“I Can’t Do That?”: Copyright Issues With Events

You’d be surprised at how many people, during the event planning process, suggest doing something that violates copyright laws. It’s certainly not because they want to break the law – they just have no idea that, say, playing a cover of a song during a general session is illegal. Copyright law extends to events, even if they’re being put on for a nonprofit or for a private gathering with just a few people.

For instance:

  • Speaking Generally. As mentioned earlier, if you choose to play music at a general session, you need to pay a specific licensing fee for this replay.
  • Keep It Covered. When you’re hiring a cover band, you have to make sure they have a license to sing cover songs.
  • Moving Pictures. According to Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the U.S. Code), you must get a public performance license to show a movie at an event, even if you’re not charging admission.

This is just one more reason why hiring an event professional to coordinate your event is so important. Professional meeting and event planners can walk you through what’s legal and what’s not legal regarding copyright issues with films, music, plays, and other works that will be publicly performed.

Don’t risk getting a hefty fine – work with an event professional, and let them do the heavy copyright lifting for you!