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SXSW Music 2014

Remixing, Mash-Ups, and Copyright Law

If you spend even 5 minutes on SoundCloud, you will probably run across some hot new blend of copyrighted music that has been transformed into a musical masterpiece through the art of remix and mash-ups. I hear from many aspiring DJs and remixers who want to gain a better understanding of how copyright law works in their medium, and how they can monetize their remixes and mash-ups. In this discussion, I will be explaining the differences between a "remix", a "mash-up", and a "cover song," and how that will impact what licenses they need to secure for video and audio postings of their creations. We'll talk about fair use, public domain music, and the creative commons license, and how each of those interplay with remixing. We'll also discuss how to get permission from copyright holders so that you can start making money from your awesome new creations - and avoid getting into trouble!

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  1. Is it a "remix" a "mash-up" or a "cover"? The answer to this question will denote whether you can use a mechanical license to re-record a song, or whether you are creating a derivative work and need special permission from the copyright owner(s).
  2. I made a killer remix/mash-up: how can I monetize it?
  3. If I need special permission from the copyright owner(s), how do I find them and what can I expect in terms of a response?
  4. Does "fair use" or "parody" ever come into play in the world of "remixes" and "mash-ups"?
  5. Are there things I should watch out for when using "public domain" or "creative commons" music for my remixes/mash-ups?



Christiane Kinney, Attorney, LeClairRyan, LLP

Meta Information:

  • Tags: copyright
  • Event: Music
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Legal
  • Track 2
  • Level:
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