I am looking for some ways to raise money for our 40th class reunion. Someone on the site had mentioned making CDs of music and selling them. What about copyright infringement?
By Carol from Saint Louis, MI
As long as you own the music there is no copyright infringement. You can only legally make copies of CD or copile a CD of various music if you have and own the original CDs with the music on them. As soon as you sell one of those CDs you can be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on who owns the rights.
I think Suntydt and I are saying the same thing, but to clarify, you must own the copyright or it must be original music that you wrote the lyrics, wrote the music score, and produced yourself, to avoid prosecution or lawsuits for copyright infringement if you reproduce and sell without a legal agreement of permission from the current copyright holders.
In other words, you may "own" a Beatles CD that you paid for, and you may sell or trade that CD as you wish, but once you copy and or duplicate the same CD and sell the copies, without permission from the owners of the Beatles' copyrights, you are in violation of copyright law. (A sidebar that doesn't really matter, but either the estate of Michael Jackson or Sony owns most of the Beatles' copyrights.)
Truth be told, a lot of up and coming artists let these permission-less incidents slide by and won't prosecute as they want the exposure. However, the drop dead, bottom line, is the original artists/producers could change their minds about "free exposure" on the breath of a breeze and sue you for "selling" said copies for all you are worth and much much more than you probably have if you have no legal agreement to do so.
I'd drop this idea like a hot potato and start looking into other fund raising methods. Who ever suggested this as a money making project without considering royalty payments to copyright owners was obviously unaware of the law and the consequences of bypassing that law. Please don't risk it.
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