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A contractual permission to act. It is usually given by written agreement which is granted by a party of authority that is legally authorized to grant such permission, e.g., allowing a party to exclusively exercise a right in copyright. In the absence of such authorization the act would be illegal.

In the music industry the money flow and earnings are based in the various use licenses issued by the copyright owner or his authorized representative(s). The fees charged for all such licenses create the money flow.

Since there are many rights given to the copyright owner by law, and since these rights are divisible, it would only follow that there would be many different types of licenses that may be issued. But, this is only the half of it! These multiple types of licenses can be issued to multiple numbers of users via multiple numbers of middlemen agents and representatives! The pie can have many slices and as more and more middlemen become involved, the slices get smaller and smaller!

See Cross-links: PERMIT, CONTRACT, LICENSED PROFESSION, LICENSEE, LICENSOR, MUSIC PUBLISHER, RIGHT, PERFORMANCE RIGHTS SOCIETY, PERFORMANCE LICENSE FEE, PERFORMANCE, RIGHT, MECHANICAL RIGHT, JUKE BOX under "Juke Box License," PERFORMANCE CONTRACT, PERFORMANCE LICENSE FEE, PERFORMANCE RIGHTS SOCIETY, LEGITIMATE THEATER, CONCERT, MUSIC under "User of Music," JUKE BOX under "Juke Box License," COPYRIGHT LAW under "Perform," "Compulsory License," "Compulsory License Fee," "Compulsory License for Cable Television," "Compulsory License for Juke Boxes," "Compulsory License for Noncommercial (Public) Broadcasting," "Compulsory License for Phonorecords," "Exclusive Rights," "Performance Right," " Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act," "First Recording Right," "Notice of Intention," "Statutory Royalty," "Copyright Office," "Copyright," "Copyright Owner," "Exclusive Rights," and "Limitations to Exclusive Rights," TAX under "Excise Tax," ROYALTY, CONCERT.
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Compulsory License:
A license authorized by copyright law and issued by the Copyright Office. It is a license that allows the licensee certain use rights of copyrighted material. Individual licenses are issued with respect to phonorecords (to manufacture, distribute, and sell), juke boxes (to publicly perform non-dramatic music), cable systems (to broadcast secondary transmissions), and noncommercial public broadcasting (to transmit). This type of license can be obtained by the perspective user without the permission of the copyright owner.

However, compulsory licenses can only be secured if certain conditions, restrictions, and fee (royalty) payment requirements are met.

For example, with respect to juke boxes, a compulsory license can only be obtained by a juke box operator user where the juke box operator user and the copyright owner (or his authorized representative, often his performance rights society) are unable to mutually agree upon a negotiated license.

Also, in the special case of a compulsory license for phonorecords (discs, tapes, and CDs) it cannot be issued until the copyrighted work has had its first commercial recording and has been distributed to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership. (The license that allows the first commercial recording of a work is a negotiated license, called a mechanical license, and is issued to the record company by the copyright owner's agent licensor which is usually the Harry Fox Agency.)

Further, a compulsory license for phonorecords only allows for the recording of "sound-alike" recordings. These recordings must be…

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