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Copyright Permission: Music

This guide lists and links to organizations that manage copyright permissions.

Two separate contacts for music permission!

When you need permission to use a music recording, you have to get permission from two separate contacts:

  1. Rights to the song itself, from the music publisher. 
    You track down the music publisher by looking up the song in iMuzDB or another source listed in the box below.
  2. Rights to the recorded performance, a.k.a. master rights, from the record company, a.k.a. label
    Smaller record companies will put their name on the CD insert or in the metadata of the MP3 (or other digital music file)
    Larger record companies are listed in a box below.  


Find the exact song title, artist name and label

Rights Management Organizations

Each of these organizations has a database you can search to get the contact information for the music publisher (which is what you need for the song rights) and the label (which is what you need for the master rights.)

Requesting permission and negotiating the license

We recommend contacting by email or phone first to confirm that they are the right person to ask, and to determine whether they wish to proceed by email or land mail. 

If you are using land mail, be sure to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and send it all by Certified Mail so that you can be sure that it arrived.  

Your Librarians

Sarah Morehouse's picture
Sarah Morehouse

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Accessibility Resources and Services by emailing them at  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the Accessibility Resources and Services website

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