If music is performed at your club, you will need to obtain a public performance license in order to avoid copyright infringement liability. Whether the music is live or recorded, performed on a regular basis or as part of a one-time special event, proper licensing is required for the public performance of copyrighted music.
The requirement to obtain a license to publicly perform another’s copyrighted song stems from Title 17 of the United States Code (17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.). In short, U.S. copyright law affords the owner of a copyrighted musical composition the exclusive right to perform, or to authorize another to perform, the work publicly. As such, the unauthorized public performance of a copyrighted musical composition is a violation of the owner’s rights.
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