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Print Music Publisher Since 2001

Music Copyright

Under Canadian law, a musical work is copyrighted if its author is still living, or if the author died less than 50 years ago. In the language of copyright, "author" means both the composer of the music and the lyricist.

Recording, Arranging, Licensing

If you record your band, orchestra or choir and make copies of CDs, tapes, videos, DVDs etc. you must obtain a "mechanical license" from the copyright owner via Lifelong Music. Reproduction of  copyrighted musical works either on a sound carrier (a record, tape, CD or other manufactured "contrivance") or in a film television program, commercial, or other program can only be made with the permission of the music publisher.

Obtaining a mechanical license from Lifelong is a quick easy process. You must make application for mechanical licenses for your product before you manufacture or import it. Submit the following information to Lifelong Music - contact information on Home page.

  • Title(s) and composer(s) arranger(s) name of the music you plan to record
  • The name of the performing ensemble
  • Quantity of CDs, tapes, etc. you plan to produce
  • The name, address, telephone, fax, and email address of the "producer" (usually the band director); this is the person to whom we send the mechanical license
  • Payment of the licensing fees (see rates below)

Statutory Mechanical Royalty Rates

$0.083  (8.3 cents) for works 5 minutes in duration or less
$0.0166 (1.66 cents) per minute or fraction thereof, for all works over 5 minutes.

For example, music of  6 minutes and 22 seconds of duration would be calculated:
7 times $0.0166 = $0.1162 (11.62 cents) per copy produced.)

Mail the requested information along with your royalty payment which is payable at the time your license application is made. It's expedient to receive all requested material at the same time.

What is a mechanical license?

A mechanical license is an agreement between the user and the publisher/owner of the music that the user intends to reproduce on sound carriers manufactured or imported into Canada. The license is extremely specific: it is limited to a particular composition, as manufactured (or imported) by the user on a particular product. The license is also specific as to the catalogue number of the product, the playing time and the performer. Licenses are issued on a song-by-son basis.

As part of the copyright law, you are required to serve notice of intention to obtain a mechanical license from the copyright owner, before distributing recordings or within 30 days of doing so.

Additional Notes:

  • Mechanical licenses must be obtained whether your recording is being sold or distributed for free.
  • Often, your CD manufacturer will require you to show licenses for each selection on your CD before they will manufacture them.
  • If you hire a recording service, do not assume that they are securing licenses on your behalf. Check with the recording service first.
  • You do not need to obtain a mechanical license if you wish to make a single copy of a recording of a performance by students for evaluation and rehearsal purposes. This type of recording may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher. You may record your concert or rehearsal to evaluate it for rehearsal study, but you cannot make multiple copies without obtaining a mechanical license.