to prevent me from collecting licensing revenue through my publisher entity is steadfast and frustratingly consistent. 
    When trying to get information, I am referred to as a "third party", unable to persuade these entities of my inherent rights to not only domestic revenue, yet, foreign revenue, as well. It is a day to day task that takes me 6 to 8 hours of communication that allows me to squeeze out whatever information I can get to further my cause of ownership and claimant and when I ask them for physical documentation proving that one of their member claimants do in fact have the right to claim.
     I have yet, to receive any documentation, from the requested nor the co-publisher or any collective. Don't give in, but find out whether your father signed a "work for hire" agreement or an agreement giving his publisher at the time of release rights to administer and not as an employee writing songs for the publisher benefit. 
    This is where matters get murky and read the Bob Marley ruling and you may get a better understanding of what happened to your father's works. Good luck! Son of Robert Higginbotham/Tommy Tucker writer of the classic blues song "Hi Heel Sneakers".
     
  20. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    Double post. Something weird going on here tonight...
     

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