You’re ready to kick off the cheer season once again, but you just found out the news—music laws have changed once again in the all star world. Coaches all over have hundreds of questions about the new rules and what they allowed to use for their teams as their athletes hit the mat. Here is a basic overview of the changes.
The all star industry isn’t doing this—it’s copyright law.
We need to be honest with ourselves. Gym owners and music producers have never gone through the proper licensing obstacles they should have. By pulling small clips from original songs, they’ve sidestepped some serious infringement lawsuits. Hopefully, no music professionals come back to sue for the previous years.
All the professionals in the all star world have been ignoring these warnings for just about 25 years. However, no one took it seriously until 2012 when several music producers received Cease and Desist letters from the RIAA because they were losing out on market share. Some music producers believe that this started once video became a popular way to share cheer routines. As it turns out, when you want to put music to a video, you need to obtain synchronization rights first. The people who create these videos simply don’t have the time or resources to get all those rights.
You can use covers of songs now.
While covers of popular songs don’t necessarily release the producers from sync or mechanical rights, it does make their Master Rights reasonable. Master Rights are near impossible to get from a large label, but when your music company creates a cover, they do have master rights to that recording and can give others the license without much fuss.
Commercial use and personal use are different.
When you purchase a song, you simply have the rights to listen to that song. Just as a t-shirt someone lends to you, you cannot cut it up, paint it, dye it, or anything else and not expect any backlash from your lender. You do not own the music, you cannot make copies of the song you purchased, and you can’t give away copies or remixes nor play it for a crowd without having the proper license.
Follow the law in order to keep your gym or business safe.
In order to follow the law, gym owners need a license to publicly perform music in their business. This can be done through ASCAP, BMI, and other performing rights organizations. Also, gym owners should purchase additional licenses for each copy they intend to share with their all star cheerleaders. The EPs need a license in order to perform the music at their event. If your music producer is making a cover, they will need the master and mechanical licensing in order to give out the recordings, as well as synchronization rights for matching the song to the video. In order to obtain synchronization rights, you need permission from the writers of the songs.
So, the best solutions to these obstacles are to create covers, find original music that has not been made through a record company or find licensed content that is easy to obtain.
If you have further questions about the legal ins and outs of your music, it’s best to contact a music company that is licensed and ready to create a mix for you. Several websites offer full rights to mixes they have already made, so make sure to find a list of these sites and use their services when it comes to creating a legal, energetic mix for your all star cheerleaders.
Once you have your music and your routine polished, it’s time to show the world what you can do! Come compete with WSA Cheer at our cheerleading nationals competitions!