Music Copyright Clearance Policy: for all students and faculty

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Music Copyright Clearance Policy: for all students and faculty

All students and faculty must follow this policy
To include copyrighted music as part of your piece, you will need the permission of both the music publisher and the record label. They will provide you with pricing information. A music publisher owns the song (that is the words and music) and a record company owns the sound recording (that is, what you hear, the artist singing, the musicians playing, the entire production). As the producer you are responsible for obtaining all necessary releases and meeting all legal requirements. UCLA does not have a blanket license for Grand Rights and Performance Rights.
In order to obtain Copyright Clearance to use a recorded musical selection for a performance you generally need to get permission from two separate sources:
1.) The publisher of the composition grants Grand Rights or Grand Performing Rights

2.) The record label (the company that owns the rights for the use of the specific recording that you wish to use).

Usually listed on the record, cassette, or CD you wish to use, you will find the recording serial number and the name of the publisher of the specific composition you are interested in. You should also see the name ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. These are the main performing rights organizations in the U.S. These organizations do not grant Grand Rights but can help you find the copyright owner.
ASCAP - (213) 883-1000
BMI - (310) 659-9109
SESAC- (310) 393-9671

You need to research online at the websites above and/or call whichever one is listed on your recording. If you call ask for "Research". When you speak with someone, tell them you are trying to locate a publisher so that you can get permission to use a piece. Usually, they will be able to locate the publisher for you. Then contact the publisher and tell them you are trying to find out how to get permission to use a piece of music. They will ask you to provide the following information (either over the phone, via a fax, or letter):

Name of the music selection.

The album that it's on.

The name of your piece of choreography.

The date of your proposed concert.

Where the concert will take place and size of seating.

How much the tickets are.

Where is the money going.

Is anyone associated with the concert getting paid? (i.e. choreographer, dancers, staff, etc.)

Any recording of the concert (i.e. audio, video) and for what purposes.
They will then tell you what to do. That is, give you additional people to contact; fee charges; specific credits to put in your program, etc.
Please start this process early !!!!!! Optimally, you should do this before you even start to use a piece of music so that you don’t find out down the road that you cannot use it or that the charges are prohibitive.
See attached sample clearance request letter.

For other assistance with locating publishers you can also try the Music Publishers Association at

The name and address of the record company should appear on the record label. For more information on the rights of record labels you may want to contact:
Recording Industry Association of America (, a trade organization for record labels,

1020 19th Street, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC, 202-775-0101.

Phone (202) 775-0101
A few things to keep in mind:
• Music belongs to the publishers and labels and they have no obligation to give you permission, or even respond to your request (although most do).
• If someone doesn't respond, it doesn't mean you've been given permission.

• Permissions take time (especially those being sought for free). Be sure you allow at least six weeks for copyright owners to respond.

FOR A FEE, these companies will do the work for you:




Phone: 818-762-9656


Phone: 530-343-0300

Phone: (310) 398-9650


Phone: (212) 989-0011

Toll Free: (800) 345-6757

An option to consider would be to purchase Royalty Free Music. Royalty-free music is usually stock music purchased for a single fee, with no subsequent royalties. There are a number of websites that sell royalty-free music and sound effects. Conduct an Internet search using the keyword “Royalty Free Music”

Record Company Contacts

The bigger record companies use centralized offices that "clear rights for" (another way of saying, "give permission to use the works of") the numerous labels that they represent. The smaller record companies are much easier to find. For the smaller labels, simply look at the address on the back of the CD or cassette.

The following is the information for the bigger record companies:


BMG Entertainment

8750 Wilshire Blvd

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Labels: Arista Records, Bad Boy Records, BMG Records, BMG Classics Records, BMG Latin Records, Budda Records, CMC Records, J Records, LaFace Records, RCA Records and Windham Hill Records


EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets

5750 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 300

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Labels: Apple Records, Capitol Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI Records, IRS Records, and Liberty Records


Sony Music Licensing

2100 Colorado Avenue

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Labels: CBS Records, C2 Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, 550 Records, Legacy, Loud Records, Sony Records, and Work Records


Universal Music Enterprises

100 Universal City Plaza, Building 1440, 13th FL

Universal City, 91608

Labels: A&M Records, Decca Records, Def Jam Records, Deutsche Gramophone Records, Dreamworks Records, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Records, London Records, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Phillips Classics, Polydor Records, Polygram Records, Rush Associated, Universal Records, and Verve Records


Virgin Records

338 N. Foothill Road

Beverly Hills, CA 90210


Warner Special Products

3500 West Olive, Suite 800

Burbank, CA 91505

Labels: Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Giant Records, Maverick Records, Quest Records, Reprise Records, Rhino Records, Sire Records, Warner Bros. Records, and Warner Sunset Records


Zomba Enterprises

137 139 West 25th Street

New York, NY 10001

Labels: Jive Records, Silvertone Records, Verity Records, and Volcano Records

General Info
BMI only licenses non-dramatic performing rights in the music it controls. A dramatic performing right can involve either music which was originally part of a "dramatic or dramatico-musical work" (the term generally used to describe operas, operettas, musical shows, ballets, movies and other similar productions), or it can involve the dramatic use of music which may not have been originally a part of such a dramatic or dramatico-musical work.


