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When using instrumentals of copyrighted music to create new songs, are there ways of doing this without breaking any laws...

Milwaukee, WI |

I am making Hip Hop Mix Tapes and have used some beats from copyrighted songs and have used my own lyrics and recorded the songs myself, am I breaking copyright laws? If so, what do I need to do to correct it, and should I bother copyrighting my lyrics???

Attorney Answers 3


Q: ... am I breaking copyright laws?

R: Yes.

Q: ... If so, what do I need to do to correct it

R: You need to acquire a license to "sample" [i.e., copy and distribute] someone else's recognizable music beat. Query Google for "copyright sample" and research the matter. The speak with an entertainment attorney.

Q: ... should I bother copyrighting my lyrics???

R: If you intend to make a business out of making music then you need to learn about the business of music. Query's book database for "music business" and buy and read a few books on the subject. Then speak with an entertainment attorney. Anyone can make music. Only those who're really passionate can make a business out of their music.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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The answer above is good. I would add, that you acquire the rights of copyright by fixing the idea in a way others can perceive. So your "idea" for the lyrics, became fixed. That said, what you would want to do is "register" your copyright with the Copyright Office. Check their website at

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I would say there are no easy ways to do what you want to do without running afoul of copyright law. The only way to be sure, is to do all your own work. If you copy someone else's work, then you are already in violation of the law. Then you start having to look for an exception, like "fair use" or "parody." That's just not a good place to begin.

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