Cover song samples posted on a web page

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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Cover song samples posted on a web page

Post by bluesmaker001 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:06 am

Hope somebody can answer this question...

I am in a band that plays a lot of cover songs at the clubs. In an effort to generate more interest in our band, we would like to post some song samples on our web page. If my band records a cover song, are we prohibited by copyright laws from posting a sample of the recorded song on our web page? Is there a limit to the length of the sample? If so, what would we have to do to be able to legally do this?



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Post by CopyrightAid » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:09 pm

Hi bluesmaker001...

I am sorry to say this, but it is illegal without the consent of the copyright owner.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that it is also illegal to perform someone else's songs in public without their consent. Section 19 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act states that "The performance of the work in public is an act restricted by the copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work."

Of course loads of bands perform cover versions, and the simple truth is that a) the copyright owner probably does not know you are doing it, b) unless you are making a significant income, there is little for the copyright owner to gain by prosecuting you.

Distributing copies of cover versions of their song via a website it's getting a bit more dangerous. Certainly your ISP should shut your site down pretty fast if they are notified of the infringement. On a related note, if you are selling copies of your performances, (i.e. CDs), and these contain cover versions, you should really be paying royalties. :(

If you take the time to read and understand the legislation, you actually find that a lot of things we all do with music is not allowed, but in most cases there's nothing for the copyright owner to gain by taking action.

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