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Music Webcasting License Questions & Answers

A rapidly growing number of funeral homes are now offering webcasting services to the families they serve. While this technology allows friends and family from around the country the wonderful opportunity to “virtually attend” the funeral (whether live or recorded), it also places the funeral home in potential violation of federal copyright laws when copyrighted music is broadcast as part of the services.

In response to this issue, NFDA has collaborated with the three music licensing organizations, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, to create a special “funeral webcasting license” for those funeral homes offering this service so they will be in compliance. Just as with the funeral home music license, NFDA has negotiated a special discounted rate that covers all songs in the BMI, ASCAP and SESAC libraries. This is the only group webcasting license available to funeral homes in the market. This will enable funeral homes to legally broadcast funeral services that include copyrighted music over the internet. Below NFDA addresses questions regarding this new license.

Q. Our funeral home already has a music license from NFDA. Why would we need the webcasting license?

A. The music license that NFDA has offered for over 20 years allows music to be performed at funeral services. That license covers the performance of music (live or recorded) that is played at any funeral service, whether at the funeral home or at another facility. The only requirement is that the music be performed in connection with some type of funeral or memorial service or ceremony.

While the music license covers performance, it does not allow a funeral home to broadcast musical performances over the internet. A different license is required to webcast music. Therefore, funeral homes that offer funeral webcasting services are violating copyright laws when they broadcast over the internet any funeral services that contain copyrighted music.

Q. What does the NFDA webcasting music license allow?

A. It allows a funeral home to legally webcast any funeral service or ceremony that contains copyrighted music. The webcast can be live or a recording of a funeral that has already taken place. The only restrictions are that the music must be performed in connection with a funeral or memorial service and that it may only be available through the funeral home’s website. The funeral home will have to list its website on the webcasting music license application.

Q. Do I need a webcasting license for each location?

A. The webcasting music license coveres each website, rather than location. If all of your locations utilize one website, you only need one webcasting license.

Q. If we webcast funeral services and obtain this license, are there any restrictions on selling our webcasting services to families?

A. No. The funeral home may price the webcasting services in any way it wishes. It can give away the service for free, charge a fee for recording, charge a fee for webcasting or even charge a fee for hosting the recording on the website. It cannot, however, offer to sell copies of the funeral service recording to the public from the website.

Q. How can our funeral home purchase the NFDA webcasting music license?

A. Any funeral home that is a member of NFDA, a FAMIC organization or state association is eligible to purchase the NFDA music license and the new webcasting license option. The fee for the webcasting option is $50.00 per year and will cover webcasting services from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. The webcasting license is not part of the regular music license, but is an optional add-on purchase.

Q. Can the funeral home purchase a webcasting license directly from the music licensing organizations?

A. Yes. However, it would cost the funeral home hundreds of dollars to do so. NFDA was able to negotiate a fee that is a fraction of what other companies pay for a webcasting license.

Q. Is there a limit under the webcasting license on how many funerals we can webcast per year?

A. No. There is no limit. The $50.00 fee covers as many funeral services as your funeral home wants to webcast.

Q. We already have purchased our music license for 2014 from NFDA. Is it too late to purchase the webcasting license option?

A. No. Your funeral home can still purchase it by going to NFDA’s website at www.nfda.org. A link to the webcasting license application is on NFDA’s homepage.