Licensing FAQ

As a manufacturer of recorded material, Furnace is obligated to make sure that all of the audio recordings, video and data that we duplicate is owned or being used legally by our customers. Each project requires a completed “IPR” declaration (included on our order form) that states who the owner of the master contents are and, if needed, executed licensing documents when including material that is the property of another party or parties.

Below are explanations of which licenses are needed.

During the process of mastering your recording, if we find an unlicensed song, sample, video clip or file that has not been properly accounted for (and trust me, we almost always do, we will reject the master and you’ll be billed for all work that has been done up to that point plus an order cancellation fee.

Let’s say you sampled a killer drum beat by the Meters or you’d like to include some dialog from Star Wars (hopefully not JarJar Binks). You’ll need to submit a contract to Furnace stating that you have permission from the Master Rights Owners of that recording in the form of a Master License (direct from the label or film company). You MAY also need to pay for and secure a Mechanical License from either the Harry Fox Agency or directly from whomever controls the publishing.

When using someone else’s recording on your release, you’ll need a signed Master License from the Master Rights Owner of the recording.

If you are a label who owns all of the masters by the various artists appearing on the recording, you will need to show Furnace a document showing us that these recordings are currently under your control and not under a separate license from the band / owner. You will also need to pay Mechanical Licenses (as you should be doing with all the records you sell on your label.)

If you cover a song by another artist, you are the Master Rights holder of that recording but you will still need to secure a Mechanical License so that the royalties are paid to the owner of the song’s publishing.

Head over to http://www.songfile.com/ to register and pay for the required Mechanical License.

The Master Rights owner is the band, artist, label, estate, etc. who owns the master tapes – usually the person or entity who financed the recording. A Master License from the owner grants you the right to include an artist’s song(s) on your replicated finished goods (Vinyl, Digital, Download Card files, etc.)

A mechanical license grants the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical compositions (songs) on Vinyl, CDs, tapes, ringtones, permanent digital downloads, interactive streams and other digital configurations. If you want to record and distribute a song that you don’t own or control, or if your business requires the distribution of music that was written by others, you need to get a mechanical license.

When using a sample or adding someone else’s recording onto your record, you should get a master use license from the owner prior to requesting a mechanical license.

The Harry Fox Agency represents a good chunk of music publishers and should be the first place you visit when needing to secure a Mechanical License. If Harry Fox doesn’t represent the song / composition you are looking to license, you’ll need to track down the mechanical license owner directly.

If you are covering a song, use Songfile (a division of HFA).

Note on Samples and Mechanical Licenses: the law is a bit murky here because some samples are so short that you may not need a Mechanical License because it does not represent the song as a whole (although you will always need a Master License). You’ll need to prove to Furnace that a Mechanical License is not required for any samples you wish to include on your record.

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