Compulsory Licenses | Leo Versel | April 19, 2016


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Compulsory Licenses

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Compulsory License


  • Music and Radio services have to pay a mechanical royalty rate ($.091 per song per copy distributed) to use on their services

  • Artists have to allow for people to cover your music, whether you like it or not

  • Non-interactive services (Pandora, Satellite radio): Limited # of skips, playlist restrictions (can't pay more than 4 songs per artist), no advance playlists (can't know what's coming next)

  • Voluntary negotiations (Copyright Royalty Board)  judges who set the rates web radio have to pay

  • Artist and label = compulsory (if the music has been publically distributed and is available for public consumption in any form, they have to allow for a compulsory license) 

  • Songwriter = voluntary (artists, specifically songwriters, are allowed to have voluntary compulsory licenses if their music has not been licensed to a publishing house or has been distributed publically)

  • Interactive- anyone can voluntarily say no to having their music on the sites, users can do as many skips as they like and can pick and choose what they listen to (Spotify, Apple Music)  

  • Taylor Swift: didn’t allow her music to be on Spotify, but her publishing (songwriting) still can be on Spotify

  • Songwriters with a publishing company still have to have a compulsory license and while they can't claim the music aspect of the cover, they can claim royalties from the songs because it is their lyrics 

  • EX: “I Will Always Love You,” written by Dolly Parton, but famously covered by Whitney Houston. Dolly Parton would get all the royalties (about 50%) because she wrote the song.

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April 20, 2016

compulsory licensing

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Leo Versel


American University

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