Is anyone relatively familiar with copyright laws?

let’s say i learn a song on the piano. for example, a celine dion song or something and then i post a video to youtube. is this considered copyright infringement? because i guess there are techinincally ways to download the instrumental song i posted. and is it copyright infringement to come up with your own instrumental version of a song which already exists?

or what about instructional videos on youtube that teach you how to play piano or guitar versions of songs? like tutorials? are those legal?

sorry if i’m making a big deal out of nothing. it’s just that copyright laws are so complicated and can be tricky to figure out. thre’s a lot of grey area


That’s all legal. I think the only problem would be if you’re making money off of it, but I’m not entirely sure.

I see that you are from Canada, and I do not know how laws vary between Canada, the US and anywhere else. The other issue is that, as far as I know, youtube videos/songs could could be heard/seen in different parts of the world.

Contact your library and ask for the number to the Canadian Copyright Office, though it might go under a different name. Give them a call. No need to identify yourself but simply pose the question.

In the US, you can contact the US Copyright Office and make the same query. They are quite nice.

"General Questions
"If you have any question that relates to copyright or registration.

    Email: Ask a Copyright Question *
    Phone: (202) 707-5959 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free)
    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday to Friday"


It’s pretty complicated. I would consider your examples to be NOT legal, unless you find out different. When you are using other people’s music without permission or payment, it’s like stealing from them. Even if they are already millionaires. An exception would be if you are part of a big institution that has some kind of blanket permission that they have subscribed to.
I would definitely call that number. And you might even consider taking this to confession - - I know I have, and I try to do better!

Here is a good link, that has the basics of copyright law for musicians:

Copyrighted material is legal to download in some countries.

From Wiki:

“Countries where sharing files without profit is legal:
Downloading copied music is legal in some countries in the context of the copyright, such as Canada, The Netherlands, and Spain, provided that the songs are not sold. In Canada it is legal to download any copyrighted file as long as it is for noncommercial use, but it is illegal to distribute the copyrighted files (e.g. by uploading them to a P2P network). In addition, some countries, like Canada and Germany, have limited the penalties for non-commercial copyright infringement. For example, statutory damages in Canada for non-commercial copyright infringement is capped at $5,000. Germany has even passed a bill to limit the fine for individuals accused of sharing music and movies to $200.
On September 20, 2013, the Spanish government approved new laws that will take effect at the beginning of 2014. The approved legislation will mean that website owners who are earning “direct or indirect profit,” such as via advertising links, from pirated content can be imprisoned for up to six years. However, peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms and search engines are exempt from the laws.”

@ Thistle,
I think the question is more complicated than just downloading a song. The OP araanged the song, then reposted if on the Internet. I don’t believe that is legal, you need permission from the copyright-holder at the very least, possibly even some form of payment (even if it is very small).

Yes. Unless you have licensed the song to perform it, record it, post your performance.

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