Genealogy: Copyright issues to remember about music

002By Barry J. Ewell

Make sure you either have permission or own the music you are copying and do not violate copyright laws:

  1. As you set out to digitally convert your Vinyl LP and singles collection, remember it is legal to make copies of your own records and tapes for your own use. It is not legal to sell them or post them on your website for millions of your friends to download.
  2. It is not legal to keep copies of your records and CDs if you sell the originals. That is piracy, albeit on a small scale.
  3. Using a short snippet of a song as part of a new creative work such as a Web page would incur the need to pay royalties, so be cautious.
  4. You are not likely to be challenged if you make copies of old material that is no longer in print, so long as you don’t sell the copies or distribute them indiscriminately. The recording industry has a long tradition of tolerating and even encouraging this kind of activity because it tends to preserve and even create markets.