Sunday, April 26, 2015

Music Copyright Concerns Force Change in Color Guard Championship Videos

By Erin Colgan

Winter Guard International Sport of the Arts Fan Network was a media subscription service that allowed users to see and hear rich digital media showing events across the span of the music education genre, including color guard, indoor drum line and percussion, and winds. Members paid an annual fee for the ability to watch videos of past and present color guard and indoor percussion regional and championship performances through the WGI circuit, as well as instructional videos for educators. 

On December 1, 2014 WGI released a statement that all subscriptions had expired effective immediately.  WGI claimed that the Fan Network was on “temporary hold while the system is undergoing some changes for the upcoming year.” Throughout the color guard and indoor percussion communities, it was widely rumored and believed that WGI could no longer offer the Fan Network due to copyright restrictions.  WGI has always had a “Restricted Music List,” which listed all music banned from performance use due to copyright laws, though competing units in both color guard and indoor percussion could pay a fine in order to obtain permission to use a song on the “Restricted Music List.” 

According to WGI, they are currently “reevaluating the use of ‘restricted music lists’ in the issuance of music licensing.”  The Fan Network has in past years allowed members and non-members the ability to stream a live webcast of WGI Championships in Dayton, Ohio for both color guard and percussion, but this year the live webcast was powered by Drum Corps International (DCI) so that fans could continue to cheer on and support their organization without having to make the trip to Dayton, Ohio in person. 

Here are examples of outstanding performances in Dayton earlier this month:

West Orange High School, New Jersey (Scholastic World Class) performed their show “Find Your Voice.”  The ladies team began their show hiding behind a wall of boxes stacked to create a backdrop as a projector plays a video describing the Civil Rights Movement.  As the video and soundtrack progresses, boxes are removed and used to create layering that several performers stand on while doing various rifle tosses and tricks.  Capturing the raw emotions of fighting for civil rights, the performers toss their equipment into the air and cover their mouths before catching, to show the struggles of not being heard. When most of the boxes have been removed the projector displays one last image, which reads “Silence is the residue of fear,” in which a brief silence occurs as the performance continues.

Shenendehowa High School, Clifton Park, NY (Scholastic Open Class) performed their show “Master of Suspense,” which paid homage to film director Alfred Hitchcock. A number of props were used, which included a director’s chair, shower curtain backdrops, and a piece of scaffolding.  The soundtrack came from a number of Hitchcock’s films, including "Psycho." An amazing rifle feature takes place as various members hang and dangle from the scaffolding.  After a silence interrupted only by bird noises, the flag ensemble enters, which had the audience on their feet in an instant.

As of March 30, WGI announced that WGI Zone will provide “a new streaming digital destination designed to captivate and connect viewers with performances they love from past WGI Color Guard and Percussion World Championships. Winds Championship performances will be added to the platform after their inaugural event in April. ” Unlike the Fan Network, WGI Zone is free, and also reaches to broader audiences.  WGI Zone is available and compatible to watch on smartphones, tablets, and computers, as well as being integrated into the WGI App for iOS and Android.

“Since watching historical video is such a huge part of the indoor marching arts education, history, and culture, we are thrilled to offer this free service.While there is a significant financial investment required by WGI to provide WGI Zone to our customers, this is another step in our quest for full copyright compliance,” Bart Woodley, WGI Director of Organizations, said in a statement on

WGI Zone works in collaboration with YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing website.

For more information:

Erin Colgan is a sophomore Graphic Design student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Color Guard has been a part of her life for about eight years and she is currently active with the instructional staff at Pegasus Too Winter Guard.

No comments:

Post a Comment