If I’m a circus performer and want to use a combination of 3 songs and mix them together in my performance, am I allowed to mix these songs and use them it’s for a non-profit organization?

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If I’m a circus performer and want to use a combination of 3 songs and mix them together in my performance, am I allowed to mix these songs and use them it’s for a non-profit organization?

Or do I have to get a public performance license? It is for non-profit and I am not making any money off of it.

Asked on October 24, 2015 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, even if it's for a non-profit organization, you are not allowed to use (or adapt, combine, mix, etc.) someone else's copyrighted songs  in a perfomance without their permission, which will typically involve having to contact the rights holders or their representatives and getting (or paying for) their permission. That's the law; as a practical matter, it is of course entirely possible that if you did this, the rights holders would not know or care; but you need to bear in mind that if they became aware of it, they could take action.


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