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Help: Licensing Songs for Recording

03 Feb 03 - 01:03 PM (#881481)
Subject: Help: Licensing Songs
From: dwditty

As I prepare to release a cd (small run <100), I have been through the dreaded Harry Fox Agency to license songs I am covering. There are a couple of songs that even Harry Fox does not know about, or does not provide licensing. I have researched the web trying to contact the composers with no luck. Does anyone have any suggestions?...or know what the consequence of just putting it out there? I do not want to rip anyone off, will certainly acknowledge the source, and gladly pay the fee should anyone come forward.

Any info is appreciated. Thanks.


03 Feb 03 - 01:17 PM (#881489)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs
From: Nigel Parsons

A playlist would help!

03 Feb 03 - 02:29 PM (#881582)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs
From: dwditty

Sure Nigel. The ones I am having trouble finding licensing infor are:

My Wife Left Town With A Banana - Carlos Borzenie, Sr.
Just A Little While - E. M. Bartlett
Til I Gain Control Again - Rodney Crowell
Simple Twist of Fate - Dylan
Every Time It Rains - Randy Newman

Harry Fox ( lits of Crowell, Dylan, Newman, but not these.

Thanks again.


03 Feb 03 - 09:59 PM (#881978)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs
From: dwditty

to the top

04 Feb 03 - 07:22 AM (#882127)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs
From: MMario

BMI or ASCAP can sometimes get you licensing information that Harry Fox doesn't have. (This would be information only - you don't pay mechanical copyright through them)

05 Mar 03 - 03:26 AM (#903788)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs for Recording
From: Joe Offer

I have a friend who wants to record a Carter Family song. I went to BMI and ASCAP, and found that the song was published by APRS, represented by Peermusic, which in turn is represented by the Harry Fox Agency, which is the agency established by the National Music Publishers' Association.
Are you following me still?
Harry Fox directed me to a nifty site called, and finally I felt like I was getting somewhere. I found I could purchase a "mechanical license" online at Songfile, for the "statutory rate" of 8 cents per copy per song, plus a $2.00 processing fee. Minimum license at Songfile is for 500 copies, so that makes dwditty's minimum bill $42.

So, now my questions:

  • OK, so is that all there is to it?
  • Has anybody here done it online?
  • How else can you do it?
  • What if I want fewer than 500 copies?
  • What if there are several songs with the same title?
  • What if some of the recordings will be sold outside the U.S.?
  • What if the song isn't listed at Songfile?
-Joe Offer-

05 Mar 03 - 02:12 PM (#904133)
Subject: RE: Help: Licensing Songs for Recording
From: GUEST,the happy otter

I'm not an expert on copyright law but I DO know a little bit about patent law and have been told by a good patent lawyer that the analogy is appropriate. A patent is INVALID if the patent does not name the actual inventors. Similarly, a copyright is invalid if it does not name the true authors of the song.

The Bear Family set of the complete Carter Family contains the work of Dr. Charles Wolfe and his graduate students who were often able to track down the actual authors of those songs copyright by AP Carter and assigned to that nice Mr. Peer. The Bear Family book was put out with the blessing of Joe and Janette Carter and I think it contains the Carter Family descendants' imprimatur and Nihil Obstat.

   I therefore believe it unnecessary to pay a licensing fee for a Certer Family song misleadingly copyrighted by AP Carter. YMMV