Scenarios That Highlight Misunderstandings GENERAL POINTS: As digital technology has developed over the last 20 years, many of us have received pieces of music to use when we call. Quite often our friends (or people looking to be our friends) have approached us with a piece of music on a Mini-Disc or CD and said something along the lines of “Try this: I think you’ll like it.” It seems so friendly that we would accept and perhaps might have offered something back in gratitude. The initial problem was that, at least in the early days, it seemed so easy and we were teased by the idea that “anything that is so easy can’t be unethical, can it? We all have a tendency to accept gifts without thinking; it just seems to be polite to do so. Therefore, surely it must be rude to not accept and perhaps more rude to refuse to reciprocate!
During the initial period of transition from vinyl to digital, many callers might have encountered problems with using and understanding the new technology. Those of us who encountered callers in this situation have felt a fundamental desire to help. However, “helping” can be a very long-winded exercise, and most of us do not have time to spare to take the long-winded route. Consequently, the easy route has quite often been used: just give them everything you have and leave them to delete the files to which they have no right. Unfortunately, this has created the situation where both parties involved have acted “unethically”, but certainly with no malice intended. A gift was given with no intention to defraud or deprive the distributors or the producers of their income, but still unethically!
A general assumption has often been made that no one suffers; it is a “victimless crime”. This is, of course, not true. The purpose of The Guild of PRIDE is not to protect distributors or producers, nor is it our intention to see distributors or producers make any money (or even recover any lost income) through our efforts. Its primary purpose is to make it possible for all entertainers/instructors to be able to “hold their head up” and display their “halo of pride” with a clear conscience.
Our investigations have shown that the vast majority of entertainers/instructors are good people (which is not a big surprise), but that all entertainers/instructors are being “tarred by the same brush” when it comes to music piracy. The purpose of The Guild of PRIDE is not to act as a tool for the distributors or producers, but to allow callers, cuers and others to publicize their honesty and their personal integrity for all to see. By doing so, hopefully the organizations that arrange the dance events and who book entertainers/instructors will require Guild of PRIDE membership as a criteria for all.
** The "Scenarios" section of this website will be revised as deemed appropriate and/or necessary.
Please Note: Answers shown assume that all entertainers/instructors are Guild of PRIDE Members.
1) Caller Abe goes to a dance called by Caller Bob. Abe likes a piece of music Bob uses and asks him to email him the information about the music so he can purchase it for himself. The next day, Abe finds that Bob has emailed him a file of the music instead thinking, “Because we are such good friends, I’ll just give you a copy!”. Can Abe use the music? Has Bob done anything wrong? What should Abe do, if anything?
At the very least, Abe should not download the file, as this would violate the rules of The Guild of PRIDE. Bob has acted inappropriately and should be advised of this, either directly (by Abe) or via The Guild of PRIDE.
2) Caller Joe is at a festival. In the break room he sees Caller Sam give Caller Sue a flash drive with music on it from a Platinum Label group of which he and Joe are members. Joe knows that Sue is not a member of that group because he has a list of all callers who belong and her name is not on it. What should Joe do? Has Sue done anything wrong by accepting the music? Has Sam done anything wrong by giving it to her? After all, she can’t afford to belong to the "Platinum Club", and Sam just wants to be a good guy.
Both Sue and Sam are, by their actions, violating the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE. The fact that Sam believes he is acting in Sue’s best interest does not alter this. Joe should either advise both of them that they are in the wrong and/or ask them to refer to the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE.
3) Caller Kris is a computer wizard and has all her music adapted, edited, and loaded on her laptop. Caller Julie is a beginner and even if she went through years of computer training, she would never be able to do as good a job as Kris at editing music. Kris is Julie’s mentor and wants to help her. Is it okay for Kris to load all her music on Julie’s laptop? What if Kris only loads the music that Julie actually has her own copies of? Julie has promised to delete any copies for which she doesn’t have music after she listens to them all and evaluates them. Is that okay?
