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What's the score on copyright for playing in public (for free)?

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
I've been invited to play at my partner's sister's wedding reception (in a pub's function room). She's obviously given them to believe that I can actually play, and they rather foolishly seem to have believed her!

The pub will presumably have a licence for playing music publicly, but I've no idea where I stand on copyright and what music I can or can't play.

I realise this might be a prickly subject oft shied away from in open discussion but if anyone could give me any clues or point me to any points of reference where I can research it would be most appreciated.

I was planning to just play with some backing track (no idea yet on what system if any the pub might have for playing backing tracks). Are backing tracks subject to copyright? (I presume they are)

Are old Jazz Standards out of copyright now?

Or is it just a case of as long as its a totally amateur thing no-one cares anyway?

Not looking to rip the system (or any composers) off here - just want to understand the rules.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,962
It is the pub's responsibility to have a license, so as long as they know you are playing and permit you to play then don't worry.

Old jazz standards may or may not be out of copyright, but that doesn't matter. What might matter is a different kind of copyright, ie the copyright in the recording of the backing tracks. If they don't have any kind of warning or all rights reserved notice, then I would not worry and just go ahead.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
It is the pub's responsibility to have a license, so as long as they know you are playing and permit you to play then don't worry.

Old jazz standards may or may not be out of copyright, but that doesn't matter. What might matter is a different kind of copyright, ie the copyright in the recording of the backing tracks. If they don't have any kind of warning or all rights reserved notice, then I would not worry and just go ahead.
Many thanks Pete. That's reassuring to read. Cheers.
 
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