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Protecting Creative Works Through Copyright Licensing

Copyright licensing is an effective way to realize the value of the intellectual property, and protecting the essence of the entertainment industry. Now more than ever, songwriters, music and text publishers, writers and screenwriters must be vigilant in protecting their valuable work.
Performing rights organizations license the works of their members and manage the payment of royalties. In the U.S., there are three major such organizations: BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Licensing of copyrighted material is handled either through the performing rights organization or through the artist or publisher directly, depending on the type of rights that are sought.

Copyright Rights

  • Public performing rights can be granted by the copyright owner to authorize someone else to perform or transmit a work in public
  • A public performance license is granted by the licensing organization to perform or transmit a work in public
  • Reproduction rights allow the copyright holder to authorize the reproduction of a musical work as a record, cassette or CD
  • A mechanical license is issued by the licensing organization to an artist or company who wants to reproduce and distribute a specific composition
  • A synchronization license is issued by the music publisher or agent to a producer, granting the right to synchronize a musical composition with film or videotape
  • Digital performance rights grants exclusive right to perform a work publicly by digital audio transmission. This right was strengthened by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Types of Licensing

Different types of licenses are required by different groups and for different purposes. General licensing is used by bars and restaurants, nightclubs and hotels, fitness clubs, retail stores, trade shows, and other venues open to the public. There are also licenses for Internet use, for broadcast use (radio, TV, cable), for mechanical reproduction and distribution, and for use in film or TV.
Certain works are not handled through the performing rights organizations. For example, composers of dramatic works, like ballets or operas, work directly with those who want to license their works. The ASCAP license applies to non-dramatic performances of those works. Also, the ASCAP does not license the rights to record music for motion pictures, video, TV or audio-visual work.
Music performed in (non-broadcast) worship services or when teaching at a nonprofit educational institution does not need a license.
On the other hand, buying sheet music does not buy one the right to perform that work in public. A license IS required to do that performance.

Unclear if You Need a Copyright Licensing Agreement?

Call Dallas copyright licensing attorney Warren Norred if you have questions about or need legal advice about licensing a work for any purpose. Mr. Norred can advise you about whether you need a license and where you can obtain a license for a particular work.

Failure to Obtain a License is Infringement

Did someone perform your work in public without a license or permission? Norred Law invites screenwriters, filmmakers, visual artists, musicians and music publishing companies to contact us about copyright infringement. We have pursued copyright litigation to protect every imaginable kind of creative work from copyright infringement, including use of protected works on social media or sharing of protected works on file sharing networks.

Contact an Experienced Dallas - Fort Worth Copyright Licensing Attorney

Contact [link to contact] Norred Law PLLC, or call us at 817-704-3984 to schedule a consultation via Skype, over the phone or at our Arlington location, Southlake location, Weatherford location, or Dallas location.

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