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The law regarding remixng


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There has been a growing trend over the past few years of electronic producers finding acapellas of popular songs, remixing them and uploading the remixes to soundcloud or youtube. Kaytranada would be one example that comes to mind.


I'm sure a lot of these remixes are not authorised by the rights holders of the original recordings but maybe some are. If I did want to obtain a license to remix a popular song, is there a system I could use for doing this? Would I just have to contact the label directly?


Also, is it possible to obtain a license to actually put the remix on itunes, spotify etc for sale/stream under the remixer's artist name?



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Laws vary considerably by country, but my understanding is that you should contact the Performing Rights Organization (PRO), such as (in the U.S.) BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.


Keep a diary.  Where did you look?  What phone number did you call, when did you call, and who did you speak to?  What did they say?  When did you look?  What conclusion did you reach and why/how did you reach it?  You printed out all those web pages, didn't you?  Of course you did ...  ("This is the evidence that shows exactly why, Your Honor, I have – and at that time, had – reason to believe that I either infringed upon no rights or took the correct and timely steps to uphold those rights.  This evidence therefore shows that any infringement that I may now be accused of having committed was and is innocent.")


It is also, frankly, a very good idea to retain a truly qualified intellectual-property rights attorney who can review your project, bless it, and give you a signed letter on his or her letterhead to that effect.  (It actually doesn't cost that much, and a record label or publisher might require it.)


And so, this is "the difference that makes all the difference in the world":  due diligence.  You show by your actions that you knew (or, suspected) that the material belonged to someone else, and that you took pro-active steps to ensure that they got their share, and you can prove it.


"It's your '*'.  Cover it."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Remixing a song requires permission from both the rights holders of the sound recording (likely the label that released the recording) and the song itself (likely the author's publishing company). It's a big bag of hurt, particularly when you're an unknown.


EDIT: Just read Mike's post above. PROs don't apply in this instance.

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