LOS ANGELES — Ryan Adams might have asked Taylor Swift’s permission to cover her entire album “1989.” Seeing as they’re pals, that’s the likely scenario.

But he didn’t have to. And neither would you.

In a nutshell: Under U.S. law, one artist can cover another artist’s copyrighted song without obtaining permission, but they do have to notify the copyright holder ahead of time — called a “compulsory license” — which kicks in an automatic royalty payment that’s based on sales

There are a number of factors at play here, and some hoops to jump through. You can’t change the lyrics, or significantly alter the tunes, for instance Read more…

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How Ryan Adams was allowed to legally cover an entire Taylor Swift album