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Speaking of trolls...

my daughter got her BA in broadcast jounalism. One of the things she learned is three are people that go around to restaurants and if they play music from a radio station the restaurant can get fined for playing songs without a music license. I'll have to put this question to her.  

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Like most everyone else, I've had my share of videos blocked by both Vimeo and YouTube.  I just got a notice from Vimeo on a video I've had posted since 2009.  Go figure that one...

I've contested every single time, claiming fair use (in that I'm simply providing my artistic interpretation of their music) and claiming I specifically give credit to the musicians and have never claimed ownership of anything.  Over the years, I have prevailed on all but two, I think. 

Once the copyright owner (or one of their trolls) notifies the video site host, they automatically flag the song.  When you contest it, there's a set time limit for the copyright holder to respond to your protest.  If they don't, and the overwhelming majority fall into that category, you'll never hear another word about it.

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In Canada we have Socan (copyright protection for singer) . I sent  6 emails & 4 emails from 4 different people say there is no law forbidding you to play music in your yard for personal use. Oh but 2 email from 2 different people come back & say "you need this license (so for @$222 I can play any song I want publicly for the year.). Which isn't bad if we didn't have from March to Sept between 12  to 19 hours of daylight. I could play sequences that I created in Superstar all year.

Nevertheless I go by those other emails. Howbeit I go about things differently as I go to Indie singers. I tell them what I do, show them my videos, promise them I will give them proper credit, with their website etc. Then they get back to me & some say "here, lets see what you can do with this Christmas song I wrote". A nice upbeat song, catchy & off I go. I say do you want me to pay for the song & they say, no....heck your doing all the work & giving me free promotion. Others I buy the songs from. I will tell you what, these artist help me beyond words. Via Christmas contests, I ask...I need a good song for my wife's birthday, Eddie bush comes back & says here is my gift to your wife. A fantastic song....made my wife's day.  Some of the singers are right on the door step of Stardom.  I have autographed cds, pictures, I received word that there is a new autographed picture coming my way. 

So I mix Indie singers Christmas music with some mainstream Christmas music in my display.

On a side note. Choose your words wisely when you ask Indie singers for permission. 

Mega Arch is catching on to this Indie singer stuff. I said to Mega Arch.....how would you like my sequence to "Santa's Got A New Ride"...he said yes...I sent it...but I said there is one catch....you can't buy the song....you need to ask the artist for the song. Good practice. Now Mega Arch is a hero for doing a song called Breathe. 

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2 hours ago, NTJP said:

Speaking of trolls...

my daughter got her BA in broadcast jounalism. One of the things she learned is three are people that go around to restaurants and if they play music from a radio station the restaurant can get fined for playing songs without a music license. I'll have to put this question to her.  

... and the answer will be YES they can sue displays.  There are even people who are sent out to bars/etc and check to see if they have closed captions displayed on the TVs.  If so, they need a license for THAT as well.  (I kid you not).

One of the things I used to do 'while in the Biz' (and no one in the biz says they are in the biz) was manage an on-line radio station for a large media company.  On line radio has even MORE restrictions and laws.  I dealt with them for years.  In fact, I was even enjoined in a suit by the MafiRIAA while having a perfectly legal and licensed station.  Did I say I don't like them?

Can they come to your personal (not commercial) display and whack you?  Legally yes.  Double so if there is ANY money changing hands - even if it is all donated.  BUT, and here is the key, the first Xmas display they wack will IMMEDIATELY get the 'War on Christmas' folks out in full force.  The ensuing bad press will paint them in such a negative light that it is better for them to just look the other way - for now.

Now, if you are running a commercial display - say like at a mall, or light park where you collect an entrance fee, you BETTER have a Synchronization License for EVERY recording you are using.  

