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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceThe Business of Music(Moderator: BGuttman) Question about distributing self-recorded CDs
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Organologique et plus!

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« on: Mar 28, 2012, 08:57PM »

Hello guys,

This summer I plan to record a CD of various trombone solos, duets, trios, quartets, etc. with myself playing all parts. I would like to give a number of these as gifts to relatives and friends.

For this sort of purpose, do I need to be concerned with any sort of copyright issues? Am I doing anything wrong by distributing these recordings?

I have minimal knowledge of this sort of thing, so figured I would seek some input from the friendly TTF gurus  Good!


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Thomas Matta

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 28, 2012, 11:00PM »

You need the copyright holders permission.

If you can't negotiate an agreement. A compulsory license can be used instead:


Thomas Matta
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 28, 2012, 11:29PM »

I'm not a lawyer, but I just did some reading on this.  This article was helpful:


It's not at all clear to me that MrPillow needs to obtain the copyright holder's permission.  He is proposing a private, non-commercial use of the material (with presumably a limited audience, not like MP3-sharers who share files with thousands of their closest friends).  This may fall under the Fair Use exceptions.

What is Fair Use and what is not (according to this article) is not fixed by statute, but evolves as the court interprets it.  100 years ago Harriet Beecher Stowe lost a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement for someone who translated Uncle Tom's Cabin into German without her permission.  That wouldn't be the result today.

Here's a quote from the article:

With a definition of personal use to work with, we can start to map out
which personal uses are lawful and which infringe. A standard paradigm for
construing the copyright law holds that any unlicensed use that falls within
the literal terms of § 106, which gives copyright owners control over fixed
reproductions, adaptations, and public distributions, performances, and
displays,135 violates the copyright law unless it comes within the terms of an
express statutory exemption.136 As I will explore in detail below, I believe
that rubric is at best misleading, but it will give us a place to begin. Even if
the standard paradigm accurately describes the law, there is a large class of
personal uses that are simply outside of the scope of the current copyright
statute. That zone, smaller than it used to be, includes all private performances
and displays.137 It includes all private distributions, since the copyright
owner’s distribution right is limited to distributions “to the public.”138 Copyright
owners have no copyright rights that would allow them to control
private performances, displays, or distributions. Nor have copyright owners
any right to prohibit people from making unfixed reproductions of copyrighted

If that interpretation is correct and current, it would seem to allow MrPillow's proposed use.

Copyright lawyers cheerfully invited to stomp all over me.   :D


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« Reply #3 on: Apr 07, 2012, 07:26AM »

From a practical standpoint since you are making this recording to give to family and friends the chance of the copy right police getting wind of it are practically nill unless one of those family members or friends were to turn you in (or post it on the internet, which would be more likely).  Then there is the ethical question: OK you bought the sheet music and some use of this music does fall under the classification of fair use.  I'm not a lawyer and it appears to take a lawyer to figure this stuff out.  Me personally since I'm not charging for the recordings and giving them as gifts to a limited audience I would go ahead and make your recordings and not worry about it, but I would put a note on the CDs for personal listening only, do not copy or distribute on the internet.  This won't protect you from a legal standpoint, but it might keep Aunt Meg from posting it on the internet so all her friends can hear how good her nephew is.  I know that composers have a right to thier income which they get partly from recording rights, but we amateur musicians who legally buy their arrangements and music should have some rights to use the music we've purchased from them.  Back in the days of cassette recorders no one would have even asked this question, but now just because the recording medium that an amateur uses for this purpose is better we have to now worry about paying to make a recording of ourselves to give to a few family members and close friends.     
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