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Delmont

Legal rules for demo CDs and web pages

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Hi! TWO questions:

 

1. I want to make a demo CD to send to festivals and music venues. Is there a way to include cover tunes without having to pay royalties? (A friend says that the way to do it is to keep the songs to thirty seconds. True?)

 

2. I'd also like to put the same songs on a demo page on my website. Do the rules for CDs also apply to websites?

 

Thanks!

Edited by Delmont

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Hi! TWO questions:

 

1. I want to make a demo CD to send to festivals and music venues. Is there a way to include cover tunes without having to pay royalties? (A friend says that the way to do it is to keep the songs to thirty seconds. True?)

 

2. I'd also like to put the same songs on a demo page on my website. Do the rules for CDs also apply to websites?

 

Thanks!

The rules and law for copyright don't change ... but likelihood of enforcement does. [we cover most of this in the Stickies at the top of the forum ^]

 

Thirty seconds? Where did he get that? It is not true...so much incorrect information on the internet.

 

This also does not, as some may claim, fall within the 'Fair Use' application. If you were parodying the songs, fine, Fair Use would apply.

 

For demo purposes, on a CD [or any reproduction], as long as you are not selling copies of the cover tunes, odds are no one will come after you.

As to the website, same concept. You can't make them distributable [no download].

 

I'm not saying this is the 'legal' way [as I am not a lawyer], I'm just saying that you likely will not get sued since you are not profiting directly from commercial use of the material, and thus there is no loss of income to be corrected. At worst, you might get a C&D letter if you got caught, but unless your website is getting hundreds of thousands of hits a day, highly unlikely.

 

The moment you make the copyrighted material a 'for profit' product, you need to pay the compulsory license fees.

If you are really concerned, then pay the mechanical license fee [contact the Harry Fox Agency].

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Thanks! That helps.

 

I'm also wondering how to figure out whether a song is public-domain. Wiki is one place. None of the sites I've found that claim to offer public domain song lists are actually useful.

Edited by Delmont

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current rule of thumb for public domain is anything pre-WWII...

 

BTW, the recent 9th Circuit CoA ruling on the Madonna copyright infringement case regarding de minimis usage does not support your associate's '30 second rule', and in fact went against the 6th Circuit Court's ruling that ANY use is infringement, even if it would be unrecognizable to the listener. In light of that, we should assume it better to err on the side of caution; pay the license fee! Just imagine how much it has cost in legal fees already, and typically, when two rulings are at odds, the case could go to the Supreme Court for review.

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