I decided to do a little research on how covering songs and copyright works. As stated in class, copyright attempts to protect distribution, performing, reproduction, displayed, and adapted. So when someone records or performs a cover song there must be some sort of rules that go along with putting it in front of the public. I found an article written by a guy who went through the process of making it legal to distribute covers on a CD. It turns out there are 2 types of licensing, mechanical and digital, which are self explanatory. Also, there are 3 main ways to do this, paying a legal firm specializing in musical licensing, going straight to the publisher to get legal right, or go to the library of Congress. All of which cost some amount of money, 8.50 cents for songs 5 minutes and then there is usually a filing fee. From Dan’s experience is mostly just seems like a lot of paperwork but not difficult (unless you get denied which there is nothing you can do about).
I was also interested in performing covers at concerts. And apparently it is completely legal to do so as long as the venue has the proper license. There is a fee that venues pay to PRO, performing rights organization, and that makes it okay for bands to perform covers at there venue.
Also they covered Youtube covers, which is kind of complicated. But sometimes publishers and put ads and monetize cover videos, or the videos might be taken down.
Basically, it seems that as long as the publisher gets their royalties for the song, they will be happy.