Does my granddaughter need a permit to sing other artist's songs?
I need more information on street singing at the Santa Monica Promenade in Cali.
My granddaughter is 12 years old and has a permit to sing. My concern is that she will be using songs from various artists and does she need special permission or permit to sing songs from artists? I know there are things like copyright infringement and pirating. Hopefully someone can assist met. Thank you in advance.
Playing music at home at for a gathering of people you know is not considered a performance for these purposes. We are talking about a gathering of (at least some) strangers.
Live performance of a song is covered by having a compulsory license from ASCAP (Or BMI. For simplicity I'll just refer to the songs available from ASCAP). "Compulsory" in that the songwriter has no say in whether or not you can perform; you pay, you play. Any/every song on the list covered by ASCAP (or BMI).
Generally, the ASCAP license is paid for by the venue, not the artist performing. So if you are at a bar, nightclub, concert venue, or Carnegie Hall, the ASCAP license was paid for and arranged by the managers of the building. In fact, any city park that has a bandstand or outdoor arena/stage has also paid that fee (The licenses are generally annual).
Exception: Churches don't have to pay for an ASCAP license for music used in worship.
So we are really just talking about your granddaughter playing on a street corner or in a subway. In other words, busking (whether for pay or not). So legally she has to get a "performance license" that covers her right to play. That's about $700 per year.
But be aware that the enforcement mechanism is sending an invoice to her mailing demanding money or threatening a substantial copyright infringement lawsuit. The bill is likely to be for $10s of thousands, the lawsuit for $100,000 or more.
But the practical concern here is: Is an ASCAP representative going to hear her play and how is he/she going to know your name and address for sending the invoice/lawsuit? A business has an address, so it is really hard for them to avoid enforcement (also this is why businesses owners are the primary one responsible for the license). ASCAP, BMI and SESAC Force Local Coffee Shop To Shut Down Live Music. But how are they going to know your granddaughter's identity?
Lastly, whether or not your granddaughter is making money is irrelevant here. The legalities of copyright for songs don't depend on making money.