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I understand that in the US, there is a compulsory licence that must be granted by music publishers once a work has been commercially exploited the first time, that allows anyone to make a cover version of the song. There's a nationally-set rate (9.1¢/minute, I think) that can be collected for mechanical copies, and the collecting Performance Rights Organisations can deal with live performance.

Firstly, what's the legal situation in, particularly, the UK and Australia for performing and recording covers? I know a lot of groups do different things here, but pointers to the actual regulations would be good.

Secondly, when does a cover become an adaptation in these jurisdictions? Some covers seem to be very different from the original song, to the point where they would be considered different, derivative, works (and thus require permission for the new version, rather than working through the collection PRO).

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closed as off topic by Matthew Read Jul 5 '12 at 3:51

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Sorry, legal issues are off-topic -- see the FAQ (and specifically this discussion). If you have any other musician questions that would be a better fit, please feel free to ask them. –  Matthew Read Jul 5 '12 at 3:51
Is there a Law.SE yet? Can we migrate? While I agree that the Q is off-topic, it is still of interest to our constituency. It'd be nice to have it alive somewhere. 2¢ –  luser droog Jul 6 '12 at 1:06
@luserdroog There's a couple proposals on Area 51, but ironically I believe there are legal issues with actually creating a site like that (in many places lawyers can't practise online and non-lawyers can't offer legal advice). –  Matthew Read Jul 20 '12 at 15:46
Iain - I would point you at the Performing Rights Society and the Musician's Union in the UK. They provide this sort of info, amongst a lot of other useful info. –  Dr Mayhem Jul 21 '12 at 9:30

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