Copyright Question: Filming With Live Music In The Background

by Ken M

Question: If you're shooting a documentary at a film festival with live music being played in the background, are copyright issues the same for live music as previously recorded music?

Law Office of Jaia Thomas | Answer:

Copyright law operates differently for unrecorded live performance. Live performances do not obtain copyright protection because they are not "fixed" as required by §102(a) of the Copyright Act.

However, The Federal Anti-Bootlegging Statute (18 U.S.C. § 2319A) criminalizes the "unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances."

Therefore, even though the performances do not retain copyright protection, due to the federal protection, clearance of the performances will have to be obtained from the performer(s).

Jaia ThomasAbout Jaia Thomas

The Law Office of Jaia Thomas is a full-service sports and entertainment law practice.

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This content is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice. No recipient of this content should act or refrain from acting on the basis of content without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counseling.

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