If you are unsure about the ins and outs of copyrighted music and what that means for uploading songs to your website, you have good reason to be confused. Copyright protection of music on web sites is a complicated issue that nobody has completely figured out. There are several lawsuits in the courts at this time where lawyers and judges are trying to figure out exactly what is legal and what is illegal. Every year some cases are decided, giving us more insight into what is legally allowed in terms of music on sites like our free wedding websites.
In order to protect our company from being sued by the recording industry, we have implemented the following policy:
1. We have posted the notice you referenced: "Please note: Uploading copyrighted music without permission from the copyright holder is strictly prohibited." We don't actually check your free wedding website to see if there is copyrighted music, because we have no way of knowing whether the music on your site is copyrighted and there without permission.
2. In our website Terms and Conditions, we outline our DMCA takedown policy, so if the copyright holder of any music finds copyrighted music on a free wedding website, they can follow our DMCA procedure and send us a letter requesting that we take down the offending music.
3. If we receive a valid DMCA takedown notice from a copyright holder for a song on someone's free wedding website, we immediately notify the website owner, and remove the song from their website.
4. If the free wedding website owner repeatedly uploads the same song to their site after we have removed it, then in that rare case, we would consider disabling their access to their account.
So if you do upload copyrighted music to your free wedding website, we won't stop you, unless the copyright holder finds the song on your free wedding website, and formally requests that it be removed, in which case we will simply remove it. It is your free wedding website, and we can't really police what you write there, what images you post there, and what music you place there.
The remaining question you need to consider yourself when deciding whether to upload a song from one of your CDs is whether you feel that doing so is legal "personal use," or illegal sharing of copyrighted music. Legally, you are allowed to make copies of the music on your CDs for personal use, provided you do not profit from those copies. It is your personal website and you probably only give the website address out to a few people, and you do not profit from it. So is that legal? I really don't know. The RIAA would probably say it's not legal, but then the RIAA also says that simply ripping CDs to your computer is illegal, as is putting those ripped MP3 files on your ipod, which tens of millions of people do all the time. So you can hardly trust the RIAA's opinion on the matter. And ultimately it's not the RIAA that decides whether it is legal or illegal. That will be decided in the courts, but we don't believe it's been decided yet.
So the risk you run by uploading copyrighted music to your free wedding website is that the RIAA may decide to sue you for doing so. Needless to say, your risk of being sued by the RIAA would be very small, since you are putting music on a personal website, which is not for profit. But if you want to be sure that there is no chance that you are violating copyright law, you should just purchase/download royalty free music to use on your free wedding website.