How to Clear a Song: A quick tutorial

One of the complaints I most often hear about copyright is that it is too hard to identify who owns the rights to a copyright protected work. The challenges are particularly great when trying to track down the owners of the copyrights in a song: the label on which a song originally had been released may be defunct; the band long ago may have retired and scattered to the four corners; or the songwriter may have vanished or died. People often use the difficulty they face to justify using a song without permission, or worse not using it at all.

While I agree that it can be difficult identifying who owns the rights to a song, it is not impossible. With a little bit, okay maybe a lot, of hard work I can generally find out who has the rights to any song under the sun. The resources available on the Internet, from fan sites to performing rights organizations, make the process significantly easier than it used to be.

In anticipation of a panel on which I am speaking during Licensing University at the Licensing Expo, I have prepared “The Who What When Where & Why of Music Clearance”. The brochure provides guidance on how to identify who owns the rights in a song, and what to expect during the clearance process. If nothing else it illustrates why clearing a song is an incredibly complicated, and nuanced, process!

About Nancy Prager

Nancy Prager is an attorney based in Washington, D.C. She represents a wide range of clients on matters from intellectual property to estate planning. Before starting her own practice, she practiced with firms in Memphis and Atlanta, as well as providing business development services to technology companies. She launched her practice to offer strategic legal services to clients at an affordable rate. Additionally, Nancy is a sought after speaker and writer on issues related to the convergence of intellectual property, technology and media. Nancy was asked to write a series of commentaries for News.com on the emerging legal issues related to the transmission of content on the internet. She has spoken to organizations and conferences around the country on issues related to the convergence of technology, content and intellectual property, as well as strategic legal issues for companies, individuals and artists. Journalists often rely on Nancy as a resource for emerging legal issues. Nancy has a strong commitment to social justice. She has founded, or co-founded, a number of organizations and programs that provide tangible services to their constituencies. For example, while a student in law school she developed the Domestic Violence Advocacy Center that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence. Additionally, she has been involved with a number of organizations that provide services to children and their families, including serving on the boards of the Harwood Center and Porter Leath Children’s Services. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the State Bar of Georgia and the State Bar of Tennessee. She has been a member of a variety of legal organizations including the Copyright Society of the USA and the American Bar Association.
This entry was posted in copyright clearance, Fair Use, license, licensing, music clearance, music licensing, Music Resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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