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27 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to buy second-hand vinyls?

It is legal Because of the first sale doctrine a person may freely sell a copy that they legitimately own. Copyright preserves the owner's right to make copies - Copy-right; once they have made (or ...
  • 166k
24 votes
Accepted

Legality of busking a song with copyrighted melody but using different lyrics to deliver a message

A song with the same melody and different lyrics is a derivative work. It does not matter whether the song is to be sung for money, or not. The copyright owner still retains the rights to the melody, ...
21 votes
Accepted

Will using a cover of a song in a film free me from legal obligations?

No, the musical composition itself (i.e., what you might express tangibly in sheet music) has copyright distinct from the copyright that exists on Led Zepplin's recording of the song. Your new cover ...
  • 3,249
16 votes

Does buying a song on Gumroad allow me to use it in my video commercially?

By "buying the song" on Gumroad you don't actually buy the song, you buy the right to do specific things with that song. I couldn't find the exact license terms, but for 800 Yen (about $6) ...
  • 6,237
14 votes

May I add additional lyrics to a copyright song without claiming any ownership?

general things on copyright Copyright law is very similar globally, due to the Berne convention on copyright. Ány country's copyright law grants the copyright to an author. Copyright is the exclusive ...
  • 20.6k
11 votes
Accepted

How can NaxosofAmerica claim copyright for classical music in Youtube?

I know that classical music is public domain, so no-one can claim that they own classical music. That's not quite right, at least not under US law. First off, "classical music" is a style, and music ...
  • 21.7k
11 votes

Copyright transcription of public domain music?

I originally wrote A "transcription" and an "arrangement" are not at all the same thing. But it seems that this was not quite correct. Transcription Merriam-Webste definers the ...
10 votes

May I add additional lyrics to a copyright song without claiming any ownership?

Trish’s answer covers the main point: you need a license, and the license can prevent certain uses such as modified lyrics. There’s a side note though: sometimes, you can use copyrighted works without ...
  • 311
9 votes
Accepted

Are Midi files copyrighted?

They can be, and usually would be. If someone uses a a keyboard or other instrument that records a MIDI file, that file is protected by copyright as soon as it is saved. Or if some person or group ...
9 votes

Are the title and author of a song protected by copyright?

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.
  • 48.4k
9 votes

Is the Scarborough Fair Melody Really in the Public Domain?

Yes Both melody and lyrics source back to the middle ages, as for instance described here. The difficulty could be to make sure you rely your derived work on a variant that is really in the public ...
  • 2,710
8 votes
Accepted

Performing music in public

Most countries have compulsory or statutory licences for exactly these situations. You enter a licence agreement with a collecting society, pay them licencing fees, and give them a record of the music ...
8 votes

How are MIDI files of copyrighted music licensed?

The midi is an artistic work and protected by copyright just as sheet music or an actual recording would be. It’s possible, even likely, that a midi file running free on the internet is itself an ...
  • 166k
8 votes

Auto-generating every possible melody to forstall copyright: will this work?

Seems unlikely that it will "forestall copyright infringement suits". Some jurisdictions, e.g the USA, say that "Works produced by mechanical processes or random selection without any contribution by ...
  • 8,573
8 votes

Is it ok to set up a private music website without royalties?

Technically, this is infringement Overview of US law In the US, Playing copyrighted music in a private setting for personal enjoyment and practice does not require any license or royalty payment. ...
8 votes
Accepted

Are the title and author of a song protected by copyright?

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 ...
7 votes

Are Midi files copyrighted?

I would say this is equivalent to asking is something typed on paper copyrighted. Yes or No, depending on the process that caused the text to be typed. If you copy a page of Shakespeare and print it ...
  • 9,593
7 votes

What would the copyright laws probably say about these 3 similar pieces of music?

There seems, to my ear, to be a degree of similarity between the first two works. The third does not sound, to me, very similar to either of the first two. That is not a legal question, and I am no ...
6 votes

Is it legal to buy second-hand vinyls?

After referring to Dale's fine answer, something about licenses and copying: You may have purchased an item with a license that allowed certain copies to be made. If you sell the item, the license ...
  • 28.3k
6 votes
Accepted

Parody or Infringement? (United States of America)

The question as worded implies that if something is a parody it is automatically fair use or allowed in US copyright law. This is a myth. First of all, in a copyright context, the term "parody" is ...
6 votes

Is this excerpt from a classical piece copyrighted?

As the question says the "Fugue in A Major" by Shostakovich is not in the public domain. The work was published in 1950, and so would not be PD under US law, and Shostakovich died in 1975, and so his ...
6 votes

Can musicians effectively sue politicans that use their songs without permission?

It’s tricky. I’ll talk about the general then the specific. In general, your notion of "didn't get permission" doesn't really reflect how the music industry works. Generally, a venue pays ...
5 votes
Accepted

Can anyone record a cover of a song I put on SoundCloud?

In the United States, when you distribute a recording of a nondramatic musical work, the law grants a compulsory mechanical license allowing anyone to cover the song provided certain formalities are ...
  • 5,667
5 votes
Accepted

To what extent can one claim copyright over a sound?

As for the subject matter (what can be protected), amplitude, frequency, harmonic pattern, duration etc. are all physical facts, and there is no protection for physical facts. The basic requirement is ...
  • 177k
5 votes
Accepted

Copyright of children's folklore songs

The burden rests on A to determine that the work is not protected by copyright, and there is no fool-proof registry where you can look up a particular work. One form of proof would be finding a copy ...
  • 177k
5 votes
Accepted

How do I give all the right credit to the Harry Potter company and John Williams if I create a variation on the theme song?

The Harry Potter company and John Williams may or may not want credit, but they almost certainly want money. You have to get their permission, at least for their creations. In the case of Für Elise, ...
  • 177k
5 votes

In the US, is it legal to download mashup songs from YouTube for personal use?

"Personal use only" does not excuse copyright infringement under US law. The uploader does not hold copyright, and neither gives nor denies permission to copy his creation. The law does not ...
  • 177k
5 votes
Accepted

To whom does copyright of an item belong, if a computer program is used to create it, according to the Deutsches Urheberrecht?

You are confusing economic rights in a computer program with economic rights in a work created using the program. The latter belong to the user of the program, though the rights in works made for ...
  • 27.7k

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