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Musicians Insitute Library

Music Copyright and Licensing

This is a guide to basic copyright and licensing for musicians. NOTE: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT COPYRIGHT OR LICENSING PLEASE SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL.

Know Your Rights

Section 1101 of the Copyright Act protects performers' right to guard their live performances. You have the right to control:

  • The audiovisual recording of your live musical performance
  • The copying of any of your recordings of your live musical performance
  • The transmission or public communication of your live musical performance
  • The distribution of any illegal recordings made of your performance.

Be aware that some places have you sign a contract that waives these rights, thus allowing the other to record you and make it public. Always read what you're signing!

Please note that this guide is merely to educate people on the law and does not contain any legal advice. If you have a legitimate question about copyright, please consult with a lawyer.