It should be noted that in certain countries, the transfer of ownership of MP3 files is illegal. However, in this particular case, neither of the suggested actions is allowed under the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE. In both situations, Julie will end up with music for which she has not paid. The Rules specifically stipulate that this is not permitted: “with digital media no such 'evaluation' (and subsequent deletion if not purchased) is verifiable”.
4) Caller Skippy comes up to you at a dance with a flash drive in hand and asks if you will please give him a copy of that last piece of music you used. Seeing the look on your face, he says, “I have a dance tomorrow night that it would be perfect for and I won’t have time to get it before then. But I PROMISE to buy it this week! PLEASE?” Caller Skippy is the president of the local caller’s association. What do you do?
You can only remind Skippy that such an action would violate the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE. The fact that Skippy is the president of the local caller’s association does not alter this. The moment that any exceptions to the Rules are made, their value diminishes.
5) Dancer Faith makes a CD of her favorite singing calls and country music to give away to “good callers”. She gives you one and expects you to use it while calling at the dance she’s attending. Is it legal for you to use it? You have the BMI/ASCAP license and it’s her music, not yours. So, it’s no harm, no foul, right?
As long as Faith has purchased the music on the CD from the producer (or a licensed distributor), then no transgression of the Rules has occurred. However, you are not permitted to make a copy of the CD even to use just one time. The Guild of PRIDE exists to prevent “unethical copying”.
6) Caller Sasquatch does a “golden oldie” (a record that is out of print) at a dance. You used to do it, but your copy is unusable and you tell him how much you and the dancers enjoyed hearing that song again. Caller Sasquatch offers to make you a copy for your use. Is anything wrong with that? After all, you DO have a copy (which you paid for) and the record label is long since extinct. Who’s it hurting?
Again, it should be noted that in certain Countries the transfer of ownership MP3 files is illegal. The copyright still belongs to somebody and the owner of that copyright would have to provide their specific permission to allow this to happen. PLEASE NOTE: The CALLERLAB Record Producers Committee has located the owners of the vast majority of records in this category. If you contact them they will pass on your inquiry. However, it should also be noted that some “out-of-print” records are intended to be “unavailable” for a reason (e.g. they may have been subject to a “limited release”). Our hope is that the CALLERLAB Record Producers Committee will soon be able to remove this situation in general, and help to make the majority of “out-of-print” records available.
7) Caller Annette records for a popular label. You and she do a dance together and you compliment her on her latest release. Pleased, she offers you a copy. It’s ok, isn’t it? It IS her recording, after all!
It is very unlikely that a staff caller has the right to provide a “complimentary copy”. Usually, the producer is the only person that will be able to do this. You could query this with Annette and, if she assures you that she has that right, it would be okay. But, you would do well to send a message to the Producer “thanking” him or her for the complimentary issue.
8) Caller A has a computer but has little knowledge on how to up/download music, so Caller A asks Caller B if he will take his flash drive and put the music on the computer for him. Caller B says, “Sure! Let me take it back to my room and I’ll do it over lunch!” During the lunch break, while downloading the music on Caller A’s laptop, Caller B sees the newest album by Sting Records. Caller B makes the decision to put this new music on his own computer, figuring no one will ever know the difference. He gives Caller A his laptop and flash drive. Caller A has no knowledge of the actions of Caller B. What is Caller B guilty of?
Caller B is guilty of theft--it is as simple as that! However, he/she is also guilty of a major transgression of the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE and has challenged the integrity of Caller A. Although Caller A has not deliberately broken the Rules, the potential exists for him/her to be seen as a party to the transgression, even though an unwilling party.
8a) Callers B, C, and D go overseas to call a festival. Caller B gives to Caller C, (who is a good friend) the new Sting album, originally copied from Caller A (see above). Caller D sees this and knows neither Caller B nor C have the right to have that music because they are not part of Sting’s "Platinum Club". Caller D is a Member. What does Caller D do? To whom should he report this piracy? Should he confront Callers B and C right then? What punishment should befall Callers B and C? Is one of them more to blame than the other?
