Do I Need to Get a Mechanical License to Record/Release a Song I Control?

It depends on a few things.

If you are the sole copyright owner of the musical work and have not assigned your rights to a music publisher or third party, you do not need to apply for a mechanical license to release the recording in the United States or Canada, only. However, if you plan on releasing this work in any other territory, you are required to get a mechanical license even if you are the sole copyright owner of the musical work being recorded and commercially released.

If you do not own or administer 100% of the copyright in the song, regardless of where you are planning on releasing it, you are required by law to obtain a mechanical license for the share(s) you don't control.

If you are looking to release a song outside of the USA, these are the societies that will issue you the proper licenses:

Australia - AMCOS
Belgium - SABAM
Brazil - UBC
Canada - CMRRA
France - SACEM
Germany - GEMA
Mexico - SACM
Netherlands - STEMRA
Ireland - MCPS (Ireland)
Italy - SIAE
Japan - JASRAC
Portugal - SPA
Scandinavia - NCB
South Africa - CAPASSO
Spain - SGAE
Switzerland - SUISA
UK - MCPS (part of PRS for Music)

Within the USA you can either contact the publisher directly or go through the Harry Fox Agency (HFA).

Want to learn more about sync? Learn the ins and outs of sync licensing, sync deals, and how to start collecting your royalties with our Sync Crash Course


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