Disclaimer:  It's been several years since I was in the biz.  Laws may have changed since then - but if history is any indication they have stripped MORE of your rights.  I am not a lawyer.  LOR's official stance is that we offer no advice on how copyright laws are interpreted and you should contact a copyright lawyer should you have any questions.  The only music recordings LOR offers for sale are fully licensed by the artist and the composer.

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2 hours ago, lightzilla said:

....  Now Mega Arch is a hero for doing a song called Breathe. 

I don't know about hero - very strong wording. But it is rewarding and fun knowing in small ways we're helping to promote these indie artists. And as you mentioned, I did sequence Tenille Arts' charity song "Breathe". She was bringing awareness to a cause that meant a lot personally to her - Cystic Fibrosis. She donated all of her proceeds - so it made it real easy for me to want to help her out. Now she has some major Nashville contracts. As you said - door step of stardom.

Thanks for leading me this way a few years back. Many of my song choices are from indie artists. I don't see that changing for this upcoming 2017 season either. Already have a few commitments...

Back to the copyright topic - With the artists' permission we're talking about, it's still not a green light for the song not to be blocked. If it's a "cover", especially any song Sony has rights to - bamm.. If it's a "public domain" song, you're probably ok. What Scottzilla and I try to do is get an original song from the artist. Then YouTube can kiss it.. 

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Ive had no issues with Youtube or Facebook and I post all kinds of video with music....out of everyone on the forum..how many people have gotten sued???  Sure they give out warnings but its nothing more than a warning and we all use copyrighted music.  Better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission..........

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Radio stations get their music free! Have advertising rights that is also in copyright laws. We can use the music in our public displays and use the advertising right part of the law, just like politicians do. The artist themselves can ask us to stop using the music in public and can try to go to court to stop us. We can prevail because of the advertising portion of the copyright laws for music. It was to protect radio stations etc. Here is why we win in court. We buy the music, we can play it copy it but can not sell it. As long as we hold the fair use right by purchase we can do anything but sell the music. Pretty simple. If they challenge we fall under public advertising. As long as we do not sell or make a profit we pay nothing. 

 

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That is certainly NOT the case for commercial stations (almost every popular broadcast station out there is a commercial station). Commercial stations pay a royalty for every play of every song that they broadcast (with very few exceptions).
I don't know about educational and public radio stations.


Sent from my Droid Turbo via Tapatalk, so blame any typos or spelling errors on Android

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23 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

That is certainly NOT the case for commercial stations (almost every popular broadcast station out there is a commercial station). Commercial stations pay a royalty for every play of every song that they broadcast (with very few exceptions).
I don't know about educational and public radio stations.


Sent from my Droid Turbo via Tapatalk, so blame any typos or spelling errors on Android
 

I recall that it's 10 seconds of a song = $.10 in royalty fees.

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11 hours ago, Derkngoogly said:

Radio stations get their music free!

 

10 hours ago, lightingnewb said:

I recall that it's 10 seconds of a song = $.10 in royalty fees.

Both of those are incorrect.  

Terrestrial analog radio must pay the composer royalty (via ASCAP/BMI/SESAC), however they don't pay the performance royalties.  Digital stations, which I know for sure includes online stations and satellite radio  (and here is where my knowledge is limited.  I don't know if this includes HD FM or not which IS digital, but is also terrestrial) pay BOTH a composer royalty as well as a performance royalty (via SoundExchange).

There is no such thing as 'If I only play X seconds of a recording I don't have to pay a royalty'.  As soon as 1 note of any recording plays, you owe the composer royalty, and possibly the performance royalty if you are transmitting digitally.

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1 hour ago, DevMike said:

 

Both of those are incorrect.  

Terrestrial analog radio must pay the composer royalty (via ASCAP/BMI/SESAC), however they don't pay the performance royalties.  Digital stations, which I know for sure includes online stations and satellite radio  (and here is where my knowledge is limited.  I don't know if this includes HD FM or not which IS digital, but is also terrestrial) pay BOTH a composer royalty as well as a performance royalty (via SoundExchange).

