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Compulsory Mechanical Licensing Law
“Once phonorecords of a musical work have been publicly distributed in the United States with the copyright owner’s consent, anyone else may, under certain circumstances and subject to limited conditions, obtain a “compulsory license” to make and distribute phonorecords of the work without express permission from the copyright owner.”

US Copyright Office, Circular 73
Compulsory License for Making and Distributing Phonorecords

How We Can License Any Song

When you hire us for cover song licensing, we follow the Compulsory Mechanical Licensing statutes of The United States Copyright Law. These statutes allow you to
legally release your new recording of any existing song, even without the Copyright holder's express permission (under certain conditions). You might have heard that some songwriters are very protective of their artistic works and that they will not give permission to make new recordings of their songs. If you ask them directly, they can demand any fee or deny your request outright. But when you hire us to follow the Compulsory Law for you, you can legally release your recording of anyone's song. This law fosters artistic creativity and allows indie musicians to create new versions of very popular songs.

Steps of the Compulsory Law
The Compulsory statutes mandate a number of regulations for reporting to the copyright holder and for paying royalties. The steps are complex, but we do it all for you. First we send a Notice of Intention to the copyright holder. This document declares your intention to release your version of their song and includes your album information, such as the title, artist, release date, anticipated quantities, and more. The Notice of Intention is sent after manufacturing, but before distribution. Then, we follow up with a Statement of Account, which again details the project and the royalties due. This is accompanied by the royalties and is due no later than the 20th of the month following the first date of distribution. Finally, the copyright holder may request an Annual Statement of Account audited by a certified public accountant.

No Physical Paperwork
Under Compulsory Law, no paperwork is received from the copyright holders. Instead, a license is automatically granted and the copyright holder is not required to send any return paperwork.

Limitations
Some restrictions in the law limit its use. While general rearrangement in your recording is allowed, a Compulsory license cannot be obtained if there are fundamental changes to the lyrics or melody; also, any rearrangement in print (sheet music) or reproduction of the music notes or lyrics is not covered by this license. Master rights (use of a copyrighted recording) are not covered by this license. Also, the copyright holder has the right to be the first to release their song. So, you can only get a Compulsory Mechanical license if the song has already been released. International songs not copyrighted in the United States are not subject to the Compulsory Law. Finally, selling your album is allowed under this license, but not for public performance; background track; or karaoke purposes. Only for private listening by the end user.

We will not be able to help you get a Compulsory Mechanical License if
  1) you change the lyrics of the song,
  2) you change the fundamental melody of the song (general rearrangement is allowed however),
3) you request a song that has never been released,
  4) you need to license retroactively (a previous release of yours),
  5) you release your recording of the song for any purpose other than personal private listening by the end user,
  6) you request a song with a copyright holder based outside of, and not represented in the United States.
More Information:

Circular 73
The Copyright Office's official document that explains Compulsory Mechanical Licensing Law.

Section 201.18 of Title 37
A sample taken from the actual law illustrating the steps of Compulsory Licensing.


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