licensing notes from leisa korn for april 11, 2012: entitlement edition

Much is being written and discussed these days about a generation dubbed as “entitled.”  A sense of entitlement is sometimes described as the opposite of a sense of responsibility.  An entitled society as a whole is a demanding and narcissistic one where wants can be confused with needs and everyone deserves to get a trophy whether they win or lose. People have always had to work for something, even approval, but now it is expected that you will achieve, acquire and succeed just because you want to.  This can lead to a lack of emotional empathy, loss of self examination and relinquishing of personal responsibility. Limits, boundaries, discipline and consequences are disappearing from everyday life. Everyone is special, and it has been said that people tend to view themselves as if they have a starring role in a reality-show (and are quite famous in their own minds.) You can see this yourself in everyday occurrences such as when harried drivers cut you off or pull in front of you because wherever they have to be is more important than where you have to be. We’ve all experienced cutting in line, making excuses for not being on time, taking 2 parking spaces at a crowded mall, speaking loudly into a cell phone in a restaurant or texting during a movie. College graduates are suing their colleges because they expected to land a high level job immediately after graduation and that lack of job placement is somehow misconstrued to be the sole responsibility of the college. When you’re given too much and too little is demanded in return, a sense of entitlement is the end result.

So now you’re asking in this season of renewal and blooming splendor, what does entitlement have to do with licensing music? Simply put, if you want to use music in your project, program or broadcast, you must obtain permission and be granted a license to do so. Music is not just there for the taking because you want it. Music belongs to the copyright owner who has worked hard to create it and made it available for proper licensing.  Composers love to share their music with the world but they are entitled by law, not by desire, to receive compensation for their efforts.

So the next time you’re thinking that music is just there for the taking, like a free sample of a new product at Costco, think again. Obtain the proper license for your usage and just maybe, you’ll be rewarded with a parking spot near the door of your favorite mall. Happy Spring!

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