There is no such thing as 'If I only play X seconds of a recording I don't have to pay a royalty'.  As soon as 1 note of any recording plays, you owe the composer royalty, and possibly the performance royalty if you are transmitting digitally.

I just remember the radio hosts helping some artist raise money by playing 10 seconds of the song to get them some royalty fee equal to $.10 ... I don't know much more than that.

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I use my display at my business and get the annual BMI license. Problem solved for only $250. I will say they were not sure what to charge as it was not their normal usage.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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On 12/31/2016 at 5:01 PM, DevMike said:

Now, if you are running a commercial display - say like at a mall, or light park where you collect an entrance fee, you BETTER have a Synchronization License for EVERY recording you are using.  

In my limited research, this too is what I found.  It seems that the synchronization license is different than the license to publicly perform it.  The difference, though, is that for a performance license, you'll pay the BMI -- who represents the music industry (They're one of three large conglomerates - ASCAP, BMI, SESAC).  The Sync License is purchased directly from the publisher.  It is usually a one-time fee and is negotiated through the publisher.  This means you could have music from several different publishers, and you'd have to get a "sync" license from each. 

If you're anything like me, this gets really confusing rather quickly. I'd love to have an industry professional give us a final word, as I feel like this comes up every other year or so.

Edited by lkcubsrule

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2 hours ago, DSolmes said:

 

I use my display at my business and get the annual BMI license. Problem solved for only $250.

 

So, you only play music from composers that are part of BMI only?  If you play any that are ASCAP, or SESAC, you are still breaking the law.  Better check the composers on all your tracks.

1 hour ago, lkcubsrule said:

 It seems that the synchronization license is different than the license to publicly perform it.  The difference, though, is that for a performance license, you'll pay the BMI -- who represents the music industry (They're one of three large conglomerates - ASCAP, BMI, SESAC).  The Sync License is purchased directly from the publisher.  It is usually a one-time fee and is negotiated through the publisher.  This means you could have music from several different publishers, and you'd have to get a "sync" license from each. 

100% correct.  Joining and paying royalties to BMI/ASCAP/SESAC only allow you to PERFORM the work - IE, broadcast it for the enjoyment of others.  Broadcast here means something in the most general sense, not just via a radio transmitter.  Playing a song through speakers is considered a broadcast.

As soon as you use that work in ANOTHER work that you intend on distributing you must secure the sync license.  Again, in the broadest sense - having people come see a light show is a distribution.   So, just playing music publicly for the enjoyment of others?  Royalties to ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.  Using a musical piece in such a way as it is integral to something else?  Synchronization rights MUST be secured.

Sync rights are negotiated with the copyright holder, which may not necessarily be the composer.  Sync rights are negotiated for a particular RECORDING, and not on the composition itself.  Take a look at this:

http://www.newsweek.com/60-versions-leonard-cohens-hallelujah-ranked-303580

So there are 60 different versions of the same song.  Now you want to play ANY of them on terrestrial radio.  No problem.  Leonard Cohen is going to get his cut (via BMI since he was part of their organization).  No one else makes a dime.  Play it on Satellite radio:  Mr. Cohen is still going to get his cut, but now we need to know WHICH of the many recordings did you actually play?  The one from Rufus Wainwright?  He gets his cut from SoundExchange (since this was a digital transmission).  Play it in your movie 'Shrek':  You need a sync license from Mr. Wainwright.  You will negotiate that directly with him (well, his management).  Here is the REAL kicker - your sync license will cover ONLY what you negotiated.  

Its 1978, and you are producing what will become a TV show which will become a hit and where music is essential to the plots:  "WKRP in Cincinnati".  Each song you play in that show, you negotiate a Sync license for.  Its the 1970's, a simpler time.  A time before DVD or even main stream VHS.  You are on a budget and are not thinking about future sales.  When you negotiate you SYNC licenses, nearly all of them are for use on broadcast TV ONLY, and then ONLY for a limited number of years.  A loophole in the then laws allow you to pay reduced rates because this is shot on tape, not film (tape was considered inferior and not long-lasting, unlike film)  No other medium, and hard set expiration date.  After all there is NO money in those other mediums.

