Mike's Mobile Mics - On-Location Digital Audio Recording

Mike's Mobile Mics

On-Site Audio and Video Recording

e-mail: Michael@MikesMobileMics.com
telephone: 757 630 5942
fax: 757 447 3479
web site: www.MikesMobileMics.com

Recording Copyrighted Music - Read This Page!

If you are making recordings, be aware that you are legally allowed to make only one copy for use in teaching or as an archive without being required to obtain and pay copyright license fees. If you plan to duplicate CDs for sale or as gifts for your friends or students or congregants, it is necessary for you to obtain and pay mechanical license fees to the copyright holder, composer and arranger of each piece you record.

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce copyrighted works on CD, DVD or tape. Music educators who record student performances, churches who record musical services or anyone who records someone else's compositions and want to distribute copies of the recording must obtain and pay the copyright holder for the right to use their music.

There is no difficulty obtaining permission to record. Once a recording of a musical work has been distributed to the U.S. public under the authority of the copyright owner, any other person may obtain a license to record the work by complying with certain procedures and by the payment of the royalty.

What if I am a non-profit organization or I am selling the CDs at my cost?
Giving the recordings away, being a non-profit organization, not making any profit on the recording project, or not selling to the general public are not exceptions to the law. If you produce more than one copy, mechanical licenses must be obtained and their fees paid.

Who is legally responsible to pay for the license?
It doesn't matter who pays the license fees as long as they are paid. If they are not paid, then everyone involved in the project could be legally liable: the performers, the school system or church, the director or minister, the recording company and/or recording engineer, and the organization or association hosting the concert or festival.

How do I get permission to record copyrighted musical pieces?
Mechanical licenses are obtained from the publishers. Once the license is obtained, payments must be sent to the publisher. You can deal directly with the copyright holders and negotiate a fee per piece, per copy. Current rates are 9.1 cents per musical piece 5 minutes or less, and 1.75 cents per minute for pieces greater than 5 minutes.
A much more convenient avenue is through the Harry Fox Agency (HFA)/Songfile, a division of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA).

Penalties for Infringement
The remedies provided by the law to a copyright owner mean that a music educator or church member and his/her institution or association or an individual artist found making unlicensed illegal copies, or otherwise infringing, may face:

  • Payment of from $500 to $20,000 statutory damages and if the court finds willfulness, up to $100,000 per copyright infringed.
  • If willful infringement for commercial advantage and private financial gain is proved, criminal fines of up to $250,000 and/or five years' imprisonment, or both.

They're serious, folks!

Contact us today to schedule your recording session.

FYI and to CMA, this page was first posted August 8, 2008

Do I need a
mechanical license?

If you are manufacturing and distributing copies of a song which you did not write, and you have not already reached an agreement with the song's publisher, you need to obtain a mechanical license. This is required under U.S. Copyright Law, regardless of whether or not you are selling the copies that you made.

You do not need a mechanical license if you are recording and distributing a song you wrote yourself, or if the song is in the public domain.

If you are not sure if the song you are looking to license is in the public domain, and therefore does not require license authority, we suggest you use the search on www.pdinfo.com.



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