Wondering if I’m understanding this correct.

I can’t (or at least not supposed to) play any song that is copyright w/o the authors permission? At least not play it and let others hear it w/o paying up (or getting permission) to the author.

I’ve been concerned about this for a bit now. Today I worked at a coffee shop and ask the owner if he had open mic nights. He said NO. Due to ‘him’ having to pay copyright fees, or if he didn’t, paying large fines for copyright infringement. He don’t have open mic nights as of right now due to this rule that he’s afraid of breaking and having to pay (tens of) thousands in fines.
He said for 25 years he had open mic nights, but as of ‘now’ he ain’t hip due to someone catching up to him and making him pay. He said whoever (you or me) did a copyright infringement song was not relevant. He, as the biz owner had to pay the fines.

I wonder, who gets the fees for Bach and Beethoven songs?
I’m also thinking of eagles songs by don henley who apparently don’t want anyone to play his eagles song w/o paying up.

Anyway, if I have to get permission from the author to play their song, this kinda takes the wind out of my sail as to playing any song that I didn’t write (and I’ve not wrote any at all, so what would I play?).
I don’t want to steal from others. But I surly don’t want to ask or pay for permission every time I want to learn someone else’s song.
Always fearing that I may be doing copyright infringement.

As for the few songs I’ve done that I’ve posted to youtube. From memory, they all say copyright, but permission grated I think. But even that, I have considered taking them all down for fear of infringing on someone else’s tune.

Anyone have any notions on this?

You cannot play songs for money without the copywrite holders permission. The copywrite holder is not necessarily the writer.
In the case of the coffee shop he is making money off people playing music so he pays a small fee to(there are many companies who cover copyright fees) and can hold open mics.
In your case youtube handle all this and you get nothing.

Thanks for the insight Rick.

Your comment makes me feel better about playing someone elses tune at the very least.
I just don’t want to infringe on anyone. Nor pay any fines…

Don’t live in fear. Youtube will take your video down if it’s not allowed. I had the same fear when I started posting stuff on youtube and I only do covers. They’ll advise when you upload the video that it is recognized as a cover of copyright material and then it won’t allow you to make money of their adverts on your video.

If you pay attention to other amateurs, we all play copyright material and I’ve never heard of anyone getting in any kind of trouble. If you create a cd, there’s a different process to go through. Again don’t live in fear, play whatever song grabs your fancy and sleep well. You’ll be fine.

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Just in addition, re Bach, Beethoven etc…these tunes are now in the public domain. Most tunes, after a certain period move to the public domain ; 80 yrs or so after an artist’s death or something like that.

Cheers, Shane

Me either, except for them folks that are playing eagles songs. At least that’s what I’ve read here on this forum. I can’t remember what the consequences were, but I think who ever covered some of these song were advised to remove the song that was covered.
As of right now, I only think I know covers of others music. I don’t loose sleep over it, but I don’t want to step on someone else’s ‘invention’ (music) either.

Interesting. I really was wondering since they are both long gone.

Guess I will continue doing my covers of other folks songs and just keep my eye’s open to if someone don’t want me to play their song.

Sounds like I perhaps am covered in that I’ve no intention of thinking of trying to making money off any song I’ve ever done. I play for my own enjoyment and the songs that I do post, I’m more like looking for info on how I can do whatever song better from others listening to what I do.

Thanks for the comments folks.
My mind is mostly at ease now…
At the very least, I feel somewhat better informed.

Copyright lasts for 70 years after the author’s death. After this period, the works enter the public domain and can be exploited without the permission of the copyright holders.

@Lisa_S will tell you different. She got a YouTube copyright strike for her cover of Anchorage by Michelle Shocked. That said, that’s the only time I’ve ever heard of an amateur cover getting a strike from anyone other than Don Henley, and I certainly haven’t lost any sleep over it. In any case, your YT channel is only endangered if you get 3 strikes in a 90 day period!


Is that because they are dead? :wink:

This is an interesting topic on the coffee shop, YouTube as mentioned above will handle it themselves anyway.

So a bit of context, I owned and ran my own independent coffee shop here in the UK a few years back and this is exactly the case here. There used to be 2 bodies here that you could pay an annual fee to that would basically give you the right to play music (ie Spotify or music radio) in the shop and that fee would cover “your” royalty payments for the artists. The organisations merged in, I think, 2018 to become a single entity called PRS (quite coincidental for us Mr Smith guitar owners!!). This would also cover live music playing in the shop for open mics or individual artists to play if we hosted it. The fee was about £200 per year back then so probably somewhere in the region of £250 to £300 now.

I appreciate we’re talking a different country with your encounter @HappyCat but I’d be really surprised if the approach was that much different. With that assumption, and yes we all know what assuming can do, does that mean the coffee shop plays NO music whatsoever in the shop? I’m curious more than anything as that would make for a pretty dull environment imo!


In the UK, anyone can seek a licence - there are many types - from the Performing Right Society (PRS). Live music or Playing Music At Work covers cafes, bars & open mics etc.

Your cafe owner won’t be liable for any fines if he pays his due fee for a licence.

We have had this discussion several times.
You will not get taken down.
you will not face legal action.

Are you sure it was a strike and not a claim?
They are very different.

Three strikes is serious - that is why Justin removed all Eagles content.
Claims are nothing at all to be concerned about.


Socio posted this in Lisa’s thread so it was a strike


I didn’t see that post - jeez louise!

It’s hard to believe isn’t it? I asked her exactly that question, she confirmed it was a strike, and later in the thread (which is linked above in my reply to @happycat Jim) someone posted confirmation from the horse’s mouth in the shape of a screenshot of a post by Michelle Shocked basically declaring war on covers)

What I don’t understand is if this is a “google…declaring war on artists…” why aren’t there a lot more of these artists also telling their fans to cease and desist? Or is this Michelle person over-reacting?

Only the greedy ones Like Paul MacCartney, Don Henley, Gun and Roses, Jimi Hendrix’s sister ect.
The smart ones like John Mayer have this attitude.


Fair enough, I wouldn’t call that trouble. Just a warning. :wink:

Similarly, the BBC used to have a series where artists taught you how to play their songs. What Finneas says at around the 4.30 minutes mark is what they should all be saying.

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That Michelle Shocked post (whoever she is - I genuinely don’t know her) is so funny. Don’t you dare play my music or I’ll sue, Love Michelle!!!

The thing is it guarantees I’ll never listen to her music now so she’ll make nothing from me. It’s like when the Rolling Stones songs disappeared from Justin’s songs app and I immediately stopped learning their songs. There’s plenty of other artists to listen to, music is not in short supply!


Someone was calling for me? :rofl:

Ian @theoldman66, you are perfectly right, I received a strike from Michelle Shocked back then. Except from from being shocked (pun intended :joy:) for a moment, actually no harm was done. YouTube took the video down, I received a strike - giving me room for another 2 until my account would be in serious trouble. There was a little copyright-related tutorial I had to watch and then wait 90 days for a clean sheet again. That was it. :slight_smile:

Well not totally. Before that happened, I really loved to play that song. Since then, I probably only played it once again, the joy was all gone. The message/screenshot James shared in my thread was like a slap in a face of a fan. So she gets what she desires and her (in parts quite nice) music will vanish in mist over the years…

For me personally, I will continue to cover music I love and if it’s good enough to share, I will do so, except for known strikers - but that’s also mainly music I would not play anyhow (because of lack of skill :rofl:).