The show goes into syndication and becomes a HUGE hit.  Licenses are still in place.  All is good with the world.  The licenses expire.  Everyone stops watching -- all the music is gone.

VHS and DVD are now a HUGE market.  You want to release the series on DVD - it's beloved and will make $.  HOWEVER all the sync licenses have expired or are invalidated because of the distribution medium that you did NOT negotiate for.  You attempt to re-negotiate the licenses so you can distribute the DVD.  Well, you have a hit now and it is going to be EXPENSIVE.  Result:  replace the music with generic sound a-likes.  People revolt!

This happens FREQUENTLY.  Two come immediately to mind:  "Married With Children" and "Stripperella" (don't judge, the biz I was in was animation).  Both title songs are replaced with generics (Originals by Frank Sinatra and Kid Rock respectively).  

Sometimes the whole deal falls through:  In the episode "Sheesh Cab Bob" (Bob's Burgers), Bob is supposed to be driving his cab with the song "Across 110th Street" (Bobby Womack) on the radio.  The song was in the production almost all the way up to the air date. In fact the closed captions from the initial airing (and initial Netflix release) are from that song.  HOWEVER, it was replaced with something created in-house.  Netflix has recently replaced the episode with one that has correct CC.

Sorry for the TL;dr post.  I'm kind of passionate when it comes to copyright law and licensing. :P

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We are all doomed.

We would all be in violation for nothing more than playing our car stereo with our windows down. How about on the lake with the wake towers with 10,000 watts of music being broadcast to the guy/ gal holding on for dear life on the tether. A simple BBQ at the park, Christmas party at work and the list could go on and on.

Unless you are profiting from it I do not think any of us small residential users have to worry. Does ABC and the rest of the networks pay a royalty while they share the videos of the Christmas Light contests?

That's IMHO.

JR

 

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48 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

Why would this even be in open discussion?

JR

Because even if it's a non-issue, knowing the actual facts and truth is an important concept.  

To address the "car windows down" comment, there is a difference in licensing between personal use and public performance.  That's why you don't owe a license fee for playing your CD in your car each time (technically you paid a license fee when you bought the CD), but a radio station does.    The same concept applies to TV and movies; ask a bar owner sometime about fees paid to display TV content in a bar. 

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Anyone who feels there is a waste of time discussing something is asked to please move to another thread.  This goes for ALL discussions, not just this one.  Thanks.

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2 hours ago, jtomason said:

Because even if it's a non-issue, knowing the actual facts and truth is an important concept.  

To address the "car windows down" comment, there is a difference in licensing between personal use and public performance.  That's why you don't owe a license fee for playing your CD in your car each time (technically you paid a license fee when you bought the CD), but a radio station does.    The same concept applies to TV and movies; ask a bar owner sometime about fees paid to display TV content in a bar. 

You ever heard those audio systems at the car shows, same concept. I was just throwing that in there my opinion is there would be some serious argument if a lawyer ever turned to the jury and asked "have you ever hosted a BBQ or Christmas party and played holiday music for your guests to hear, enjoy and dance to"?

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Yeah, ignorance of the law or lack of enforcement of the law doesn't make it legal :-)  But that's a whole other topic. :-)

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5 hours ago, DevMike said:

Its 1978, and you are producing what will become a TV show which will become a hit and where music is essential to the plots:  "WKRP in Cincinnati".  Each song you play in that show, you negotiate a Sync license for.  Its the 1970's, a simpler time.  A time before DVD or even main stream VHS.  You are on a budget and are not thinking about future sales.  When you negotiate you SYNC licenses, nearly all of them are for use on broadcast TV ONLY, and then ONLY for a limited number of years.  A loophole in the then laws allow you to pay reduced rates because this is shot on tape, not film (tape was considered inferior and not long-lasting, unlike film)  No other medium, and hard set expiration date.  After all there is NO money in those other mediums.

