The use of music videos and lyrics on a website

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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The use of music videos and lyrics on a website

If I had a website that allowed visitors to generate a booklet that made reference by name to artists on a page within this booklet. The receiver on opening the booklet can click the link left and get directed to a Youtube page with that artist musical track playing, or a link to a page with the lyrics of a favourite song. Am I impinging copyright laws? Even if there is no music on my website or lyrics they are only links making reference to the sites that do have them.

Asked on July 25, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You cannot yourself reproduce, play, provide, etc. videos, soundtracks/music, or lyrics without the permission of the copyright holder (the artist or the record label, depending on their internal arrangements and who owns what), which permission is generally based on paying a royalty or fee. If you provided this material yourself without permission, you'd be violating their copyright and could be sued. 
But you can link to another's page, since *you* are not reproducing or providing the copyrighted material: so long as that other page is independent of and not affiliated with or under the control of you, this should not be your violation of copyright. (It be the other page's violation, but that is not your problem.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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