What is a compulsory license? A compulsory license is just one example of copyright law where it is an exception to the rule. Enforced by the government, copyright holders must grant use of their works. Basically, a compulsory license allows a state or other users to utilize copyrighted, patented or exclusive rights’ material for the protection of those who use work(s) for education or non-commercial purposes.
Compulsory licenses are often used in the entertainment field where music is aired on radio stations and/or web casting. In addition, compulsory licenses are used in conjunction with television and cable broadcasting systems as well.
In the music industry, compulsory license is generally an authorization granted by the copyright holder to perform; record or use a copyrighted song. For example, if you recorded a song for commercial release, your exclusive rights are no longer applicable. In this event, a compulsory license will allow other artists to record or perform your song without formal permission. However, a compulsory license still requires notification of song use be sent to the copyright holder. Upon which, royalties are still issued to copyright holder by the publishing company.
Currently, a hot topic, compulsory licensing is being debated regarding file sharing and other Internet usage. While royalties may still be attained by the copyright holders, these funds are often set by law or an arbitration venue.
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