Posting a cover song on youtube - copyright law

am i allowed to post a cover on youtube? if yes, what do i need to do so?


Asked 20 days ago in Ontario
Categories: Contracts

Answer Now

Sam Saverio Coppola

Answer by Sam Saverio Coppola

VerifiedQuebec lawyer

Hi, please read Section 29.21 of the Copyright Act (Canada) (reproduced below) which creates an exception for user generated content for non commercial use:

Non-commercial user-generated content
  • 29.21 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an individual to use an existing work or other subject-matter or copy of one, which has been published or otherwise made available to the public, in the creation of a new work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists and for the individual — or, with the individual’s authorization, a member of their household — to use the new work or other subject-matter or to authorize an intermediary to disseminate it, if
    • (a) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter is done solely for non-commercial purposes;
    • (b) the source — and, if given in the source, the name of the author, performer, maker or broadcaster — of the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it are mentioned, if it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so;
    • (c) the individual had reasonable grounds to believe that the existing work or other subject-matter or copy of it, as the case may be, was not infringing copyright; and
    • (d) the use of, or the authorization to disseminate, the new work or other subject-matter does not have a substantial adverse effect, financial or otherwise, on the exploitation or potential exploitation of the existing work or other subject-matter — or copy of it — or on an existing or potential market for it, including that the new work or other subject-matter is not a substitute for the existing one.
  • Marginal note: Definitions(2) The following definitions apply in subsection: (1)"intermediary" means a person or entity who regularly provides space or means for works or other subject-matter to be enjoyed by the public.; "use" means to do anything that by this Act the owner of the copyright has the sole right to do, other than the right to authorize anything.
In summary, if you create a new video and insert a legitimate cover song or you perform a cover version of an existing song and post it on YouTube purely for non-commercial use, then if you provide the source, if it is reasonable to do so, you should generally be fine. You should verify with a copyright lawyer the full facts as the section is complex. 

Hope this helps.

Sam Coppola

Posted 18 days ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Sam Saverio Coppola, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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