The Legal Aspect Of Releasing Dj-sets On The Net

is it legal to release his own dj-sets (consisting of commercial vinyls of course) through the net?
there are a lot of sites offering these, be it from live events, radio shows or home-sessions.
it appears to be legal, but i never read an official statement concerning that.
so as far as i can see, the release of the individual songs seperately as mp3 is prohibited and the coherent dj-set is not?
anyone having some profound knowledge there?

It is surely not legal. Same prcedure as for mixtapes…anway, the proble,m is not to up them, but to hide them before those dammned lawyers who are searching the sites for such a content to make some more money.

i can’t imagine that for example, this site is somewhat illegal:
it exists since a long time and is easily findable via searchengines like google.
i guess it would’ve been closed since ages if it was offering illegal material, or?

(actually is just a searchengine itself, looking through two dozens of forums/boards that have the respective subforums… if it was illegal, would there be so many forums offering such stuff? shrugs)

It’s a bit of a legal grey-area as far as I can tell. I ran a site for several years (, now defunct due to personal reasons) which, in addition to content such as original music by me and others, image galleries, a few funny videos, etc., also included a fairly large archive of DJ sets for download at between 128-192kbps, mixed by various DJs I’d gotten to know during my almost 5-year stay in New Mexico, USA.

I didn’t make any profit through the site and I made it clear on all the DJ pages that “DJ sets are made available for promotional use only. All tracks are copyright their respective owner.” (or words to that effect). A lot of these producers would never be heard of if it wasn’t for the humble mixtape/mixset afterall, and I think a lot of labels recognise the promotional power behind it, so a lot of them just let it slide knowing that a lot of DJs will also hear the mixes and will want to buy the vinyl themselves. It’s kind of like viral marketing I guess.

Anyway, although wasn’t huge in terms of the entire internet, it did get pretty popular in that area of the states (South West: New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, etc.). At its peak (right before I shut it down) it was getting over 60,000 visits each month (generating over 14 million hits to all the files), using over 130 gigabytes of bandwidth.

Now, during all of that (and please don’t interpret it as bragging of any kind, I’m simply trying to prove a point here), I wasn’t contacted once by anyone inquiring about the legality of the mixes, or asking me to remove any content from the site. I also know that every now and then some “big”(ish) people from the industry stopped by the site to check it out, and they didn’t say anything about it either.

So, in general I think it’s probably quite OK to put some DJ sets up on a website and let people download them, as long as it’s obvious that you’re not making money from it and you simply want to share some badass music. It’s probably also a good idea to include a full tracklisting crediting each artist/track, possibly even including the label it’s available on, a link to Discogs, a link to an online record store it can be purchased from, etc. All of these things should help keep you in the clear.


I guess, it’s illegal because of Organizations like Gema and ASCAP because it’s easy to cut out some tracks out of the whole mix.

Sorry, I just found a german issue concerning promomixes here:…=12;t=003575;p=

Dj Tanith (a famous DJ) posted something (also german, sorry) here

Final Words by GEMA: Info for DJs

damn. i’ve been scared to put my dj sets online for years because of legality issues.

wow. now i’m gonna get some mini-mixes together for public download :D

Don`t forget to watch your loca rights for that. German law is quite nasty when it comes to copyrights, russian copyright f. i is a different thing. Remember it counts, where the server is based, where you uploaded a thing - not where your current pc is located.

In the old times, when I had a board on my website, I posted a newsletter with a link to a liveset… Now the board is gone and I do not upload sets anymore.

well i’m in america, the webspace will be in america (i think), but what if most of the records i play are european?

Of course, I can only tell you, what I know from here (germany) :)

In germany the organization called GEMA is responsible to give the artists the money. If a song is played public (in german radio, clubs, internetradio) the organization playing the song (Clubowner, Radiostation) is forced to pay some money to the gema and send them a list, what was played.

Clubs - that includes deejays - have to pay a fixed amount of money to the GEMA as well. As most techno/dnb-records are from europe but most rnb-records are from the U.S. I must guess that there is such a thing like GEMA in each country…

So, if you play european stuff in your sets, there is the ASCAP which wants to have money from the clubowner and sends some money to the artist.

In fact, especially here the copyright-laws are quite annoying and complicated. The IFPI (pendant to RIAA) even plans to forbid Webradio-stations and (that’s somehow funny) the users should be forced NOT TO USE CD-Skip-buttons anymore…

i haven’t played in any clubs yet but i have never heard of anybody paying royalties just for playing in a club here. especially the smaller clubs, i can’t see how it would be enforced.

that’s stupid though that you would have to pay them. they should be paying you for exposing that music to a wider audience

well… i dont know… if someone is making money by playing my music then i sure would have to get my share :)

I think generally a DJ set is fine as long as you have permission from the DJ. He is a performer and thus covered by the same laws as musicians if I remember correctly.

You may get into difficulties if you start releasing mixes of just one artist or lable though. A remember erading about a mix being taken offline as the lable complained as it was basically a mix of their latest album, so why would epople buy it?..

Putting up mixes from tape packs or events is often illegal, unless yuou have permission from who owns copy/publishing rights. This may well be the venue, although it’s often assumed it’s the promoter of the night.

All in all I don’t think mixes done by yourself are anything to worry about.

Unless you were charging for your downloads (or if it wa purely a download site with revenue from adverts maybe) That’s a different kettle of fish entirely…

In germany, if you go into a club and do a dj-set, the club pays money to the GEMA. Its the same in the UK and I guess most other european countries.
I guess its that old discussion again if the internet is comparable to a public audience, and if so, what size of an audience.
But I think no one ever got busted about that.

Also in germany there was alot of buzz some years ago about the GEMA collecting money from everyone putting up music on their website, even if it was their own music and they were not a member of the GEMA at all.
No idea how that went though. Its now a year without internet at home. :(