Editor’s note: The following music rights clearance material supplements our article on Copyright Issues in Dance. As a result of evolving media and technology platforms, these issues are become more and more important to understand and practice. The beginning of a four-part series on copyright issues relevant to the dance field, subsequent articles this season will include discussions on Fair Use, Technology-Specific Copyright Issues and Archiving for Dance. Click here for the complete article on Copyright Issues in Dance.
While the template below has served as an effective model request letter for dance and theatrical performance related licensing requests to publishing companies it may or may not be the best model for your specific needs. Some of the information may or may not be pertinent to your specific situation. Consequently we urge you to regard this only as one example of the process, carefully review the information below, and then, and only then, tailor a letter that best addresses your specific needs. Finally, note that this process is most effective when attempted AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE and make sure to keep a record of all your communications in this process.
Send this letter to publishing company.
To: Name and Address of Publishing Company
If you are unable to find publisher information you may call the Information and Reference Division of the Library of Congress at (202) 707-6800, or fax them at (202) 707-6859.
If you need an address, phone number or fax number for a publisher, and the publisher is affiliated with a performance organization, contact the research department of the organization affiliate.
The three most common affiliates are BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. Their contact information is as follows:
a. BMI (310) 659-9109 http://www.bmi.com
b. ASCAP (800) 652-7227 http://www.ascap.com
c. SESAC (800) 826?9996 http://www.sesac.com
From: Your name, address and contact information
Re: Grand rights clearance of selection:
Name of Composition and Composer
[Example: Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) by Igor Stravinsky]
1. Name of institution, performance organization, or presenting entity (Example: UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures)
2. Genre (Examples: dance, dance theater, theater, performance art, etc.)
a. Professional, non-professional, student (Example: Dance Company name, MFA thesis performance, etc.)
3. Artist(s) name and professional, non-professional, student status (example: UCLA student choreographer Suzy Barishnikov)
4. Non-profit status (if applicable)
(Example: under “non-profit organization status”)
I am writing to request clearance to use the composition or song:
a. Name of composition or song
b. Name of composer(s)
c. Additional Identifying information
Any additional information that may assist the publisher in identifying the specific work, version, or performance such as the name of the recording the work is on or a specific publication containing the score to the music for my original choreography (or dance-theater work, film, performance art work, etc.).
d. Title of your work (Note: Some publishers may object to using the title of the musical work you wish to obtain permission to use as the title for your work!)
I intend to alter this track in the following way(s) (only mention alterations if you do intend to alter the piece and be forewarned that many composers and their publishers may not appreciate these intended alterations).
Altering music includes the following:
a. Cutting a piece of music after it begins or before it ends
b. Using only a segment of the music
c. Fading a piece of music into another piece of music
d. Adding other sound sources throughout a piece of music, such as sound effects or other instruments
e. Creating a sound collage with a piece of music
Specifics regarding the performance: Performance Name:
Location of the performance/recital:
Seating capacity of the performance venue:
Admission will or will not be charged:
(Note: If admission will be charged then indicate the price of admission. For example: Adults $15, Students $12.
Non-profit status (if applicable): We are a non-profit educational institution which seeks to promote dance in varied contexts, to provide our students pre-professional training and opportunities for performance and production work, one of which is this recital.
Documentation: Other than an archival video of performance, no recording will be made.
Your provision of clearance to use the music selection will be most appreciated. Please do consider waiving and/or reducing any royalty charges. I hope to hear from you soon regarding this request.
We accept submissions on topics relevant to the field: advocacy, artistic issues, arts policy, community building, development, employment, engagement, touring, and other topics that deal with the business of dance. We cannot publish criticism, single-company season announcements, and single-company or single artist profiles. Additionally, we welcome feedback on articles. If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed or feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in guest posts do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Dance/USA.