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RE: Copyright (slightly off-topic)
You do not have to obtain permission to cover a song live. Most venues in
the US pay a blanket license to ASCAP, BMI (and in some cases SESAC). This
allows any music covered by those performance rights organizations to be
played by anyone muysicians, DJs, jukeboxes, pumped in radio etc. If the
person isn't covered by one of those organizations, I would not worry about
it anyway unless they happen to know them and they would get angry at you
for playing their songs.
You do have to obtain a license from the song's publisher to cover it on a
recording. I can't remember the exact term for this license (statuatory,
fair use, mandatory?). They have to grant it to you as long as it has been
already recorded and released on a commercial recording by the original
artist (unless they can prove you will damage the song or original artist
your covering the song). You will be required to pay them whatever the
statutory rate currently is for songs on commercial recordings (About
$.08/recording sold), you will also have to clearly display the copyright
information (songwriters, publisher, and date) in your artwork. You can,
you have some clout, negotiate a flat fee for the recording or a reduced
rate. I.e. If you're someone like Michael Jackson, and are guaranteed to
sell a few million copies, they would probably grant you a reduced rate
based on the additional money you would make them.
Hope that helps.
From: Mike Feeney [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 10:25 PM
Subject: Copyright (slightly off-topic)
this is a question that has wandered through my mind many times and I
have never looked up a definitive answer.
legally, does an artist have to obtain permission to cover another
artist's song, whether live or on an album? What other legalities are
surrounding this issue? Are there any online sources where I can look up
this sort of info?
thanks a bunch,
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