Hello. I am a music teacher and have a very unique approach to teaching piano and would LOVE to create an app that would allow me to teach students how to play PUBLISHED songs that they love, but don't want to break any copyright laws and/or risk exorbitant fines and/or get in trouble with Apple.
I spoke with an intellectual property attorney who told me that if any music publisher finds out about someone using their music without prior authorization they risk thousands of dollars in fines PER USE!! SERIOUSLY, and according to him, they're more relentless than the IRS in collecting!!
I've read through the entire Apple Developer Program License Agreement and both sections 3.2 Use of the Apple Software and Apple Services and Content and Materials: 3.3.18 make it very clear that developers cannot use copyrighted material in their apps in any way without permission, yet I've noticed a slew of current music teaching apps that apparently are "in violation" of this agreement, exposing not just themselves but every customer who illegally purchased their app or subscriptions.
Currently, most of the existing music teaching app developers, i.e. "learn to play (piano, guitar, etc.)" offer a premium monthly subscription allowing users to access the EQUIVALENT of sheet music, as well as an AUDIO RECORDING of copyrighted music, and receive either "live" video/audio teaching tutorials of a real teacher or through an animated keyboard interface or guitar interface which demonstrates which keys or strings (labeled by letter) to play each published song in real time. So what is going on? Who is granting permission to use copyrighted songs?
As I see it, there are three possible scenarios as to why Apple is allowing developers to use these apps and monetize them thru iTunes:
- Apple is either unaware or doesn't care about these illegal app developers
- The current Multi-Music Publisher Licensing Deal that allows Apple to charge its monthly iTunes subscribers $9.95 a month to access its music library ALSO extends to third party app creators, such as those currently selling their apps and Apple is granting a licensing WAIVER which would allow third party app developers to legally do so.
- *Current music teaching app developers negotiated deals with either music publishers and/or multiple artists. MY LAWYER TOLD ME THAT THIS IS EXTREMELY UNLIKELY AS MOST MUSIC PUBLISHERS AND ARTISTS ONLY DEAL WITH MAJOR CORPORATIONS, NOT SMALL PLAYERS. PLUS, NORMAL LICENSING FEES WOULD INCLUDE SYNCRONIZATION FEES BECAUSE THOSE SONGS ARE BEING BRODCAST VIA VIDEO OVER THE INTERNET. WE ARE TALKING ROUGHLY $4-500 PER SONG! THERE IS NO WAY THAT APP DEVELOPERS ARE PAYING THIS BECAUSE IF THEY OFFER 50 OR MORE SONGS IN THEIR APP, THAT WOULD BE $25,000 AND TAKE YEARS JUST FOR THEM TO BREAK EVEN!!
COULD SOMEONE PLEASE CLARIFY WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I HAVE REPEATEDLY EMAILED APPLE'S LEGAL DEPARTMENT AS WELL AS THE APP DEVELOPMENT TEAM AND HEARD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!