Is it illegal to use samples of other artists music on your website?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Is it illegal to use samples of other artists music on your website?

I’m building a website which includes samples of other artists music. The samples are between 10 seconds to a minute long. Is it illegal that I use these samples of music on my website even though I state the artists name and the song name? I am not taking credit for the music. The samples are not downloadable off my website and I am not selling the samples.

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is illegal. Don't confuse plagarism with copyright. Plagarism is taking credit for another's work, which you--to your credit--are not intending to do. However, copyright is the right of a work's creator (or of whomever the creator sold or gave the rights to--e.g. the record company) to control reproduction, broadcast, streaming, use, adaptation, etc. of the work. Even if you credit the artist(s), you will still be using their work without permission, thereby violating their copyright. That means that you could be sued for monetary damages and/or for a  court order shutting down your website.

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