Los Angeles, CA asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports and Intellectual Property for California

Q: what is the copyright law on an someone performing another artists song on social media?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In general, copyright law gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive right to perform the work publicly. This means that if someone performs another artist's song on social media without permission, they may be infringing on the artist's copyright.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the fair use doctrine may allow for limited use of copyrighted material without permission in certain circumstances, such as for criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. Whether a particular use of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use will depend on a variety of factors, including the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount of the work used, and the effect on the potential market for the copyrighted work.

Another exception to copyright law is the compulsory license, which allows certain uses of copyrighted musical compositions without permission, as long as certain requirements are met, such as paying a statutory royalty fee. This may apply to certain types of performances, such as public performances of songs in certain venues or by certain types of performers.

It's important to note that social media platforms may also have their own policies and procedures for handling copyrighted material. For example, many social media platforms have procedures for reporting copyright infringement, and may remove infringing content or disable accounts of repeat infringers.

In general, if you want to perform someone else's song on social media, it's a good idea to obtain permission from the copyright owner or to determine whether the use falls within a legal exception, such as fair use or the compulsory license.

To register a copyright for your music, you can follow these general steps:

Create a recording of your music: To register a copyright for your music, you will need to have a tangible copy of the music, such as a sound recording. You can create a recording using your own equipment or hire a professional recording studio to produce a high-quality recording.

Complete the application: You can file an application for copyright registration online through the U.S. Copyright Office website (https://www.copyright.gov/registration/). You'll need to complete the appropriate form and provide information about the work being registered, such as the title, author, date of creation, and any other relevant details.

Pay the fee: You'll need to pay a filing fee when you submit your application. The fee will depend on the type of work being registered and the method of registration you choose. The current fees can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Submit a copy of the work: You'll need to submit a copy of the work being registered with your application. This can be done online by uploading a digital copy of the work, or by mailing a physical copy to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Wait for processing: After you submit your application and fee, the U.S. Copyright Office will review your application and may contact you if they need additional information or if there are any issues with your application. The processing time can vary, but it typically takes several months.

Once your copyright registration is approved, you will receive a certificate of registration from the U.S. Copyright Office. This certificate provides evidence that you are the owner of the copyright and can be helpful in enforcing your rights and pursuing legal action against anyone who infringes your copyright.

It's important to note that registering your copyright is not a requirement for copyright protection, but it can provide additional legal protections and remedies in case of infringement. Additionally, you may want to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney who can help guide you through the registration process and advise you on other legal strategies for protecting your music.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: Agreed with James.

In addition if your performance is shown in social media, the robots most likely will detect the violation and flag you.

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