Phoenix, AZ asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Arizona

Q: What kind of licensing do I need to use a song on a podcast if the artist has given permission and owns the rights?

I have a podcast for children and got permission from a musician to use one of his songs on one specific episode. The podcast episode is offered for free and I will give appropriate credit to him on the episode. It sounds like he owns the rights to his own music. He thought I would need a "compulsory mechanical license" but from what I've read, it doesn't sound like that's what I need. How can I legally use this song after obtaining his permission?

1 Lawyer Answer
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: It sounds like you should ask for a written license/permission to use the work which states that the song writer does in fact own all of the rights and he is granting you x times to use the work under certain circumstances. You should consider all of the ways you might use the work going forward, not just in your actual podcast, but if you intend to replay it so that the license covers all. Also, what happens if your listeners make a copy of the podcast with the song included. I suggest you consult counsel familiar with how music is licensed. It is tricky because there may be a song plus lyrics both of which are protected by copyright.

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