Licensing


What's New

On October 11, 2018, the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed into law. Among other things, it makes significant changes to the section 115 compulsory license and makes sound recordings created before February 15, 1972, subject to the section 112 and section 114 licenses. In accordance with the new law, the Copyright Office no longer accepts section 115 notices of intention to obtain a compulsory license for making a digital phonorecord delivery of a musical work. Please visit the Office’s MMA homepage for more information.


Licensing Division

The Licensing Division is responsible for helping to administer the various statutory licenses and similar provisions, including: secondary transmissions of radio and television programs by cable and satellite systems; making and distributing phonorecords of nondramatic musical works; and importing, manufacturing, and distributing digital audio recording devices or media.


In general the division deducts its operating costs from the royalty fees collected and invests the balance in interest-bearing securities with the U.S. Treasury for later distribution to copyright owners. The division also collects filing fees to cover part of the costs in administering the cable and satellite licenses. For further information read Circular 75, The Licensing Division of the Copyright Office.


Visit the Copyright Royalty Board website for information on determination of rates and terms for the copyright statutory licenses and for determinations on distribution of statutory license royalties collected by the Copyright Office.


Organization of the Division

The Examining Section examines licensing documents submitted for a statutory or compulsory license to determine that they meet the requirements under the statute and Copyright Office regulations, including correct computations of the filing and royalty fees. A licensing examiner will notify a licensee to correct errors or omissions on a document before final processing by the Copyright Office.


The Fiscal Section performs all accounting, budgeting, and investing functions of the division in conjunction with the Copyright Office Chief Financial Officer, the Library of Congress Office of the Chief Financial Officer, and the U.S. Treasury. This section is also responsible for ascertaining the funds available for distribution by Copyright Royalty Judges.


The Information Section provides information about the compulsory and statutory licenses, maintains all the division’s official licensing records, and performs reference searches of licensing documents for the public and members of Congress.