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mechanical license or?

AllisonA(Animaterra) 13 Apr 09 - 04:39 PM
Skivee 13 Apr 09 - 06:21 PM
Darowyn 14 Apr 09 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 14 Apr 09 - 05:28 AM
Suffet 14 Apr 09 - 09:02 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 15 Apr 09 - 08:19 AM
Mark Ross 15 Apr 09 - 11:53 PM
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Subject: mechanical license or?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 04:39 PM

My DH and I are about to produce a short demo cd thru Oasis Express. We have 2 pieces we didn't write that aren't in the public domain. We have verbal permission from the composers, but should we have some kind of document with their signatures? We're only making 300 copies of the cd, and Oasis assures us that as long as we say we're good, we don't need to send them documentation. But I wonder if I ought to have on file something from Bob and Peter that says they gave us permission to use their tunes.
A mechanical license seems excessive- is there a simpler document we should use?

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: Skivee
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 06:21 PM

A dated letter from them stating that they hold copyright on the pieces, and that you have permission to record the songs should suffice. You may also want to list compensation that you paid to them if any.
For the album list the songs as "used by permission" with appropriate business contact info for the authors.

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: Darowyn
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 04:05 AM

You would only need a mechanical licence if you were including the actual recordings of Bob and Peter on your CD.
Mechanical licences are for - logically enough- mechanical copies of recordings made by someone else.

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 05:28 AM


Completely wrong. If you were going to make mechanical copies of somebody else's sound recording, you would need to get permission in the form of a licence from the owner of said sound recording. This would probably be a record company, or possibly the artists themself. A fee would be payable, and many are reluctant to give such permission as it would take away from their own sales.

However, what you are talking about is making your own recording of somebody else's composition. You would then own the rights to that sound recording, which nobody else could use without your permission and/or payment of a fee.
But, you DO have to pay a mechanical royalty for EVERY COPY that is made, to re-imburse the owner of the copyright in the song or tune (usually the writer/composer and possibly a publisher). Licences for this use are administered by MCPS in the UK, and their equivalent in other territories. There is a statutory fee structure in place for this. If your composer is not a member of MCPS, they will not try to charge you, but you are then duty bound to get permission from the composer and pay any fee that you agree with them (or not if you are mates, possibly).

To sum up, if the composer is a member of MCPS, get a licence. If they are not, get permission and pay them a nominal fee, all in writing for avoidance of any arguments in the future.

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: Suffet
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 09:02 AM


I would get something in writing from the composers, even if it's just an e-mail sent from one of their accounts. And please give them credit as the authors and copyright holders. In most programs the alt-g combination will yield the © symbol.

In the USA at least, a mechanical license is a very simple document. I've purchased quite a few from publishers or through the Harry Fox Agency, and I've also issued several myself. I've also obtained compulsory licenses in several instances by sending the copyright holder the required notice along with a check for the statutory fee, currently 9.1 cents per CD for songs up to 5 minutes running time.

At 9.1 cents, the 300 CDs would cost you only $27.30 in licensing fees for use of that song if the composers didn't waive it. I'm sure that they, their representatives, or their successors would never bother you over that piddling amount, but it's still worth having something in writing. Oral contracts may be valid contracts, but they are hard to substantiate.

--- Steve

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 08:19 AM

Well, Oasis said that as long as I knew I had permission, that would suffice for the production of the cd. I will cover myself by having Bob and Peter sign either a mechanical license or some such the next time I see them, which I do on a pretty regular basis.

Thanks for all the advice! The cd got FeExed to Oasis yesterday! The project is DONE!!

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Subject: RE: mechanical license or?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 15 Apr 09 - 11:53 PM

Oral contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on. Unless you're dealing with an anarchist of course.

Mark Ross

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