Canada has SOCAN and Europe also has music license companies.
License information appears below but please remember… when purchasing a music license through the NTA your NTA Membership MUST be paid up (at the time you purchase the music license) for the entire length of time the music license you are purchasing covers. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC license covers from January 1 through December 31 of the same year.
Check the Expiration Date of your NTA Membership before sending in your music license application to be sure your current NTA Membership covers the length of time the music license you are purchasing covers. If it does not, be sure to also send in an NTA Membership Renewal Application to extend your NTA Membership.
NTA Members 2021 License Application Forms
Enter all required fields, Print. Sign and return forms to: NTA, P.O. Box 43544, Las Vegas, NV 89116.
(Make check payable to NTA.)
In order to effectively and efficiently enforce their rights under the copyright laws, American composers, lyricists, and publishers usually join one of the three performing rights organizations. These groups grant licenses to allow the public performance of the works of their members or affiliates. The organizations then collect and distribute those license fees. These fees are paid to the composers and publishers as royalties for the performance of their copyrighted works.
In short, you must pay royalties because the law says you do. But, clearly, some further explanation is needed as to why, for example, a merchant has to pay to play radio music in his or her store, when playing the radio or listening to music at home is “free.”
The long answer starts with the United States Constitution, which gives Congress the power to grant patents and copyrights. Pursuant to that power, Congress has enacted and amended various copyright laws. The Copyright Law of the U.S. today gives copyright owners the exclusive right to publicly perform or authorize performance of their works.
Generally speaking, public performances are very broadly construed under the law and are defined as performing “at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” This has been interpreted to mean that most performances at so called private clubs and fraternal organizations are “public” under the copyright law.
Early copyright laws limited the exclusive right to performances given “publicly for profit.” Today, however, the “for profit” limitation has been repealed and only an explicit list of exempt performances do not require a license from the copyright owner.
These include performances by instructors or students at scheduled classes at nonprofit educational institutions, performances of music at religious services, and performances by the public communication of a radio or television transmission by eating, drinking, or retail establishments of a certain size which use a limited number of speakers or televisions and if no charge is made to see or hear the transmission. (See Section 110(5) of the Copyright Act as revised at www.copyright.gov)
Performances at charitable functions are exempt from license or royalty requirements only if the performances have no direct or indirect commercial advantage and if no one involved with the performance, including any of the events’ performers, organizers, or promoters, is paid, and there is no direct or indirect admission charge.
A list of places and events at which licensing could be required includes, but is not necessarily limited to: restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels where live or recorded music is played, shopping malls, stores that play broadcast or recorded music, spas, gyms or other sites that offer exercise to music, trade shows, conventions, dance studies, skating rinks, private clubs or fraternal organizations, offices and stores that use “music on hold” for telephone customers, sports teams, colleges and universities, amusement parks, bowling centers, and the internet.
The proprietor of the business in which the copyrighted music is performed is liable for any infringement of copyrighted music in his or her place of business. Technically everyone responsible for an infringing performance can be sued as an infringer, including musicians and independent contractors. However, when copyright owners sue, they often go after the owner of the establishment rather than members of a band or the disc jockey (or dance teacher), who actually gave the unauthorized performance.
Courts have held that it is no defense in an infringement suit to claim that performers were hired as independent contractors; or were not paid by the club owner and worked only for tips, or that the owner did not know the music performed was copyrighted.
Since all three organizations represent different songwriters, composers, publishers, and copyright holders, you should secure licenses with all three in order to be completely covered for all music that could be performed on your premises.
Failure to obtain a license to perform publicly copyrighted music is copyright infringement under the copyright law. The copyright infringer is subject to a civil suit in federal court. Sanctions against an infringer can include an injunction and the copyright owner’s actual damages, as well as the infringer’s profits or “statutory damages” of up to $20,000 for each copyrighted song performed without a license (up to $100,000 if the infringement is willful). The infringer can also be required to pay the copyright owner’s legal fees. The law further provides for criminal sanctions against those who willfully infringe on a copyright for commercial advantage or private gain. Criminal violations are punishable by up to a $25,000 fine and/or up to a year in prison.
ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC use different fee schedules. NTA has negotiated a contract with each licensing company to reduce the licensing fees for its members. Licensing fees through NTA are about half of the cost that licensing directly through the companies would be. The fees, based on the cost of living index, change each year. The amounts are listed on the applications for licensing (found below in HTML and PDF format for your convenience).
The music licensing companies do NOT license instructors. They are involved only in the use of copyrighted music. While you do not have to have a license to teach, you DO have to have a music license to use the music for your lessons.
NTA is making this information and discount for licensing available to you. Using this knowledge each member is provided with the opportunity to make the decision on whether or not to be licensed in a responsible and professional manner.
For more information please contact: