Suppose If play some piece from sheet music that contains Copyright information such as:

Information: Copyright 2006 ABC Music Co. ... Reproduced by permission of DEF Music. All rights Reserved.

or such as:

This piece is published under license from XYZ.

I understand that I am not sharing the written music but playing it on my instrument. Is uploading of it on any sites like Youtube or SoundCloud wrong?

I read this and the part under "For other sounds, including field recordings...", I can say that it is spontaneous (played live) of me and I myself made it and no one else is in it. But "Does the recording contain any music or excerpts from other copyright works?(e.g. Movie Dialogue)" is confusing.

I saw this question which I think says that it is wrong and this which says I should get a license. Of course these are my interpretations.

1 Answer 1


A performance of copyrighted written music is copyright infringement. One of the bundle of rights that comes with a copyright is the performance right.

You can obtain a license to cover copyrighted written music, however, on a mandatory basis for a royalty amount set by law, rather than only with the permission of the copyright owner as is the case with other copyrighted works.

There are exceptions to the broad general scope of the the rights associated with a copyright, such as fair use, but a performance of instrumental music is not itself, in general, fair use.

  • 2
    Playing it in private or for a small group of friends would be fair use, recording it for publication wouldn't be.
    – Dale M
    Jul 24, 2017 at 10:01

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