A while back I found the same musician's pieces on two different websites. One was providing them under a creative commons license, the other was selling them under their own license, to be used as BGM for other works. I believe in this case it was the musician licensing their music under two licenses.

Still, let's suppose those sites were far sketchier. What is the due diligence I would have to do before relying on the license granted to me by either site?

Being contracted by a license-less third party to perform has been discussed before but I believe this question is distinct from that one.

1 Answer 1


You have strict liability for infringement of copyright whether you knew that the work was infringing or not (although due diligence could avoid punitive damages for willful infringement, or criminal copyright law violation punishments). So, you are liable even if you did your best to be sure that the person granting you the license had the right to do so.

The typical action taken to assure that the party granting the license in a commercial copyright licensing transaction has the legal authority to do so, is to receive a contractual warranty and representation that the person granting the license that the work is not infringing and the person granting the license has a right to issue the license. This is backed by a contractual term requiring them to indemnify and defend you from liability if you are accused of copyright infringement.

Of course, those promises and representations are only meaningful to the extent that the party making them has the means to pay a judgment entered against you for infringement if a court finds that you infringed a copyright owner's rights.

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    ...or is able to be identified in the first place. Typically the "offerors" on the sketchy places vanish the moment they would have to defend anyone pointing to the license.
    – Trish
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 21:17

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