ADI or Area of Dominant Influence is the geographic area or market reached by a radio or television station. It is used by advertisers and rating companies to determine the potential audience of a station.

Blanket License
"Blanket license" is a license which allows the music user to perform any or all of over 8.5 million songs in the ASCAP repertory as much or as little as they like. Licensees pay an annual fee for the license. The blanket license saves music users the paperwork, trouble and expense of finding and negotiating licenses with all of the copyright owners of the works that might be used during a year and helps prevent the user from even inadvertently infringing on the copyrights of ASCAP's members and the many foreign writers whose music is licensed by ASCAP in the U.S. [see also Per Program License]

Dramatic or Grand Rights or Dramatic Performances

ASCAP members do not grant ASCAP the right to license dramatic performances of their works. While the line between dramatic and non dramatic is not clear and depends on the facts, a dramatic performance usually involves using the work to tell a story or as part of a story or plot. Dramatic performances, among others, include:

(i) performance of an entire "dramatico-musical work." For example a performance of the musical play Oklahoma would be a dramatic performance.

(ii) performance of one or more musical compositions from a "dramatico-musical work" accompanied by dialogue, pantomime, dance, stage action, or visual representation of the work from which the music is taken. For example a performance of "People Will Say We're In Love" from Oklahoma with costumes, sets or props or dialogue from the show would be dramatic.

(iii) performance of one or more musical compositions as part of a story or plot, whether accompanied or unaccompanied by dialogue, pantomime, dance, stage action or visual representation. For example, incorporating a performance of "If I Loved You" into a story or plot would be a dramatic performance of the song.

(iv) performance of a concert version of a "dramatico-musical work." For example, a performance of all the songs in Oklahoma even without costumes or sets would be a dramatic performances.

The term "dramatico-musical work" includes, but is not limited to, a musical comedy, oratorio, choral work, opera, play with music, revue or ballet.

ASCAP has the right to license "non-dramatic" public performances of its members' works - for example, recordings broadcast on radio, songs or background music performed as part of a movie or other television program, or live or recorded performances in a bar or restaurant.

Dramatic and grand rights are licensed by the composer or the publisher of the work.

Music Publisher
A music publisher works with songwriters to market and promote songs, resulting in exposure of songs to the public and generating income. Music publishers "pitch" songs to record labels, movie and television producers and others who use music, then license the right to use the song and collect fees for the usage. Those fees are then split with the songwriter.

Per Program License
A "per program" license is similar to the blanket license in that it authorizes a radio or television broadcaster to use all the works in the ASCAP repertory. However, the license is designed to cover use of ASCAP music in a specific radio or television programs, requiring that the user keep track of all music used. Also, the user must be certain to obtain rights for all the music used in programs not covered by the license.

Public Performance or Performance Rights
A public performance is one that occurs "in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." A public performance also occurs when the performance is transmitted by means of any device or process (for example, via broadcast, telephone wire, or other means) to the public. In order to perform a copyrighted work publicly, the user must obtain performance rights from the copyright owner or his representative.

Record Label

A record label (or record company) makes, distributes and markets sound recordings (CD's, tapes, etc.) Record labels obtain from music publishers the right to record and distribute songs and in turn pay license fees for the recordings.

A transmission of a performance is one that is sent by any device or process (for example, radio, TV, cable, satellite, telephone) and received in a different place. A retransmission is a further transmission of that performance to yet another place.

Sound Recording
A sound recording refers to the copyright in a recording as distinguished from the copyright in a song. The copyright in the song encompasses the words and music and is owned by the songwriter or music publisher. The sound recording is the result of recording music, words or other sounds onto a tape, record, CD, etc. The copyright encompasses what you hear: the artist singing, the musicians playing, the entire production). The sound recording copyright is owned by the record label. The copyright in the musical work itself is owned by the music publisher, which grants the record label a "mechanical" license to record and distribute the song as part of the record.

Synchronization or "Synch" Rights

A synchronization or "synch" right involves the use of a recording of musical work in audio-visual form: for example as part of a motion picture, television program, commercial announcement, music video or other videotape. Often, the music is "synchronized" or recorded in timed relation with the visual images. Synchronization rights are licensed by the music publisher to the producer of the movie or program.

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