If you purchase sheet music, do you have the right to perform it?

I’m a little confused about performance rights. If I’ve rightly bought a set of sheet music (I get that photocopies are probably bad) does it generally come with the rights to perform it? To make money off your performance? What about recording? What about arrangements of songs in the public domain? (Obviously the arrangement itself is under copyright.)

You can perform it, but not for public. Only in private.

So how do you get the right to perform it? Are performers mostly breaking the law? Is it even possible that, say, a pianist in a bar has the right to perform his whole repertoire? And take requests?

The first or second page usually has the copyright info, and the agent’s address, and stuff like that. Get in touch with them and they’ll give you the details.

Most venues that have music also have licensing agreement with one or more major licensing organizations. They pay a fee, and in return are allowed to play or have played anything in the catalog at their location. Think there are three major licensing outfits–ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, and between them, they control the rights to most major songs. IIRC, SESAC, while slightly smaller than the other two, has the rights to Dylan’s stuff.
Wiki Link

In the U.S., generally the venue pays an annual fee to BMI/ASCAP for public performance rights.

On preview, I see Oakminster has addressed this. My link is a quicker read, however. :stuck_out_tongue: