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Legal or Not?

My friend and I record vocals on hip hop instrumentals as a hobby. We basically do freestyle and we think they're not too shabby and would like to create a website to share, NOT SELL, our music with friends and anyone who visits. We're not in the music business and have no intentions of selling CDs or any of the recorded material, but woudn't prevent people from downloading the songs for their own entertainment.

Is this legal to do?

Thanks for the input.


Pro Audio Guest Mon, 04/03/2006 - 12:12
Thanks for all the input everyone. I talked to a lawyer buddy of mine who specializes in business law, not necessarily intellectual prop. Anyway, he said it is not actually legal to do something like this. He did say that if no profit is being made that most that would be done is a cease and dessist letter telling you to remove the content immediately.

Sounds like a lot of potential drama that is probably not worth doing. Just FYI- I brought this topic up on a couple other boards and it created a lot of heated debate about piracy.

I just wanted everyone here to know that I'm totally for the rights of the artists. I know how much hard work is put into making music and to have someone take your work and use it for their own gain is dispicable.

My intent, truly, was nothing more than a couple of buddies doing freestyle karaoke on some instrumentals wanting to share it with some friends. Thanks to all.

RemyRAD Mon, 04/03/2006 - 17:11
I think you should still do it since it is comedy for comedy's sake? Screw them if they can't take a joke. It's a parody! And since the intention is for fun and laughs and not profit screw the morons! Now if somebody wanted to offer you a contract, then you have to be concerned about the royalties and legal ramifications but not until then.

If people are so frightened about violating a copyright then nobody should be writing any kind of popular songs anymore since mathematically speaking, there are only so many different 4 or 5 note Theamatics possible. One of the reasons why we dial 10 phone digits instead of the former 7. After a while the combinations repeat and so it doesn't matter what kind of song you write any more, it's automatically a copyright infringement! " My sweet Lord....." I think that says it all?

"We the people......"
Ms. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Thu, 03/30/2006 - 22:33
Well for heaven's sake, don't steal an entire song! Utilize short samples, manipulated within a loop based program like Sony Acid or any of the others. LESS IS MORE

I mean all these other fools do it and make millions! You're not selling anything so screw the legalities. Put some stupid lyrics to it and call it a parody they would be embarrassed to try and sue you especially when the judge throws it out of the court. Can you say Al Yankovic? I think you can "eat it"?

Only one fourth Polish
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 04/29/2006 - 05:39
I am making electronic music, what if I use a well known TV show title track...say: Knight Rider and chop it up until it is unrecognisable, is it illegal?

If anyone is interested in hearing the sample then email me:

I actually took the sample from the Kinght Rider tune and chopped it and hacked it up... I put so many effects on it I cant even figure out what part of the song its from! :lol:

Help me out, am I illegal? :?

x matt x

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 03/31/2006 - 11:03
LOL, thanks Remy, I completely hear you on that. Honestly though, we're just doing it for fun and don't really have that much time or the knowledge, lol, to over complicate things. Basically, all we do is go down to the local record store, by some CD singles that include instrumental tracks and throw it in our boom box, hook-up some mics on a splitter and record to tape. The set-up is pretty ugly, haha, but it's a good time. Just a couple of old friends from high school getting drunk and having fun. Was thinking about the website more for our out of the area friends and random people. Originally thought about a Myspace page or something, but that seems difficult too....hahaha.

So, anyone know if what we want to do is illegal or not? Or does anyone have suggestions on how to share our music without much hassle?

Randyman... Sat, 04/22/2006 - 18:26
If you are simply copying songs, rapping on them, and posting them - then YES this is illegal! It is like me posting songs by Medeski, Martin & Wood (My favorite instumental Jazz/Funk band) but adding me rapping on top of them - and offering this copyrighted material for FREE! Their Lawyers would no be too happy with me (and I would be butchering their songs :) But I can't rap to save my life).

If you are using "Royalty Free" type loops or samples - then you are fine (or if you can chop up those samples into unrecognizeable chunks). But simply re-posting copyrighted music (even with your lyrics) is a no-no (even for free download). Those Samples you hear on every song on Top-40 Radio get "Cleared" for a reason...


Thomas W. Bethel Sat, 04/01/2006 - 07:18
So much of the current laws are based on intent. If you are very concerned about this matter only a copyright lawyer can set your mind at ease, In most big cities they can be found in the phone book. Most of them are EXPENSIVE, but so is the fine for using copyrighted materials without permission.

Off hand I would say that if you are NOT selling these and are doing it for fun you should be ok but I am NOT a lawyer so take this with all that it is worth.

People have been sued for less. Seriously I would check with a copyright or entertainment lawyer if you decide to publish your material either on the web by burning it on a CD or other media.

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 04/16/2006 - 17:59
Hey NoobyDoo

I don't know if you would be interested or not but.........

I own a small online record company. By small i mean its not even online yet. Im still gathering songs for it.

I offer a service for people to list their songs on it, for free. I gain no money what so ever from it.

People can either listen to the track online or download it.

If you would like you track/tracks listed on the site. Please email at for more information.


BigTrey Sun, 04/23/2006 - 12:20

As a professional legal assistant, I can tell you that you can get sued for infringement even if you don't sell the songs that you have done. The trick is like Remy said "less is more" use short samples and manipulate them. With copyright it has been held in court that if a person uses a sample that "reminds" others of the original then you are not in violation of copyright infringement. In your case you would be in violation of copyright infringement, because you are using the entire instrumental. It has been so common place in the hip-hop world for underground artists to use instrumentals of mainstream artists for their mixtapes, but many of them don't realize that they can be sued for it. Just thought I would offer you some of my knowledge on this subject. But please don't take this as legal advice because I am not allowed to give that. :( (sometimes that is hard not to do). It's confusing because we all hear these cover songs that haven't been cleared and it seems like everyone is doing it, but if they only knew that they could end up in a lot of trouble. Do something like Remy said, make a parody of the original song, Weird Al has been doing it for years and hasn't had anyproblems because the songs are different from the original versions. Hope that helps. Peace Out.

BigTrey~President/CEO - BG Recordz
"Professional Legal Assistant by day, Record Label Exec and Producer by night.