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Exam-room ambush


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#1 Pacific231

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 19:59

As I understand it, an examiner can disqualify a candidate who plays from a copy that breaches copyright. 

However, copyright status isn't always clear. A candidate can make an honest judgment that a copy is legit yet feel insecure about using it in the exam room lest the examiner takes a different view. This can led to heavy precautionary spending on publications that aren't really needed.

 

(I can hardly believe that examiners or the ABRSM want to complicate their lives with legal niceties but they seem to reserve that right to themselves.)

 

I think the board should either drop its threat or undertake to rule on copies prior to exams. What do other teachers think - or know - about this?     


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#2 windman66

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 20:51

You have my sympathies. ABRSM (with whom I am particularly exasperated at the moment due to their arbitrary reconfiguring of the theory exams) are not the world’s policemen and should not act as though they are.
Presumably grade examinations, where only the candidate and the examiner are present, are not classed as a public performance and do not thereby infringe UK performing rights, even if the composer(s) were still around in the fifties or later.
Of course, there is a twenty-five year rule inherent in the typescript. But again, I would question whether it is the examination boards’ job to take the moral high ground on this. And I say this as one who always tries to work within the rules when photocopying and supports the music printing industry where possible.
Unfortunately, we live in an increasing censorious and sanctimonious society, and the universal condemnation of photocopying, which sometimes is legal, just reflects the times we live in.
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#3 Banjogirl

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 20:52

My boys often used music downloaded legally from IMSLP, so it just looked like photocopies. No examiner ever questioned it. Nor did they check whether pages photocopied to make page turning easier exceeded the number allowed. I suppose if the music was an obvious photocopy of a modern piece then that might ring alarm bells.
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#4 BadStrad

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 11:43

The board makes a lot of money from selling ABRSM copyrighted publications, so it is in their financial interest to insist that people don't use copies of that music.   Having said that, I'm sure I read somewhere (in the regulations?) that it is fine to use downloads from sources such as IMSLP for out of copyright manuscripts.

 

So I'd imagine that unless a student turned up for the exam with a photocopy of one of the modern pieces, or a very obvious copy of one of the AB books then the examiner isn't going to do anything.  But really - it's more than likely not about the moral high ground, it's about the bottom line.


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#5 Hildegard

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:30

As I understand it, an examiner can disqualify a candidate who plays from a copy that breaches copyright.

 

I don't believe so. The examiner can report to the board that a photocopy has been used, but only the board itself can disqualify candidates - I don't think any examiner has the authority to disqualify anyone. In any case, I doubt that the board would actually disqualify the candidate unless he or she was a repeat offender. Much more likely that they would just send a warning letter to the person who entered the candidate.


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#6 Hildegard

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:31

Presumably grade examinations, where only the candidate and the examiner are present, are not classed as a public performance and do not thereby infringe UK performing rights, even if the composer(s) were still around in the fifties or later.

 

Performing rights are nothing to do with the illegal photocopying of music. The latter is a copyright issue, not a performing rights issue.


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#7 Yet another muso

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 13:03

Any well run competition will have a policy on photocopies, usually that if copies are needed for the adjudicators, you can make a photocopy, but it is kept by the organisers to be destroyed after use. Any competition or exam board could be reported and landed in deep waters if they openly allow illegal use of photocopies. So this is not a case of the board choosing to police this issue, but a legal requirement that they have no choice but to cover. 

 

That said, who knows how many examiners may turn a blind eye if they see a contravention of the rules. And if you are determined to use a photocopy for one piece and you have the other original scores, you can of course tuck that inside the real book with very little chance of the examiner spotting it . . . and even easier to hide in the new recorded exams!


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#8 windman66

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 16:00


Presumably grade examinations, where only the candidate and the examiner are present, are not classed as a public performance and do not thereby infringe UK performing rights, even if the composer(s) were still around in the fifties or later.


Performing rights are nothing to do with the illegal photocopying of music. The latter is a copyright issue, not a performing rights issue.
Not so. Performances are subject to copyright law, which also covers recording and projection on to a screen, as well as photocopying. Any of these, if done without permission, may fall under the heading of unauthorised reproduction.
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#9 Hildegard

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 16:26

Performances are subject to copyright law, which also covers recording and projection on to a screen, as well as photocopying. Any of these, if done without permission, may fall under the heading of unauthorised reproduction.

 

 

It is better to keep a clear distinction between the two, since copyright and performing rights are controlled by different legislation, and the royalties for each are gathered by different organisations. Copyright is basically about copying items. Performing Rights are about the performaning music.The PRS (Performing Right Society) makes a specific exemption for music performed in examinations. There is only limited exemption from copyright requirements in exams.


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#10 Banjogirl

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 16:55

Of course PRS can only make an exemption for music by people who they represent, which is by no means everyone. They would love the public to believe that they represent everyone but it's just not true.
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#11 AdLibitum

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 09:31


Performances are subject to copyright law, which also covers recording and projection on to a screen, as well as photocopying. Any of these, if done without permission, may fall under the heading of unauthorised reproduction.


It is better to keep a clear distinction between the two, since copyright and performing rights are controlled by different legislation, and the royalties for each are gathered by different organisations. Copyright is basically about copying items. Performing Rights are about the performaning music.The PRS (Performing Right Society) makes a specific exemption for music performed in examinations. There is only limited exemption from copyright requirements in exams.
Er, no. Copyright confers on its owner a bundle of exclusive rights (Section 16 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), one of them being the right to make copies of the work and another the right to perform the work, plus several others.

A performance may also be regarded as a work protected by copyright in its own right (if I recall correctly, but I'm not sure).
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#12 Hildegard

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 10:35

Perhaps I wasn't clear? Performing rights generally require a licence issued to a venue. Permission to copy music requires clearance from the copyright owner (usually the publisher, if the work has been publsihed). They are two separate things. Two separate payments.


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#13 windman66

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 13:51





A performance may also be regarded as a work protected by copyright in its own right (if I recall correctly, but I'm not sure).

Yes, intellectual property resides in a performance, as you say.
No doubt it is easier to think of a clear separation between performing rights and other copyrights for practical purposes. But everything nowadays, apart from typescript which is twenty-five years, Is covered by the seventy-year rule. it is a dangerous argument to say that performance has nothing to do with copyright (can also be very expensive if you get it wrong).
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#14 AdLibitum

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 17:43

Perhaps I wasn't clear? Performing rights generally require a licence issued to a venue. Permission to copy music requires clearance from the copyright owner (usually the publisher, if the work has been publsihed). They are two separate things. Two separate payments.

Yes, they are two separate rights related to one work, both conferred by the copyright in the work. The venue is effectively licensing the right to perform the work from the copyright owner (via a collective agreement in this case).
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#15 AdLibitum

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 17:46





A performance may also be regarded as a work protected by copyright in its own right (if I recall correctly, but I'm not sure).

Yes, intellectual property resides in a performance, as you say.
No doubt it is easier to think of a clear separation between performing rights and other copyrights for practical purposes. But everything nowadays, apart from typescript which is twenty-five years, Is covered by the seventy-year rule. it is a dangerous argument to say that performance has nothing to do with copyright (can also be very expensive if you get it wrong).
I probably wasn't clear. Any work protected by copyright can attract the performing right. So this could be a poem, a piece of music, or a choreography.
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