jab1123 wrote:...Is there not a presumption that if you are performing a copyrighted work you've paid the copyright fee by purchasing the piece? ...
No, not necessarily. Maybe you learned it by ear. I play many jazz gigs where we are just playing tunes by ear.
The fact is that if you are giving a live public performance of some piece of music, you have ZERO obligations with regards to copyright. It is the responsibility of the venue. Please refer to the sections on "public performance."
This is the same info I have seen in many places. Stop worrying about it.
The DJ is a slightly different situation. There, he is playing someone else's RECORDING. That is a very different situation. If it is being broadcast, then there are royalty issues and laws to apply to that. If they are playing a party, then I guess that they may be considered a venue and must pay royalties through ASCP, BMI, etc. Or, maybe they have the right to play the music because they have a legal copy. I don't know because I've never researched it because I have no desire to be a DJ. In any case, even if they are not in full compliance with the law, they probably fall through the cracks. (ASCAP isn't going to sue 10,000 DJs at $100 a pop.)
In any case, the copyright laws pertaining to the live performance of music is not the responsibility of the performer. It never has been and (probably) never will be. Stop worrying about it.