MDTA Official Music Policy and Copyright adherence
All recordings used in dance routines should be properly licensed and written confirmation of such license should be available upon request.
You can use recordings that you purchase from vendors, or original compositions created or commissioned by you (i.e. an original song and recording to which you own or license the rights by written agreement.) Under U.S. copyright laws, teams are not permitted to create a re-mix, or medley without proper written authorization from the copyright owners.
However, if teams and coaches wish to only use a single song in their routine, they may bring a legally purchased (from i-Tunes, Amazon, etc.) copy of that recording to be used at the event. Teams MAY NOT re-mix these recordings in any way (such as adding sound effects, changing tempo or mixing with any other recordings), but you may make minor edits for timing purposes only (for example, removing a chorus or bridge to fit the duration of the team’s performance), but NOT altering the order of verses in any way.
For teams competing in MDTA contests:
MDTA WILL EXPECT ALL COACHES/TEAMS TO FOLLOW THE COPYRIGHT LAWS REGARDING LICENSING OF MUSIC AT MDTA STATE CONTEST.
The following are the expectations, and are in compliance with U.S. copyright laws.
#1 if you want to use ONE song for your routine, you are fine. It is assumed that you purchased the music, and therefore have the rights to use the music. HOWEVER, if you want make any cuts to that one song, the cuts HAVE to be in order, and you may not switch up the order of verses, speed up or slow down the tempo, or alter it in any other way (i.e. adding sound effects etc.)
#2 what do you do if you want to create a mix? According to the copyright act, anyone who creates a derivative work, which includes a custom arrangement, must obtain permission in advance from the rights holder. That would mean you would need permission from the ACTUAL artist or music label to use his/her/their song for EACH song you want to use. Since that is not likely to happen, you would need to find a licensed provider, who will then use COVER songs to make your mix. A list of licensed providers is growing and may be found on the USA Cheer website.
#3 Teams must show proof that they have permission to use the music to which they perform. MDTA will provide a form for coaches to verify that they have obtained permission, legally, to use the music or have purchased the music from a reputable source that can provide that information. Any copyright violations will result in the team not being allowed to perform the routine at the MDTA state contest. Failure to submit this form will result in the team not being allowed to perform the routine at the MDTA state contest.
The MDTA board realizes that this is a great deal of new information and will probably cause a lot of frustration and anxiety, but we must comply with the law. We, too, are attempting to understand all of this and its implications for us as an event producer.
We are here to assist and answer any questions you may have. However, we are not copyright attorneys and we suggest that you, as a coach, contact your own legal counsel for answers to specific questions. Please understand that this is new for all of us and some answers we may not be able to provide as quickly or as detailed as you would like.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and we are committed to protecting our coaches, and believe that this is what is in everyone’s best interest.
The following links are provided for additional information and education in regards to copyright adherence:
This letter is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding licensing of music or compliance please email Yvonne Cole, MDTA vice-president at email@example.com.