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FTC and PRO Compliance: What You Need to Know

Could the sounds your employees and customers hear land you in a courtroom? It's possible. Even though your business might be private, the sounds you play over loudspeakers are public, and as such, they are regulated by agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and performing rights organizations (PROs).

Here's what you need to know in order to stay in business and out of a courtroom.

PROs: Listening to Your Tunes

Every time you play music within your business, you are conducting a public performance. That is true, according to the Copyright Clearance Center, whether you are playing a piece of recorded music or whether you are hiring a band to play music for you.

What Counts as a Recorded Public Performance?

Every time you play music within your business, you are conducting a public performance. That is true, according to the Copyright Clearance Center, whether you are playing a piece of recorded music or whether you are hiring a band to play music for you.

A public performance applies to recorded music played on a:

  • Radio
  • CD player
  • Record player
  • Phone
  • iPod
  • Computer
  • Tape deck

If it is music others can hear, it is typically considered a public performance.

Public performances are protected by copyright, and in order to play that music without breaking protections held in the copyright, you must have a connection with those that hold the copyright. Those organizations are PROs.

A relationship with a PRO will give you the right to play music for a fee. But that fee only covers the music that PRO has the rights to. Since there are more than three PROs at work in the United States, full protection to play whatever songs you want means relationships with all PROs.

At Cloud Cover Music, we offer you the ability to play a vast library of music under one agreement. That cuts down on negotiation time for you while providing you with the protection you need.

FTC: Listening to Your Messages

The music you select can help you introduce your brand to your customers. Each song you play can help you explain who you are, what you do, and how you are different. But those messages are subtle, and sometimes, they don't allow you to say everything you need to say.

For example, if you're planning to hold a 50 percent discount sale, the music you play may not provide the details about that sale. You may encourage your customers to shop, but they might not understand a sale is happening through your music.

Sprinkling recorded messages in the midst of your music can help you explain your promotions and your plans. All of those messages fall under the responsibility of the FTC.

The FTC is responsible, according to its website, for enforcing or administering more than 70 laws. Many of these laws may apply to your business, but there is one main rule that applies to messages you might share with your customers.

The FTC Truth in Advertising rules require your ad to be truthful. Exaggerations, false claims, half-truths, and so forth could put you at odds with the FTC. Consumers who are upset about your ads can report them to the FTC and trigger an expensive conversation.

Clear, direct language that identifies your advertisements as ads can be helpful. Walking your ads past an expert can also help you to identify the terms that might be in violation of FTC rules.

At Cloud Cover Music, we offer you the opportunity to add recorded messages to your music playlist. You can record those messages without our help, or you can use our studio to record your messages with the help of our engineers. We can help you parse the language in your ads and make sure you have the documentation to prove that everything you say is true. With our help and expertise, you can ensure that your ads are clear, concise, and legally sound.

Compliance Matters

Dealing with laws like this can be a hassle. It is easy enough to consider skipping these rules and hoping you won't get caught. It's important to remember that ignoring these rules can mean dealing with big fines. Those fines could impact your ability to do business in the future.

Working with a company like ours is a smart way to ensure that you don't put your business at risk. Contact us at sales@cloudcovermusic.com to get started.

SOURCES

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