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Do I Need Permission to Sell Songs on a Mixtape?

In a previous post about legal rights on mixtapes and compilations, we addressed a question about who held the rights to songs on a mixtape.  A reader recently sent in a similar question:

Q: Is it legal to download music from local artists and make mix cd’s for profit?

A: It is not legal to make a profit off of local artists songs without their permission and/or paying them a fee/share of the profits. After all, it is legally their song.

You have to obtain a license from an artist’s label to duplicate that song and sell it. If you don’t, you’re violating copyright and could end up in trouble. Just ask DJ Drama, who was the subject of the infamous Mixtape Raid in 2007.

Want your music law questions answered? Submit it here for a chance to see your answer in the next Legal Corner.

The purpose of this article is to foster an open dialogue and not to establish firm policies or best practices. Needless to say, this is not a substitute for legal advice. In any particular case, you should consult with lawyers experienced in the field you are in and licensed within your state. Depending on your specific situation, answers other than those outlined in this blog may be appropriate.

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