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The Sounds of the Silents in Britain$
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Julie Brown and Annette Davison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797615.001.0001

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Workers’ Rights and Performing Rights: Cinema Music and Musicians Prior to Synchronized Sound

Workers’ Rights and Performing Rights: Cinema Music and Musicians Prior to Synchronized Sound

Chapter:
(p.243) 13 Workers’ Rights and Performing Rights: Cinema Music and Musicians Prior to Synchronized Sound
Source:
The Sounds of the Silents in Britain
Author(s):

Annette Davison

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797615.003.0014

This chapter explores the role of the trade union and the collecting agency in relation to music in cinemas though the “silent” period and on to the emergence of synchronized sound. A brief history of the Musician’s Union and its relationship with other unions is followed by an investigation of the union’s role in supporting cinema musicians, and its negotiations with the principal employers’ organization, the Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association. This is followed by an introduction to the Performing Right Society (PRS), the institution established by publishers and composers in 1914 to collect revenue for the public performance of their music. Here the vital role that cinemas played in the establishment and survival of the PRS during its infancy is highlighted, alongside the periodically difficult relationship between the Musicians’ Union and the PRS, in part due to the society’s classification system for the licensing of music in cinemas.

Keywords:   Performing Right Society, Musicians’ Union, Amalgamated Musicians’ Union, cinema musicians, performing right, Scotland, musical accompaniment, cinema music, copyright

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