The show goes into syndication and becomes a HUGE hit.  Licenses are still in place.  All is good with the world.  The licenses expire.  Everyone stops watching -- all the music is gone.

 

Yep.  Some episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that were on broadcast TV are not available on VHS/DVD because they could not secure rights to the original movies for those mediums. 

Photographers too license their work based on where and how it will be used.   National ad campaign vs. local event, one-time use versus perpetual rights, all affect the price.

 

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So the point was brought up about displays being on the radar of RIAA/etc in one of the posts I hid.  The poster of that did have a good point (the message was hidden for how it was said, not what was said, so I bring that part back out into the light).

Are decorators, even ones who solicit donations for themselves, on the radar of RIAA?  Probably not.  Should you worry?  No, probably not.  Previous discussions have pretty much documented that fact.  Even I said a few days ago:

On 12/31/2016 at 5:01 PM, DevMike said:

BUT, and here is the key, the first Xmas display they wack will IMMEDIATELY get the 'War on Christmas' folks out in full force.  The ensuing bad press will paint them in such a negative light that it is better for them to just look the other way

However, that does not mean that just because they are looking the other way NOW means they will continue to look the other way in the future.

I have personally dealt with these people in a commercial setting.  These are the same people who forced us (that would be me and my previous partners NOT LOR) to hire a lawyer to prove we were 100% legal.  Sending them copies of licensing agreements, our play logs, and our proof of payments to ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange was NOT ENOUGH.  We had (on our best months) around 1,500 listener hours per month (if you do the math, that means we averaged about two and a quarter listeners per day.  Tiny?  We were NON EXISTANT.  We ran NO ads and made NO money on the stream.

We STILL had to hire a lawyer to threaten them with a counter suit before they (begrudgingly) gave up.  That is not conjecture.  It is not hearsay.  To try to understand the RIAA and/or licensing is to try to understand string theory and not be Steven Hawking.  Here is another story (which is also fact, not conjecture):

The RIAA are the people that are supposed to be protecting artists.  An artist and composer who is/was active in Xmas displays was at an amusement park when she heard one of her compositions.  Per the law. and much RIAA foot stomping, she should be compensated for that (side bar:  I do not know if it was something that needed a sync license or not.  But even if it did not, she was the composer and should have been paid a royalty each time that song was played).  She was not.  So she goes (rightfully) to the RIAA -  After all, they are the ones that are SUPPOSED to represent her.  They did nothing.

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45 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

You ever heard those audio systems at the car shows, same concept.

Are you a promoter of shows or a producer of expositions/etc?  Because what you are implying is that you know for 100% certain that those events are unlicensed.  Unfortunately, you would be wrong.  If the promoter of the expo didn't secure them, then the venue secured public performance rights from ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.

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2 hours ago, DevMike said:

Are you a promoter of shows or a producer of expositions/etc?  Because what you are implying is that you know for 100% certain that those events are unlicensed.  Unfortunately, you would be wrong.  If the promoter of the expo didn't secure them, then the venue secured public performance rights from ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.

No to both. (I hosted and promoted a bunch of them while in the Army) and I guess we had different rules we had to follow, Certainly never had any problems at my duty stations for 25 years. No one ever asked, and I guess I nor any of my Commanders ever thought about playing music over various sound systems to allow our soldiers and family members a place to get together and have a good time would be an issue since many believe, we bought the music and we could do anything other than make a profit with it.

After reading your comment a few days ago I realized that yes, I was blind to those rules/ laws. Even at 52 its never to late to learn.

With that being said I politely left the conversation after the other comment not because I believe in censorship, lord knows I gave almost 26 years of my life to defend our Constitution but because I was simply done expressing my opinion since I had stated it a few days ago.

