Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Non Profit Mix CD

Dear Rich: I have put together a playlist of others' songs that speak to an issue I am partial to. I would like to sell CDs of this playlist to raise funds for one or both of two organizations that work on this issue (child welfare / foster care). One of the organizations is an official non-profit, the other is the local government department that handles child welfare issues. I've read your posts regarding a variety of uses of others' music, but none to raise funds for non-profits. The licensing rules are the same for profit and non-profit causes. If you're reproducing someone else's songs on your CD, you will need a mechanical license from the Harry Fox Agency (pretty easy to get) and you will need a license from the owner of the sound recording (harder to obtain because you have to get it directly from the record company or via a music clearance agent). The Dear Rich Staff notes that you may be able to get away with selling your CD without permission but if any of the copyright owners find out about it, they can go after you and they may even go after the nonprofit if it's named as the charitable cause. In other words if you're infringing and want to take the risk for yourself, that's fine. But if you're naming a charitable cause on the CD (a more appealing copyright defendant) beware that you could be causing that agency to lose, not gain money.