Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Cover versions/ parodies and copyright?

Stevie Nazarenie

Recommended Posts

Internet forums are about the last and worst place you would ever want to go for such serious, potentially financially lethal misinformation. Go to the copyright office online, go to ASCAP/BMI, and finally, Harry Fox agency, the biggest rights holder worker liasoner fixerupperer.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone in the know need no more info... anyone?


Also where is the "walk the walk" posting?

I think the basics are.. If you intend to charge money for using someone elses music you need to pay a license fee... same if you want to play them live, venues will need a specific license.


And if you want to sort of do a cover but dont want to pay I think that there has to be a dfference of three notes or more from the original.. (you often hear stuff like that on telly where its obviously meant to be a parody so it goes off key etc)...


But as mentioned... its a serious matter where you really need expert advice.


You can actually do what you want.. but if you ever start getting famous or making money from it then you can get sued.



U.S. copyright law


Since the Copyright Act of 1909, in the United States there has been a right to record a version of someone else's previously recorded and released tune, whether of music alone or of music and lyrics.[7] A license can be specifically negotiated between representatives of the interpreting artist and the copyright holder, or recording of published tunes can fall under a mechanical license whereby the recording artist pays a standard royalty to the original author/copyright holder through an organization such as the Harry Fox Agency, and is safe under copyright law even if they do not have any permission from the original author. Other agents can also help facilitate clearance including Limelight, the online mechanical licensing utility powered by RightsFlow. The mechanical license was introduced by Congress in order to head off an attempt by the Aeolian Company to monopolize the piano roll market.[8]


While a composer cannot deny anyone a mechanical license for a new recorded version, he or she has the right to decide who will release the first recording of a song; Bob Dylan took advantage of this right when he refused his own record company the right to release a live recording of "Mr. Tambourine Man".[7]


Live performances of copyrighted songs are typically arranged through performing rights organizations such as ASCAP or BMI.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and also to add to that heres some UK law facts




7.Restricted acts

It is an offence to perform any of the following acts without the consent of the owner:

Copy the work.

Rent, lend or issue copies of the work to the public.

Perform, broadcast or show the work in public.

Adapt the work.


The author of a work, or a director of a film may also have certain moral rights:

The right to be identified as the author.

Right to object to derogatory treatment.


8.Acts that are allowed

Fair dealing is a term used to describe acts which are permitted to a certain degree without infringing the work, these acts are:

•Private and research study purposes.

•Performance, copies or lending for educational purposes.

•Criticism and news reporting.

•Incidental inclusion.

•Copies and lending by librarians.

•Acts for the purposes of royal commissions, statutory enquiries, judicial proceedings and parliamentary purposes.

•Recording of broadcasts for the purposes of listening to or viewing at a more convenient time, this is known as “time shifting”.

•Producing a back up copy for personal use of a computer program.

•Playing sound recording for a non profit making organisation, club or society.

(Profit making organisations and individuals should obtain a license from PRS for Music.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The statutory royalty for a song under 5 minutes used to be around 9 cents per copy sold, unless you can negotiate a better deal with the publisher. However I'm completely unsure about the situation where no physical copy is ever sold or downloaded , but the song appears on the internet in a streaming format. I think it's the responsibility of the website to pay the standard streaming royalty?


Although I often hear that you may record a song without permission, (but must pay the royalty) if is has been previously recorded, I think it's publication that actually cuts of the exclusive rights of the author. Hence no permission is required to record a published, but not yet recorded song.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...