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Thread: Legal rights for playing music

  1. #1
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    Legal rights for playing music

    Hey all, just new here, looking to gain some knowledge about playing free downloaded music and paid music, what's the deal with legaly being able to play it in a club or venue? Do I have to have rights from the owner of the song in order to play it publicly or does the "free" and "paid" parts cover me.
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    Please define "free downloaded music".

    Any licensed venue is supposed to have the right to play music.
    SoundCloud ______ MixCloud
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    Say on soundcloud an artist will post a song and make it a free download, can I then use that song with no legal rights? and what about a song that has no way to purchase, I guess it just can't be played live?

  4. #4
    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    If it's genuinely made available for free then it's fine. If you have no way to purchase it, ripping it off is piracy. For which you're in breach of copyright, regardless.
    SoundCloud ______ MixCloud
    "Wrong speed, we've got it on the wrong speed. For those of you who are recovering from a hangover, that's gonna sound just right. " - Robin Williams

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    What if say there is a song for free download on soundcloud and it is a remix of an original, do I have to ask if the person that made the remixed song got permission from the original creator?
    Appreciate the information, thank you

  6. #6
    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    You ask whoever holds the rights to the song. When it's a legit remix approved by the original copyright holder, it's usually up for sale.
    SoundCloud ______ MixCloud
    "Wrong speed, we've got it on the wrong speed. For those of you who are recovering from a hangover, that's gonna sound just right. " - Robin Williams

  7. #7
    Deez Beats! KLH's Avatar
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    Keeping this simple, there's ownership and permission and being illegal.

    For ownership, unless you wrote or performed the track, you don't own it. For remixes, if you have permission from an artist to use the track, then you're covered... but only if that artist actually owns the track. Since most of us don't own tracks, let's just continue.

    For permission, this is where it gets murky quickly. Most commercial music lets anyone play it for personal use - which includes listening and practicing DJing. The moment you perform publicly (in the US), commercial music companies want to be paid. Since events are usually held in large venues, these venues usually have performance licenses with music companies that cover DJs. If the venue is a school, church, or government office, the "fair use" law tends treat the performance as an extended personal use.

    For being illegal, that's what happens if you aren't covered by what I've just described above. In other words, if the companies think you owe them, then they have the power to sue you. The neat thing is that most companies don't do this to DJs because DJs basically promote music which benefits the companies indirectly. As a result, most companies tend to ignore DJs.

    Note that this is on top of how you acquired the music to begin with. To companies, that's a secondary issue. If they do go after a DJ, it'd likely be for both issues: Performance licensing and track acquisition.

    UK (and Europe, I think) have a license that DJs must acquire up front in order to perform. If someone can clarify that, go ahead.
    Last edited by KLH; 09-04-2018 at 01:28 PM.
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  8. #8
    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLH View Post

    UK (and Europe, I think) have a license that DJs must acquire up front in order to perform. If someone can clarify that, go ahead.
    In the UK, you just need to have the venue being registered with the PRS. Pretty much any shop or public place playing music needs to have that licence, or risking being fined for a lack of it.
    SoundCloud ______ MixCloud
    "Wrong speed, we've got it on the wrong speed. For those of you who are recovering from a hangover, that's gonna sound just right. " - Robin Williams

  9. #9
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLH View Post
    For permission, this is where it gets murky quickly. Most commercial music lets anyone play it for personal use - which includes listening and practicing DJing. The moment you perform publicly (in the US), commercial music companies want to be paid. Since events are usually held in large venues, these venues usually have performance licenses with music companies that cover DJs. If the venue is a school, church, or government office, the "fair use" law tends treat the performance as an extended personal use.
    In the United States:

    Lets just clarify "public" & "Private" in KLH's notes above.

    Public; is when this is an event open to the public. Anyone can come/enter/buy tickets etc. A club, a concert, etc.

    Private; is when a person rents a venue (or owns the host venue) & people are specifically invited. A wedding, a birthday party. In this case, its not open to the public as a club or concert would be.

    To generally touch on KLH's general outline is that if its public the host (club, promoter etc) has to pay the companies in some fashion whether through a licence agreement in one way or another.
    Private events are exempt from royalty fees.
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  10. #10
    If you're in the UK this is a good resource for all licensing queries.

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