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Copyright and Your Band: Cover Songs (Part Two)

DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended as legal advice, for specific information pertaining to your situation consult an attorney who specializes in entertainment law.

(Read Part One

Copyright often remains in effect long after the death of a song’s writers: U.S. copyright protection currently lasts 70 years beyond the life of the writer. Most songs you will wish to perform and record are still copyrighted. Songs protected by copyright earn money for their owners (even after the actual writer has died.) To perform, record, or alter copyrighted songs you and your band will need to seek licenses from the song owners, and/or the publishers and agencies that administer their copyrights.

Copyright and Your Band: Cover Songs (Part One)

DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended as legal advice, for specific information pertaining to your situation consult an attorney who specializes in entertainment law.

The holidays are upon us and with the plethora of Christmas albums released every year this is a great time to talk about the copyrights involved when you and your band choose cover songs. Almost everyone, from the guys at an open mic night to superstars like The Beatles, perform and record cover songs. Bands sometimes even change the lyrics to suit their personal styles. Covering songs by other writers expands your rep and gives audiences something to hum along with, but performing, recording, and altering songs written by someone else requires copyright licensing, familiarly known as getting permission in exchange for money.