What to do if I run my own web hosting company and have a local band as a client that wants to post music on its website of songs that were originally by other artists, rather than songs they have written themselves?

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What to do if I run my own web hosting company and have a local band as a client that wants to post music on its website of songs that were originally by other artists, rather than songs they have written themselves?

Is this legal for them to do? Should I make a waiver releasing myself and company from anything that should occur? If it is legal, should there be a disclaimer stating that all original copyrights/trademarks belong to their respective owners?

Asked on December 28, 2012 under Business Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal unless the band gets permission from the rights owners. Copyright prevents others from adapting, performing, distributing, publishing (including posting), etc. musical works without permission.

Generally, the web host is not liable for copyright violations by its clients, though you may need to take down their site if served with a cease and desist notice by the rights holders. You should have an agreement with your clients under which you make clear that 1) you do not have any input into or control over what they elect to post; 2) notwithstanding the above, you will comply with all intellectual property laws and will take down content which is found to infringe other's intellectual property rights--and further, that they waive any claims against you for taking down their content if it is reasonably believed to infringe; and 3) they will indemnify, or compensate, you for any/all costs or liability you incur if they violate a third-party's intellectual property rights.


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