Mechanical Licenses for Song “Covers”

November 3, 2006

When a band or musician records and releases a “cover” of someone else’s published song, that band/musician generally falls under the the “Compulsory License” provisions in Section 115 of the Copyright Act. This is often referred to as a mechanical license. The mechanical license requires that the band/musician must pay the copyright owner of the song for each copy of the song that is distributed (e.g. CDs, digital downloads). The current rate is 9.1 cents per song, for each song under 5 minutes long.

Here are the steps for acquiring a mechanical license:

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