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Copyright & Music: Obtaining Copyright Permission

U.S. Copyright Office Catalog

"The Copyright Office Catalog contains approximately 20 million records for works registered and documents recorded with the Copyright Office since 1978.

Included in one integrated database are registrations and preregistrations for books, music, films, sound recordings, maps, software, photographs, art, multimedia, periodicals, magazines, journals, newspapers, [...]"

     U.S. Copyright Office Catalog

     Find Records Prior to 1978

Orphan Works

Orphan works are those works in which the owner of a copyright cannot be established. Orphan works are still under copyright.

Testimony, reports, and legislation from the U.S. Copyright Office:

      U.S. Copyright : Orphan Works

Obtain Permission for a Public Performance

There are three major performing rights organizations in the U.S.: ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), and SESAC.  All license the public performances of their members' works. Each maintains a database which can be searched.

See the links below for contacting publishers directly.

Copyright Clearance Center

In addition to seeking permissions directly from publishers, you can go through the Copyright Clearance Center to obtain permissions.
      Copyright Clearance Center

Directory of Music Publishers from MPA

Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA)
     Directory of Music Publishers
     Directory of Music Imprints

Obtain Permission to Copy or Perform Printed Music

Many music publishers' websites contain links to forms to request permission to copy scores in their catalogs. Here are a few: