Recording a Cover Version? You'll Need a Mechanical License!


New Version of HFA Songfile Makes Mechanical Licensing Even Easier-Service Now Offers Licensing for Music Downloads in Addition to CDs, Cassettes, and Vinyl Records

Last Updated: October 31, 2005 5:10 pm GMT
(NEW YORK--BUSINESS WIRE--Oct. 31, 2005) The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA) announced today that it has launched a new version of HFA Songfile, its online song search and mechanical licensing tool designed for those who plan to make 2500 copies or less of their recordings.

Available through, licensees can now obtain licenses for permanent downloads (referred to in the U.S. Copyright Act as digital phonorecord deliveries, or "DPDs"), in addition to licenses for CDs, cassettes, and vinyl records. This enhanced version of HFA Songfile is also easier to navigate, has improved transaction processing, and will retain a history of the licenses that a customer has purchased. HFA represents nearly 1.5 million songs from almost 28,000 music publishers, so it is likely that users will be able to find exactly what they are looking for, and in most cases, will have their HFA mechanical license within 24 hours, if not minutes.

"With the explosion of digital delivery, it was critical to add full, permanent downloads as an option through HFA Songfile," said Maurice Russell, Vice President of Licensing, HFA. "The other improvements will make it even easier for groups creating small quantities of recordings, such as independent bands, church choirs, and community groups, to obtain and track the HFA mechanical licenses for their recordings."

"HFA offers licensing options for all sizes of licensees - from multi-national music companies to garage bands. This is one of the real benefits to publishers that are represented by HFA," said Michael Simon, Senior Vice President of Licensing and the Chief of Strategic Development and Marketing, HFA. "Because we handle such a large volume of transactions, we can create and maintain the infrastructure needed to support these licensees."

Mechanical licenses are required under U.S. Copyright Law if one wants to duplicate and distribute a recording of a song that is owned by someone else. Proper licensing ensures that the publisher, and ultimately, the songwriter, are compensated for the use of their work. Reputable replicators and online music sites require copies of licenses before duplicating recordings or offering them online.

HFA Songfile makes obtaining the required mechanical license easy. By using a credit card, customers can request their licenses through the online application. Royalties are calculated at the statutory mechanical rate (currently 8.5 cents per copy for songs 5 minutes or less in length, or 1.65 cents per minute (or fraction thereof) per copy, for songs over 5 minutes). There is also a nominal processing fee on each song licensed. If a user just wants to research, there is a separate HFA Songfile Public Search tool available free of charge.

Customers must be conducting business in the U.S., and have a valid credit card with a U.S. billing address. Users are asked to create an account, with a user name and password. Licenses for songs on physical products and for DPDs must be obtained in separate transactions. For physical products, users are able license multiple songs for one physical album at a time, or users can obtain up to 50 separate DPD licenses in a single transaction.

HFA launched the first version of Songfile in July 1999. The new version was created by an in-house development team, and uses Verisign for its transaction processing.

Licensees that wish to obtain licenses for more than 2,500 copies of their recording should open an HFA Licensing Account, which will enable them to use HFA's larger-market licensing application, eMechanical. To do so they should contact HFA Client Relations at 212-834-0100 or

About HFA
Established in 1927 by the National Music Publishers' Association, HFA represents almost 28,000 U.S. music publishers for their mechanical licensing needs, issuing licenses and collecting and distributing royalties. HFA also provides collection and monitoring services to its U.S. publisher clients for music distributed and sold in over 75 territories around the world. For more information about HFA, or to become an affiliate publisher or a licensee, see


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