This is a guide to basic copyright and licensing for musicians written by Casey Burgess. NOTE: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT COPYRIGHT OR LICENSING PLEASE SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL.
The Copyright Alliance is the unified voice of the copyright community, representing the interests of thousands of individuals and organizations across the spectrum of copyright disciplines...The Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators.
The Harry Fox Agency (HFA), established in 1927, has long been America’s premiere licensing agent for issuing mechanical licenses, and continues to serve the industry today through its commitment to innovation while enhancing value for music creators and publishers. Our mission has always been to provide to our partners timely, efficient mechanical rights management and royalty distribution while meeting the changing needs of music distributors, writers, composers, and publishers.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a globally-accessible public commons of knowledge and culture. We make it easier for people to share their creative and academic work, as well as to access and build upon the work of others. By helping people and organizations share knowledge and creativity, we aim to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.
ASCAP is a membership association of more than 725,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. We uphold the value of our members’ music, and help them thrive alongside the businesses that use their music every day.
BMI is the bridge between songwriters and the businesses and organizations that want to play their music publicly. As a global leader in music rights management, BMI serves as an advocate for the value of music, representing 15 million musical works created and owned by more than 1 million songwriters, composers and music publishers.
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is a nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office pursuant to the historic Music Modernization Act of 2018. In January 2021, The MLC began administering blanket mechanical licenses to eligible streaming and download services (digital service providers or DSPs) in the United States. The MLC will then collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs and pay songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers. The MLC has built a publicly accessible musical works database, as well as a portal that creators and music publishers can use to submit and maintain their musical works data. These tools will help ensure that creators and music publishers are paid properly.
Please note that this guide is merely to educate people on the law and does not contain any legal advice. If you have a legitimate question about copyright, please consult with a lawyer.