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I am developing a platform where users can search songs by BPM and Key.

The only thing that came to my mind is: can I show songs' titles and authors after the user does a search, without violating the copyright of the song and its author?

The platform is a commercial project, so I'm earning money through users' monthly subscriptions to the website. I am not earning money from the songs themselves, since I'm showing just the title, author, BPM, and key of the song, without letting the user reproduce it or listen to it in any way.

I know songs' titles do not have copyright, but does the combination of song title + author have it?

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    While stated in the first person, this is asking what the law is, not for specific legal; advice, and should not be closed on that basis. if closed, i will vote to reopen. – David Siegel Feb 12 at 17:56
  • A discussion of this question has been opened on Law Meta – David Siegel Feb 12 at 18:17
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The title and author(s) of a copyrighted work are not themselves protected by copyright. Many libraries and booksellers and online reference cervices provide such information. Two examples are the IMDB and the ISFDB.

That the proposed service is commercial and profit-making is not relevant. Newspapers and other publications include movie and book reviews which list titles and authors. Since the facts mentioned are not protected by copyright, the commercial status of the project does not matter. (In general a copyright infringement is still an infringement even if no money is charged, although the damages may be less. And a non-infringement does not become an infringement by charging for it)

This is true not just in the US, but in every country that adheres to the Bern Copyright Convention, which is all but a very few of the countries in the world.

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  • that's great, what if with songs info there's the song's album cover? – Silvano H. Feb 15 at 9:41
  • @Silvano H.The album cover is almost certainly protected by copyright. It is likely that showing it along with info about the album, to identify just what album it is, would constitute fair use under US law, particularly if the image was significantly reduced in resolution. But like all fair-use decisions, this one is not as clearcut as one might like. Many sites do display album and book covers -- look at what Amazon does, for an example. – David Siegel Feb 15 at 13:36
  • I should note that the way Amazon displays covers is unlikely to be relying on fair use, since they probably have secured the rights to sell them, including the ability to display a cover of the product they will be providing. – Ángel Feb 15 at 22:13
  • @Ángel Not when the sell used books i suspect, including ones now out of print, for which they also display covers. One might also look at the way Wikipedia displays cover art on articles about books and albums. They are i8ntentionally stricter than US law would require, to avoid any possible problems, or that is their intent at least. – David Siegel Feb 15 at 22:34
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Facts cannot be copyrighted. Such a project does not violate copyright law, and if you're in the United States, it is protected by the First Amendment.

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