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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Uploading YouTube Personal "Music" Videos
Can I upload a school performance?

 9:58 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been trying to find information on the web regarding this issue - but can't. My question is whether or not I can upload a personal non-profit performance from school of someone singing a song? Though the song is copyrighted itself - can you upload personal performances even though you are performing a song from another hit singer? Can't figure this one out.




 10:56 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The following does not constitute legal advice:

Public performance of a copyrighted song without agreement or payment is technically infringement.

In addition, the school in question may also have rights over anything filmed on their premises.

In practise most people just upload to YouTube and don't care about such matters.

Google doesn't care either unless the rights holder(s) complain, in which case they take it down.

The chances of you receiving a lawyer's letter appear to be pretty slim.

Living with your conscience is a matter for you.


 11:01 pm on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does it make any difference, legally, that you don't make any money from the videos you upload?


 1:35 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does it make any difference, legally, that you don't make any money from the videos you upload?

No it doesn't.

A lot of people think that infringement is okay so long as no profit is made, but this is wrong. In practice you are less likely to be prosecuted, simply because copyright holders more often than not can not be bothered with hunting down every small-time infringement. Prosecuting fans also tends to make for bad publicity, but that didn't stop Prince.


 6:33 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the information!


 7:24 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Actually if you follow the letter of the law the performance of the song at the school would be an infringement to begin with as far as I know unless they had permission of the copyright owner.

Just to add you might argue that many bands play covers but either them or the club is paying a fee for that right. ;)

But... INAL..


 9:17 am on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I remember when I took part in school productions of musicals, the school would have to pay some sort of fee to actually stage the show. The shows would also be filmed and sold as videos...but I have no idea how this applies to online video sites.


 6:16 pm on Feb 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

The shows would also be filmed and sold as videos.

You need an agreement with the copyright holder to do that as well. The right to perform the show publicly doesn't carry over to reproduction via video.

There is three parties with interest in such a production. The copyright holder of the play, the school and finally the guy making the video unless it was a "for hire" which should be specifically spelled out in the contract.


 8:36 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Last year we posted a video on my wife's website set to music, in a non-profit environment. We contacted the publisher, pointed them to the non-live version, and since there was no money involved they granted license to display the video gratis. They were going to send paperwork, but never did. :-)

The point is the big bad music companies are sometimes not so big or bad, and often foster creative non-profit efforts - as long as there's no piece of the pie to take, they won't be too concerned. Contact the publisher and ask, it's not likely they'll refuse and is the safest bet.

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