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Cover song permission: Producer or client?


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  • Noob

So, I think that's a tricky one:

Someone hires you as a producer, engineer and artist to record a COVER song for him. You are either a freelancer or a studio owner.  Who is responsible for obtaining the mechanical license for the song? Is it legit that you just do the job and deliver it (for any use he intends) without any involvement of yourself with the copyright issues?

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I would say if they own the final work and if you are paid a fee, they are responsible for the legalities.

 

Think on it this way, really, they should have obtained copyright permission BEFORE asking you to record the song. Then, this would completely have made sense.

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Very good points David. When I think about it, those would be precisely the reasons why I would want to see the copyright permission obtained before undertaking the work. If permission wasn't obtained by the individual commissioning the work then the buck stops with the person(s) making the recording. They are ultimately responsible for what they produce.

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Everything in writing, always. Concerned? Get it specified. Good rules of thumb :)

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  • Noob
On 19/02/2016 at 2:18 AM, HoboSage said:

Here's my opinion - U.S. civil law only.

 

If you have the right and ability to supervise or control infringing activities of someone else and you financially benefit directly from the infringement, you can be held vicariously liable for their direct infringement even if you had no knowledge that what they were doing was infringing a copyright, and even if you're not directly involved. [Google "vicarious copyright infringement"; http://copyright.gov/docs/regstat072204.html].

 

So, in a scenario where you're a studio owner and you only helped a client with an infringing cover recording - even if it was only by giving the client access to your room and gear - you' could still be vicariously liable for their direct infringement, because you, as the studio owner, would likely be seen as having had the right and ability to supervise or control the infringing recording session, and you likely received a direct financial benefit by being paid by the client for the studio time.  But here, you do have knowledge that a license is needed because you're recording a copyrighted song, and moreover, you yourself are directly involved in recording the cover.  In fact, it's all you recording the cover.  Your infringement here would be direct infringement.  Whether you'd ever actually get sued for any infringement under either scenario is another question.

 

 

 

 

 

Outstanding, thanks!

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