Identifying the rights holders of a musical work
Identifying the rights holders of a sound recording
You can use databases such as Musicbrainz, do web searches and/or ask ADISQ, CIMA or Music Canada to find the contact information of the rights holders of sound recordings, which are typically the producers or record labels.
Rights clearance organizations
Identifying the rights holders of music can sometimes be a complex task. Companies that specialize in this endeavour offer their services to help you identify those rights holders and negotiate licensing tariffs. Here is a list of companies that offer such services
Right of refusal following a utilization request
The rights holders, or some of them, can refuse to grant you the permission to use a musical work and/or a sound recording even if you offer a compensation.
Clarification and cautionary statement
There are differences—notably legal—between a musical work and the support to which it is fixed, i.e. a sound recording, sheet music, a video, etc. This is why the rights holders to a piece of music can be different from the rights holders to its sound recording, video or any other mode of fixation. You must obtain the permission from all of the rights holders to use contents they own. This site will give you the information you need about all the steps required to obtain the various permissions required according to the intended use.
Typically, a publisher controls the musical work and the producer controls the sound recording, video, etc.
In some cases, authors, composers and publishers can be represented by collective rights management organizations [e.g. SOCAN, CMRRA] which can grant licences for certain uses on behalf of their members.
Authors and/or composers are sometimes also the publishers of a musical work.
The material on this web site is provided for informational purposes only.