Guidelines for the use of music under copyright
A brief definition of the use of music under copyright and public domain
If you are new to the copyright issue you should read our other copyright infos too. This short paragraph is not a complete description of all possibilities, but it will give you the idea, what you must consider when you use music under copyright.
If you play, or perform, or record any music by any means - not written (this means invented / composed) by yourself - you are using music created by someone else and this music is most likely under copyright . Only if this someone else - the composer- is dead for more than 50 years, you are probably no longer required to obtain permission, since the copyright expires after this time period and the music becomes public domain. This is the case for most classical music and traditionals from all around the world.
However, if you use sheet music of traditionals ( MIDI files are electronic sheet music) you may already use a new arrangement or new version, which is again copyright protected! You will find more on this in Computer Music files and copyright, though the issue applies to all forms of computer music files- just replace the word Music with MIDI or with your music file format !.
Check the copyright notice ! Never remove a copyright
notice or alter them, this is falsification of a document ! (criminal
If you play music (especially recorded music ), or you are recording music ( includes all formats) that is not public domain you are using music under copyright and you need a license to do so !.
The next paragraph deals with this issue more specifically.
When do I need a license to use music under copyright ?
Every time you use such music for any other than your personal use . That is the law !
The user is liable to obtain the license first, before performing or recording such copyright protected music ! This applies to music on Web pages too! You can find another perspective on this tricky issue in Homepage-part of my home?.
You do not need such a license for your personal use, that is, if you make one recording of your playing for yourself, or play music for yourself at home
This is different again, when you intend to give away or sell your recording, or if your performance has an audience ! You will be surprised, that a few people constitute an audience, even in your own home! Most likely nobody will come after you, but at the moment, when it is classifiable as a public performance, you must obtain a license first! (copyright law) If you perform as a musician under a contract, the event organizer must obtain this license, check your contract carefully that this is not "downloaded" to you!. Most entertainment premisses have a 'blanket'-license, so you are covered, however, you might be required to make a list of the music you performed, so make and keep a record of it for yourself - always.In one case we know of such a list was demanded by court nearly a year after the event - could you recall every song you played at this event, even if you had only few gigs since then ?
You also need a (different ) license, if you record copyright protected
music. The moment you give only one copy to someone else, you are distributing
or duplicating the music and it is no longer your personal use, you must
get a license to do so first. You also record protected music
without a license if you "only" download "free" music
files! Many computer music users are not aware that their recordings and
exchanges are violations of copyrights. Read the article on Computer
music files and copyright and to say it again this
applies to all computer sound file formats !)
Since unauthorized or anonymous download is not controllable, anyone who provides for unregistered download of files containing music under copyright is already a target, and can be held liable for any damages copyright lawyers can dream up and get in court. The copyright laws allow for hefty fines - see the advertisements in your magazines - those apply to any violation of copyright, not only software - by the way, all computer music files are software too!
Any time you play music under copyright "live" or use recorded
music in front of an audience - you need a "performance" license
! For recorded music even an additional neighbouring rights license in
many countries (the number is growing see the copyright
info for more on this)
How do I get permission to use music under copyright ?
by contacting the appropriate licensing agency
Since nobody can track down all composers or publishers to obtain such permissions - called licenses - agencies have been established.
Such copyright agencies exist in nearly every country in the world and they all have bilateral agreements with most other countries' agencies, that means they look after the rights of all copyright owners, national and foreign, in their respective country. Therefore the coverage of copyright licensing is in effect worldwide.
BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE TO GRANT
YOU A LICENSE !
the latter applies especially to requests for altering songs / text etc.
Which agency is responsible for your licensing depends on the country you live in, but each agency knows the others very well and they will direct you to the right one, if you come to them by accident. Especially in the USA there are several agencies doing the same type of licensing for only a part of copyright owners but all know of the others and have the address.
The listing for Canada
For performing rights contact SOCAN Web page at http://www.socan.ca
For mechanical rights contact CMRRA Web page at http://www.cmrra.com
The listing for GERMANY
For all copyright issues contact GEMA Webpage at http://www.gema.de
their newly created Multi Media Agency info is at http://www.gema.de/eng/updates/cmmv.html
International office of BIEM, in Paris France (Mechanical Rights)
The above agencies have listings of their international affiliates, where you may find the one for every country you need.
CHECK ONLINE / search for copyright (in your country)
e.g > Copyright UK for Great Britain
there will be lots of pages - check the first pages of links and you shall find
ALSO TRY TO SEARCH FOR > MUSICAL CLEARING
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