the thought was to charge about $30 dollars for each dvd, which would be an edited video of the entire dance performance (they would perform approx. 20-30 songs). Since the songs are obviously copyrighted, is there any way to legally be licensed to use them... I read about something about a blanket license, or mechanical rights license. Would that be satisfactory? Where do you go to get a license for a collection of songs with varied artists and publishers?
First of all, understand that copyright covers the owner of the musical song (the writer) and each performer of that song (the performer). For instance, "You Raise Me Up" was written by Rolf Lovland, but has been recorded more than 125 times. There is only one copyright holder for the actual music, but there are 125 copyright holders for each and every performance. If you want to use the Josh Groban version of "You Raise Me Up" you have to get permission from both the holder of the Groban version and the current owner of Lovland's rights. The license to the music itself is either a mechanical or synchronization license, whereas the license to a specific performance is a master recording license. A mechanical license is a license that allows you make and reproduce audio recordings in an audio medium (such as on a CD, MP3, etc...). If you want to have an audio accompaniment with a visual medium, such as if you want to "sync" individual songs with a dance performance, then you need what is known as a "sync license". But if you want to use a particular version of the song, you also need to get a "master recording license." So you can use record your own version of "American Pie" by Don McLean and use it over a visual medium using a sync license. A sync license gives you the right to re-record a song. But if you want to use the Don McLean version of that, you also need a master recording license for that song. So if you want to use a pre-existing version of a song on a visual medium, you need a sync license and a master recording license to do so, for each and every song (assuming the song is not public domain and Here is a pretty good overview of this area, and the different types of licenses that you may need. And so you are going to have to get the rights to every single song. Now this may be difficult, depending on the songs. But there are three major organizations (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) that license songs. So you should be able to find the licenses for these songs (assuming they are popular enough songs) at one of these three spots. These are places to obtain the synchronization licenses. To obtain the master recording licenses, you will have to contact the record companies directly. I hope that helps. Good luck to you!
Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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