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Global Music Rights represents today's greatest and most popular music creators in the public performance licensing of their catalogs.

Why does my business need a license to play music?

Musical compositions are intellectual property and, like other forms of property, they belong to their creators and owners. The United States Copyright Act grants certain exclusive rights to these owners, including the right to publicly perform their music.

If your business plays music without obtaining the necessary advanced permission from copyright owners, you are in violation of U.S. Federal Law.

What is the “Performing Right” and what are public performances?

Copyright.gov defines a public performance as “(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.”

What does the Global Music Rights license do?

A license from Global Music Rights provides you with the legal authorization you need to publicly perform the music controlled by Global Music Rights' writer, composer and publisher clients in your place of business. Without a license, your establishment could be subject to the legal repercussions of copyright infringement.

By aggregating the rights of multiple songwriters under a single license, Global Music Rights saves you the time, expense and burden of contacting thousands of copyright owners.

What is a blanket license?

A Global Music Rights blanket license authorizes you to publicly perform shares of the songs in the Global Music Rights catalog as often as you like, without the need to obtain permission for each individual song performed. With one agreement, you have the most efficient and convenient way to enjoy the many copyrighted works represented by Global Music Rights.

What happens if I ignore my responsibility to obtain proper licensing, resulting in unauthorized public performances?

If you fail to obtain the proper licenses and you are responsible for unauthorized public performances, you will have violated the exclusive performance right of copyright owners and you may be found to be infringing under the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 501(a)). Such action may result in an infringement action against you. This legal remedy is an entitlement granted to copyright owners by 17 U.S.C. § 501(a), and it is a course of action that Global Music Rights must pursue to protect the interests of its music creators and publishers.

If you are found to be in violation of the Copyright Act, you can be fined for damages, as well as for the copyright owner’s legal fees. If the court finds your infringement to have been willful, you may be subject to statutory damages of $150,000 for each song performed without proper authorization.

Where do my fees go? Who is compensated?

Your license fees go to the creators and publishers of the music. Global Music Rights is authorized to license and collect the fees on behalf of our client songwriters, composers and publishers and to distribute the fees to them.

I already have a license with ASCAP, BMI, and/or SESAC. Do I also need a license with Global Music Rights?

If you plan to use the music of any songwriter, composer or publisher represented by Global Music Rights, you will need a license with Global Music Rights.

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are separate and distinct from Global Music Rights. Therefore, licenses with these other PROs do not grant you authorization to publicly perform the copyrighted music of Global Music Rights’ songwriters, composers, and publishers and vice versa.

What songs are in the Global Music Rights repertoire?

You can search our repertoire online using the Search feature above, view our online Catalog, or request a full catalog.

How much will it cost to obtain a Global Music Rights license?

The relevant factors that formulate your licensing rate depend upon your type of business and how the music is presented to the public. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs and similar establishments are treated differently than retail stores, which are treated differently than amusement parks, which are treated differently than hotels, and so on.

Do I need permission to perform music at a training seminar or as part of an in-class presentation?

It depends.

While the Copyright Act grants exclusive performance rights to copyright owners, if you are performing music in the course of face-to-face teaching activities at a nonprofit educational establishment, permission for such use is not required.

However, if you are performing music as part of training seminars, conventions, or other commercial or business presentations, then permission is required.

Aren’t the musicians, entertainers, and DJs responsible for the music they perform at my premises?

No. The Copyright Act states that you, as the owner or operator of an establishment or business where music is played, are responsible for the performances on your premises and in turn are responsible for obtaining the required authorization.

Similarly, the compensation that you may provide to these performers will not relieve you of your licensing obligation either.

Do I need a license if there is no live music performed and I am only using recorded music, such as CDs, MP3s, radio and TV?

Yes. Regardless of whether it is live or recorded music, you will need permission to play music in your establishment.

There are a few exceptions, however, for radio and television transmissions in eating, drinking, retail or certain other establishments depending on the size of the premises and whether there is any form of admission charge. You can refer to Title 17, Section 110(5) (b) of the U.S. Copyright Act at the link below for more details.

U.S. Copyright Law

I already purchased the music I am playing. Why do I need permission to perform the music in public?

The Copyright Act differentiates between owning a copy of music and having the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly (17 U.S.C. § 106).

When you buy an audio file or CD, the purchase price covers only your private listening use. You may own a copy of the music, but someone else still owns the intellectual property that makes up the underlying songs. Once you decide to play any copyrighted music publicly, you need permission from the copyright owners.

If my Background Music Service provider pays for all copyrighted licenses, why would I need a Global Music Rights license as well?

Most Background Music Service providers will have their own license with Global Music Rights; however, their Global Music Rights license extends only to the music they supply to establishments with no admission, membership or similar charge.

If any music is played at your business by other means than directly from the Background Music Service—live performance, radio, record, tape, CD, DVD, MP3, television, the Internet or personal computer—these uses and public performances need to be licensed directly through Global Music Rights.

What if I have additional licensing questions?

Feel free to email us at licensing@globalmusicrights.com.

I want to use music-on-hold in my business. Do I need permission?

Yes. Music-on-hold is a type of public performance. Please contact Global Music Rights for the proper license at licensing@globalmusicrights.com.

What service does Global Music Rights provide to businesses?

Global Music Rights provides an opportunity for businesses to license the music of Global Music Rights clients through one simple, hassle free license.

If others perform music in my place of business, can I, the owner/operator, still be held liable for copyright infringement?

Yes you can. It is the responsibility of the venue/place of business to obtain licenses for all music played within the premises, whether live or recorded.

Do I have any other options to obtain the required authorization to perform copyrighted music?

No. In order for a business to perform music publicly, a performing rights license is required or permission granted via a direct license from each songwriter and publisher whose works are performed.