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Thread: theme/amusment park licence?

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  1. Default theme/amusment park licence? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    louisiana
    Posts
    363
    tonight someone banged on my haunt door telling me i need to have a licence because a haunted house is considered a theme park. this will cost me 63 cents per paying costomer. had i known about this before the season i could have raised my admission price a dollar. has anyone else had this problem before and if so can i get some advice of whats to be expected? she also told me this is the federal gov and they will be watching us this year to make sure we dont have any music or sounds that will infringe on copyright laws. she wants me to get virgil from midnight syndacate to make a contract stating i can use his music out front of my facade. i told her all he asks is to have his poster on display to use it but she needs it in writing. just hope i can get this from him by friday.
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, In
    Posts
    399
    What state are you in and did you ask to see her credentials? If she really is a Gov employee for the state or Federal gov, she will have them. But the whole thing sounds shady to me. I've never heard of anyone needing a Theme Park license unless that's some unique state law issue. And if she works for a permit division, why is she wanting your music info. That's something that is handled by BMI, SESAC, ASCAP, or SoundExchange. Gov could care less if your violating copyright. The artist or label is the one who would have to sue you for the violation. Something doesn't smell right about her. She's not saying you have to pay her the .63 per person at the end of the week or something? If I were you, I would call the Secretary of State Office and start asking about this. Always check out those who claim to be officials of any type. Too many scam artist or Gov works over stepping their bounds.
    Last edited by MovieRelics; 10-14-2010 at 10:12 AM.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    louisiana
    Posts
    363
    im in louisiana,and yes she gave me paperwork for ascap but told me she works for the federal gov. something dosnt seem right to me either
     

  4. Default Hmmm 
    #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    48
    If not a scammer i would think she could be an lawyer or private investegator of some sort..
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,033
    http://www.ascap.com/index.aspx

    I've dealt with them before in a variety of different fields. They issue licenses for various industries that use music. Evidently amusement parks are one of them.

    Call the main office and rip her a new one. She may have mentioned some federal laws but if she tried to make herself sound loike a federal employee she needs to be arrested. And if they plan on hanging around to check your music, make sure they pay admission.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, In
    Posts
    399
    Ok, if she works for the Federal Government, she should be able to provide credentials for what department of the gov she works for. The only thing I could think, is the IRS may want you to classify as a theme park, but I doubt that unless you've got 50,000 people coming thru your haunt and a roller coaster in the back. And why is she carrying around ASCAP papers? Unless Midnight Syndicate is a member of ASCAP, you don't owe them a dime. Plus, he gives permission to haunts to play his stuff as long as you tell him and put up one of his posters if I remember correctly. Something doesn't sound right about the whole situation and I would would ask her for her credentials and then tell her that you will follow up with what ever division she works for by calling them direct. I've never heard of someone from the fed doing ASCAP work (which has nothing to do with the federal gov) and theme park permit work (which is a state permit issue) at the same time. This just screams scam to me.

    And ShawnMC is right, pretending to be a federal government employee is a crime.
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  7. Default  
    #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    145
    Sounds like you're dealing with one of the music licensing groups (ASCAP/BMI/ect). If you were required to have a federal license to operate an amusement park (which I've never heard of being done on a federal level) then I doubt that'd charge you per head. ASCAP on the other hand will, and they will be ruthless and make whatever threats necessary. I worked at a concert venue who got hit with a $5,000 a month bill. When we tried to fight it they claimed they would start collecting the back royalties that we hadn't been paying, unless we cooperated. It's hard to fight these guys, but if you're careful it can be done. As long as you're sure you're not playing any licensed music you have something to stand on. But they will watch you, and the second you screw up they will fine you. They've been known to send "spys" to bars and clubs to see if they're playing licensed music. It's essentially a legal shakedown.

    The line about requiring written permission from Virgil is bull. Unless he's with ASCAP (and I doubt they'd know in the first place) you don't need written permission. It's not the job of ASCAP to enforce ALL copyrights. They're a private organization and have no right to do so.

    Expect more visits. Usually when ASCAP shows up BMI is not far behind.
    -Rob

    Audio Guru
    Lighting Designer
     

  8. Default  
    #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Near Charlotte NC
    Posts
    1,051
    Virgil, Midnight Syndicate, Jerry Vayne, Nox Arcana, and most all other ambient haunt composers mention that they are royalty-free either on their website or CD liner notes. Find those and show this person.

    Unless they is a LOT more specific with her credentials, you should arrange a meeting between you, her and a local sheriff to discuss further....
     

  9. Default got a letter today 
    #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Huntington, IN
    Posts
    462
    Years ago I owned a tanning salon. Best job I ever had, everyone was in a good mood. Sorry for the digression. Anyway, we had music playing in the salon but I found out through the tanning association that when you decide the music for your patron, you will owe the ASCAP fee and BMI fee. If they present (slap on your counter) a contract when they come into your business and hear the music, you are fighting a very big bucks backed company. And I was under the impression that if you were signed with one, the other would leave you alone.

    Now the kicker. In the salon we got rid of the salon music and installed boom boxes in every tanning room. The customer could now decide what they wanted to listen to. They loved it because they would bring in their own music, too. By that simple change, we were no longer violating anything because we were not deciding the music. The cosst of the boom boxes was almost equal to one years fees from ASCAP, so it was a good business decision all around.

    Rush forward to today. We "haunters" play lots of music from lots of artists and do decide very precisely what our customers hear.

    Today, I recieved the request of a "First Offer" from ASCAP. Our event uses all Virgil, Midnight Syndicate, and locally produced music and sounds so we really aren't violating anything. We are aware of the ASCAP and BMI claim.

    After reviewing the proposal, we will sign it, pay for it, and rest easy for the future. It is a small price to pay to avoid any issues for now and the future. The price is reasonable based on attendance. It is possible for us to maintain our music like it is, but with this we will be able to play anything in the future without any legal problems.
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    Brett Molitor (aka ~ JamBam) Member of HAA

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  10. Default  
    #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    356
    If your music is yours, you paid someone to create it or bought it from a source that approves this use, then this is a scam. Do you guys really think the people who wrote that music will see a DIME of what is collected? So your paying ASCAP just to be ASCAP. This is no less a shakedown than a gang of thugs demanding protection money!

    If the haunt Ďassociationsí are worth ANYTHING they should be looking into what legal actions the haunted house industry has in response to this...... just saying.......
     

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