Music Licenses and Clearance

When a business, individual or other entity wants to use lyrics, musical arrangements, or recordings that are not their own property, permission is generally necessary. Failure to “clear” the rights to the desired work can lead to a litany of issues, potentially including litigation. Clearance can come in many forms, including simple permission, a non-exclusive license, a synchronization license, or an assignment of rights.

Through the practice of music clearance, entities can give rights for the use of their sound recordings and/or their underlying compositions for television shows, films, commercials, stage productions, and other media use. Businesses can also license music to entertain customers or to integrate with their products (e.g. a mobile app). The necessary contract depends what is being asked for (the composition and/or the sound recording) and how it is going to be used.

Common Issues

  • Does the licensee need permission to use the sound recording, the underlying composition or both?
  • In what territories can the music be used?
  • What is the scope of the license (i.e., on which media platforms can the music be used)?
  • How long does the licensee have the right to use the music?
  • Can the licensee assign his or her right to the music to another party?

What We Can Do

  • Help you clear the rights to the music you want to use
  • Help you stop others from commercially exploiting your music
  • Negotiate the terms of permission
  • Defend against copyright infringement claims for lacking permission
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