 

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Just as a summary to anyone reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong:

1. LOR Displays and any residential display is subject to licensing laws when an FM transmitter is involved, even if we legally own the music. (i.e an MP3 file bought off of some music service [Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Music...]

2. Once money, even donations, is a part of the picture, the display is subject to licensing laws.

3. Sync Licenses are the potentially best route for noncommercial displays... but must pay a license fee per each song(?) to any of the conglomerates that represent the artists/composers.

4. Working with indie singers/groups that write their own songs would be best, you can make much for reasonable offers (and longer-lasting ones) with them.

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11 hours ago, lightingnewb said:

Just as a summary to anyone reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong:

1. LOR Displays and any residential display is subject to licensing laws when an FM transmitter is involved, even if we legally own the music. (i.e an MP3 file bought off of some music service [Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Music...]

2. Once money, even donations, is a part of the picture, the display is subject to licensing laws.

3. Sync Licenses are the potentially best route for noncommercial displays... but must pay a license fee per each song(?) to any of the conglomerates that represent the artists/composers.

4. Working with indie singers/groups that write their own songs would be best, you can make much for reasonable offers (and longer-lasting ones) with them.

1 - The FM transmitter actually has nothing to do with it.  Broadcast is used in the loosest sense as in 'you are playing it and others can hear it', regardless of medium.  

2 - Legally speaking - even if you do NOT accept donations you are still subject to licensing laws.  Those who do accept donations can expect a harder time in court, should they be targeted by the RIAA.  

3 - Sync licenses (as I read the law) would be required in ALL cases.  You are not just playing the work for the enjoyment of others, you are incorporating that work into and making it integral to another work.

4 - Working with any artist (owner of the copyright) is preferable to trying to license using the organizations.  Good luck doing that however.

More importantly:

5 - Has it happened?  Will it happen?  Do I need to worry about it?  Should any of this discourage you?

We have stories of folks who have contacted the appropriate parties and have someone on record saying that it won't be a problem.   However we also have to question if the person contacted had the legal authority to make that claim.  Remember too that if that report were challenged, even if the decorator WON, unless you were specifically named in that you are not a party to that agreement.

No one as of yet has been targeted, as far as I know.  

IMHO (and the opinion of others before me), unless you are FOR PROFIT you don't need to loose any sleep over any of this.  The RIAA has proven time and time again that they are stupid, but I don't think they would be THAT stupid as to go after an Xmas display.  Imagine the blow back once it got on national TV that the RIAA has sued someone for their Xmas display, something designed to spread joy.  

Most problems with a private display occur because a neighbor is angry.  As of right now, I know of only 2 people who have had legal issues outside of the common ones (nuisance, and code violations).  Both of them were visited by the 'Men in Black' (FCC) for having a FM transmitter that was over the legal limit.  None from the RIAA, and I doubt that even if you were reported by the Grinchy neighbor they would do anything.

---

Side bar:  "Gee Mike, why does it appear that you argue that the laws DO apply, yet think the organization tasked to monitor compliance is a bunch of jerks?"

I have a love hate relationship when it comes to the RIAA.  Yes, I firmly believe that an artist should be compensated for their work.  I rely on copyrights to ensure that I am paid for what I do.  However IMHO organizations like the RIAA are nothing but a protection racket - they force artists to be a part of their organization under the auspices of ensuring the artist gets what is due to him.  HOWEVER on the other hand, they have created some of the worst legislation on record when it comes to 'the little guy'.  They make it nearly impossible for those who want to be legal to actually BE legal.  

 

Disclaimer:  

None of this should be relied upon as legal advice.  It is option only.   Laws may have changed.  I am not a lawyer.  

LOR's official stance is that we offer no advice on how copyright laws are interpreted.  You should contact a copyright lawyer should you have any questions.  

The only music recordings LOR offers for sale are fully licensed by the artist and the composer.

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