Atlanta, GA asked in Copyright for Georgia

Q: Can I play copyrighted popular music in my podcast where I comment on it as it plays?

My partner and I are looking to start a podcast where we hit shuffle and let five or so songs play in the background while we discuss the songs and build a story on top of them.

We use the lyrics, mood, and artist’s info to pitch a short story, simultaneously commenting on the music and making jokes.

We plan to play the audio aloud between our mics so that it is audible but not very good quality. With us talking over it, it won’t be a clean recording of the song either.

Is this legal use? Can I ever hope to use ads in my podcast to generate revenue/cover costs? Should I junk the idea altogether?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA

A: Letting songs play in full, I don't think that is the best idea. You could go through all the time and effort only to have it blocked when you try to load it or share it online. Music companies are famous for blocking things like this. If anything, I would use really short clips (this is not legal advice, just general legal information only), and comment on them, so that perhaps you can take advantage of the "fair use" laws. Good luck. Attorney Steve®

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