Evan M. Greenspan, Inc.    what is it?      defined      do i need it?      public domain
Music Clearance
What is Music Clearance?

-Do I need it?

Clearance is required if you plan to use music for a purpose restricted under copyright law, including:

  • Making copies of the music
  • Creating a new work based on existing music
  • Distributing copies to the public by sale, rental, lease or lending
  • Performing the music publicly

Still, there are many cases where music clearance is not required. Examples include:

  • The musical work is in the public domain
  • Live performance of music in an ASCAP/BMI/SESAC licensed setting (without sets or costumes)
  • Live performance of music in the context of a religious service, in a church, synagogue or other place of worship
  • Use of music in face-to-face classroom teaching;
  • Excerpting a limited portion of music for purposes of review or criticism.

The US copyright law includes provisions for fair use, which allows that copyright owners do not always control every use of protected material. To the dismay of many, the law does not set out exactly what a fair use is, leaving it to be worked out between copyright owners, users and the courts.

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