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A guide to copyrights and licensing

Disc Makers is committed to protecting your intellectual property – your music, film, software, presentations, and any other copyrighted material. That's why we created Disc Makers' Anti-Piracy Compliance Program, which protects copyright owners from unauthorized reproduction of their property. We actively help protect your property rights and those of the owners of any third-party material you use on your project.

Questions about Intellectual Property Protection, Copyrights, or Licensing?
While intellectual property rights procedures can sometimes be time-consuming, they are a necessary safeguard to protect the rights of everyone involved in creating digital media. Every legitimate disc manufacturer will require you to prove ownership of all copyrighted material before your discs can be replicated.

We know that obtaining copyrights and licenses can be confusing, so we've put together these step-by-step audio files to help guide you through the process:
1. Introduction: Copyright & Fair Use  (Audio & Rom/DVD)
2. Master Use & Sync License  (Audio & Rom/DVD)
3. Compulsory & Mechanical Licenses  (Audio & Rom/DVD)
4. Compilations  (Audio)
5. Software Licenses  (Rom/DVD)

Copyrights
Protect your material by reregistering all original work – songs, films, scripts, artwork, software, etc. – with the United States Copyright Office. (http://www.copyright.gov) You automatically own the rights to your creation, but registering it with the Copyright Office is the best way to prove and protect your ownership.

Songwriters may also want to affiliate and license your songs with a performing rights society, like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC to collect performance royalties for your copyrighted songs.

Using samples and other third-party material
Note: If your project contains any material owned by a third-party, Disc Makers cannot begin replication unless you send in a copy of the proper licensing.

If your master contains any form of sampling you are required to purchase Master Use Licensing and include proof-of-purchase with your project. Sampling a portion of another artist's work, regardless of the length, from TV shows, movies, commercial sound bites, or music and video clips of any kind, requires Licensing. The owner will generally request information about the number of discs you are making and the countries where you intend to distribute, and will often charge you a fee.

If you are a musician who has recorded a cover version of someone else’s song, you need to get a mechanical license authorizing you to reproduce their composition. You will have to get a separate license for each song and each format configuration (CD, digital download, ringtone).  The prevailing statutory rate is 9.10¢ for songs five minutes or less, or 1.75¢ per minute or fraction thereof over five minutes.

Disc Makers has partnered with Easy Song Licensing, a leading license clearing firm, which offers an easy way to pay for mechanical licenses all in one easy on-line spot. Go here to get started. It really only takes a few minutes to be in compliance.

If you do not own the rights to any content on your master you must also submit a completed Audio Manufacturing Agreement or a contract authorizing you to reproduce the content.

If your master contains third-party software applications, such as Apple QuickTime, Windows Media Player, etc. additional licensing may be required. These applications are the property of the organizations that developed them. Even for freeware or shareware applications, you need a User Distribution License to include them on your project. Most software owners will require you to print their logo, trademark, or copyright symbol on your packaging, inserts, and discs. They may even mandate inclusion of warranty disclaimers and other legal information. Most third-party software, shareware, and freeware companies have downloadable licensing agreements on their websites.

To avoid delays, you must submit the following to Disc Makers with your master:
• A completed Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) form. Audio or DVD/CD-ROM.
• A completed and signed Audio Manufacturing Agreement (only needed if the rights to content on your master belong to a third party).

Copies of the following licenses:
• Master Use License (if your project contains samples of previously released material)
• User Distribution License (if you are using someone else's software on your disc)

Reminder: Third-party material should be credited on your artwork (for music CDs) or in the on-screen credits (for films on DVD/CD-ROMs).