Thursday, August 07, 2008

ICEL Royalty Question Update

Earlier this week, I sent this question to ICEL, asking whether composers need to pay ICEL to set the new Mass texts to music and post the music for free download.

ICEL wrote me as follows:

We will be glad to respond to your request for copyright permission. First, could you tell us on which website or websites the musical settings would be posted and provide us with an estimate as to how much internet traffic this website (or these websites) receive?

I've written them back as follows:

It is hard to say because this depends on human volition. It could be anywhere between 2,000 and 250,000 visitors per month, not all of whom would be downloading music. But outside links can cause one-day traffic to soar. If the music is not appreciated by users, that traffic could fall again. Also they might be posted on blogs and forums of varying sizes, and, in any case, Google makes the precise venue somewhat less relevant.

The point is that many people want to set Gregorian melodies and Psalm tones to English texts, mainly for the ordinary of the Mass, so their approval is not really a question. My question concerns royalty payments to ICEL. If they have to pay, they will not likely post.

I'm asking not just for myself but on behalf of all musicians. My specific question is whether any royalties are due for freely downloaded music that sets the new Mass texts.

I await an answer.

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