Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Singing a Different Tune

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Singing a Different Tune

Article excerpt

Girl Scout leaders who worried about how they would pay the royalties for the songs they sang around the campfire can relax. ASCAP, the organization that owns the copyright on 4 million melodies and had said it would collect when camp groups held their songfests, has now changed its tune.

When word got out last week that the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers had instituted a new policy, it struck a loud sour note. Reports of campers having to dance the Macarena in silence because their directors didn't want to pay a performance fee brought home what ridiculous situations the ASCAP directive had created.

Even sillier was the threatened penalty for the failure to comply that one camp official reported to The Wall Street Journal: $5,000 and six days in jail.

That mandate made for some strange decisions before ASCAP said this week that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. As camp directors planned their programs, they had to decide which songs could be sung for free and which carried a price. …

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