Caller B (already guilty of theft, since he/she stole the music from Caller A) is now guilty of “disposing of stolen goods”. In addition, Caller C (who will be aware that he/she has no right to have the music), will be guilty of theft and, if he/she is aware that the music was stolen will be guilty of “receiving stolen goods”. However, in terms of The Guild of PRIDE, both the actions of Caller B and Caller C constitute a major transgression of the Rules. Caller D should advise the Callers concerned that if they do not accept responsibility and offer to rectify the situation, it would be correct for Caller D to refer the matter to The Guild of PRIDE. Caller D would also be obliged to advise the Producer of the music regarding the situation which is a condition of membership of the Sting Club.
The Guild of PRIDE: Procedure for Default by Any Member
It should be noted that The Guild of PRIDE is only prepared to investigate allegations made by Members against Members. Any allegations involving non-members are beyond the authority of The Guild of PRIDE. If these arise, the only course of action that we can suggest is to make use of the Ethics Committee of the local Association.
The Guild of PRIDE is intended to be a self-regulating entity, managed along the lines of a Professional Guild. The intention is that all those who join The Guild will be in agreement with the subject of Professional Music Ethics and conduct their business by the same rules. However, due to the inherent complexity of the subject, there must be a procedure for dealing with any situation where a member is felt to be have “defaulted” (e.g. has not acted in accordance with the Rules and not within the best interests of the Guild). The hope is that any allegation(s) of impropriety can be dealt with internally, and it is anticipated that most of these will fall in to one of three categories:
1) A misunderstanding of the Rules (or the intention of the Rules) by the accuser. 2) A misunderstanding of the Rules (or the intention of the Rules) by the defendant.
3) A deliberate unethical act (e.g. music piracy).
** An essential condition of registration as a “Guild of PRIDE” Member is that the applicant must agree to accept that an inquiry into their professional conduct resulting from an allegation of impropriety concerning music ethics may be carried out if any member of The Guild of PRIDE sees fit to harbor a complaint against another.
The Procedure for Investigating an Allegation of Default of the Rules of Membership by any Member Comprises:
1) Initially, it behooves the best interest of any Member to approach another directly if he/she feels that they are acting “at variance” with the Rules of The Guild of PRIDE. In most cases, it will likely be possible to resolve the matter by reference to the Rules and Scenarios. Any such situations are, in essence, private but it would be in the best interest of all Members to publish any ambiguities discovered in this way as addenda.
2) If this first stage does not resolve the issue, or if the Member making the allegation does not feel that he/she can speak directly to the defendant, it should be referred to the Independent Administration and Arbitration Committee (IAAC), the administrative body responsible for the daily administration of The Guild of PRIDE, who will investigate and advise.
3) If the IAAC determines that the alleger has made a mistake in his/her interpretation of the Rules and that the defendant has not committed any breach, they will advise the alleger, but will not contact the defendant. The IAAC will decide if an addendum to the Rules needs to be published in each situation.
4) If the IAAC determines that the alleger is correct in his/her interpretation of the Rules, it will contact the defendant in order to resolve the matter. It should be noted that when an allegation reaches this stage:
a) The IAAC will contact both members. b) The IAAC will advise the defendant of the allegation and the name of the alleger. c) The IAAC will NOT act on behalf of any anonymous allegations.
Hopefully, this will be the limit of any inquiry of this nature and the matter will be resolved. The IAAC will decide if an addendum to the Rules needs to be published in each situation.
5) If the IAAC is unable to resolve the situation due to any party refusing to accept their interpretation of the Rules, it will no longer be the responsibility of The Guild of PRIDE. The subject will be referred to the Ethics Committee of the local (National or International) Association to which the entertainer/instructor belongs. If there is no such affiliation on the part of the Members concerned, this step will not be taken.
6) After the matter has been reviewed by the local (National or International) Association to which the callers belong (or if they do not have such an affiliation), the IAAC will decide whether or not to allow either of the involved in the dispute to continue to be registered as Members of the Guild of PRIDE.
In any situation(s) similar to those above, the primary function of the IAAC is to resolve disputes using arbitration and negotiation with the parties concerned.
Guild of PRIDE