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How to Copyright for Mechanical License?

Copyright for Mechanical License
| Updated: Jan 04, 2021 | Category: Copyright

Copyright means an exclusive right that the owner or the creator of the original work has, which symbolizes that such work is unique and cannot be strictly copied or imitated or replicated by any other person. The copyright of work is used to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of creative work, but not the idea itself. A fact, system, operation methods or idea cannot be protected under the copyright law. One such subject matter about which this article will talk about is a mechanical license. Before discussing how to copyright for a mechanical license, let us first know about the subject matters which can be copyrighted under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.

Subject matter of Copyright

  • Literary work
  • Dramatic work
  • Musical work
  • Cinematograph films
  • Computer program/software
  • Artistic work
  • Sound recordings
  • Mechanical licensing
  • Training manuals, etc.

Understanding Mechanical Licensing

A mechanical license is an agreement between the owner of a copyrighted composition and a music user, started from 1920, that permits to release the song in the audio-format only, that is, in interactive audio channels, CDs, hard disks and so on. Mechanical licensing is the amount paid to a music publishing company on the ownership of the specific audio.

Why there is a need of copyright for Mechanical License?

When a song that was written by a person is released in an audio format, a mechanical license is needed for it. Therefore, there is a need for Copyright registration for a mechanical license to release such song in the audio format in the public, or in the CD format or playing the song for the band. A mechanical license is needed even if a small portion of a song is used for any event. A mechanical license is used for audio songs and cost of the license depends upon the owner of the copyrighted composition.

Benefits of Copyright for Mechanical license

The benefits of the copyright for a mechanical license are as follows: –

  • The copyright helps in the legal protection and evidence of the work which can be submitted anytime, anywhere when required.
  • Copyright for mechanical license helps to make the original work of the owner stand out in the public among others.
  • Copyright for mechanical license helps to save the owner from the monetary loss.
  • Copyright for mechanical license helps to protect the status and reputation of the owner since he/she owns the ideas.
  • It helps to get the work noticed by the public if it is unique and would further attract a lot of attention.
  • Copyright for mechanical license helps in generating high revenue.

What are the documents required for Copyright for Mechanical License?

To obtain a mechanical license, a person is required to directly go to the rights holder for that audio or song. The documents that are required for the copyright for a mechanical license are: –

  • 2 copies of work (graphical notes).
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the author if the application is filed by someone else on behalf of him.
  • IPO/DD of Rs. (as applicable) per work.
  • A Power of Attorney duly signed by the applicant, if the application is filed by a Lawyer.

How to acquire a Mechanical License?

A mechanical license can be acquired through the cover song licensing service. The person can get permission from the owner of the copyright of the song and acquire it in one or two business days.

How Mechanical license work?

A recording company is not allowed to release a copyright material without the paperwork. A label distributed in music must be agreed to be there by the songwriter publishing company. And this can only be done through the mechanical license issued to record labels. The mechanical license for the cover song is being used throughout the world by all the upcoming musicians. A copyright or non-dramatic music in making the records or CDs for the public events is allowed to be used by the recording companies by the mechanical license company. All the musical companies are paid by the publishers and then the amount is distributed to the songwriters as mentioned in the music contract.

Mechanical Rights

The owner of the copyright-protected musical composition has the exclusive mechanical rights to make a decision on who will be licensed for the first phone record. And the publisher shall not require obtaining a mechanical license as the copyright law gives the owner the right to grant the license.

The mechanical license issued by the music company must be kept safe after recording and before releasing it and also when once released, it must be kept. Before the release of a song, the reputable manufacturers require proof for a license. Also, reputable online service to requires proof for a mechanical license to distribute the song. A copyright for a mechanical license must be done for easing to keep the license safe with the owner.

The license is possible upon the payment of the license fees at the statutory rate, that is, 9.1 cents for 5 minutes and 1.75 cents per minute of the song or more than a 5-minute song.

If a writer is recording the work of the artist and the record is sold by some clubs, then the record label obtains a reduction in the mechanical royalty rate. The publisher or the artist would be most probably paid a ¾th of the rate or 75% of the statutory rate. To accept the rate less than the statutory rate is left on their choice and the ¾th of the rate is given to the recording company which is non-negotiable.


The purpose of copyright is to protect the original work of the creator, author or the owner under the copyright law. A copyright license cannot be extended beyond the territory of the specified jurisdiction where it is granted by the law.  A mechanical license is required even for making a little or slight change in the original components such as adding own lyrics, remix, changing original composition and etc. The purpose of mechanical license is to let the creation of the artists reach to the general public in the form of CDs, or publishing the music online or in any other form of distribution. The copyright of Mechanical license is hence necessary to protect the right of the original owner and enjoy the rights available to them under it.

Also, Read: Is it possible to Copyright Artwork in India?

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Japsanjam Kaur Wadhera is an Advocate and has completed her BA.LLB (Hons) and has experience of writing various research papers during her college time. Earlier she was working as an Associate Advocate in a reputed Law Firm. She has an extreme interest in writing legal content and her core area falls under legal enactments, tax and finance.

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