When you need to ask for permission to use a work under copyright, for example to communicate it to the public, you first need to determine who to contact. 

The authors

When the author has not concluded a contract with a market player such as a producer or publisher, and when he has neither appointed a collective management organisation to manage his rights, you must contact the author himself to ask for permission. This will often be the case when the author is not a professional, as for example the author of a blog or a person who puts his own made musical composition on the internet.

However, it is not always the author himself who can validly give permission to use his work. Often, he will, indeed, use a collective management organisation to manage his rights and/or have concluded a contract with a professional intermediary, such as a publisher or producer.

Producers and other intermediaries

When the author or performer has a producer or publisher, best is to contact this producer or publisher to obtain the necessary permission.

Collective management organisation

Many authors appoint a  collective management organisation to manage their rights. After determining the collective management organisation to which the author belongs, the user needs to contact this organisation for the necessary permissions and to pay the necessary remunerations. Be aware, if more than one person has rights on a work (for example the author, performer and producer of a song) it will be necesarry to ask permission to several collective mangement organisations and to pay the remunerations. Therefore it will be often necessary to pay several rights when playing music in a public place.

Collective management organisations are the reference institutions with regards the permissions to be obtained to play music in a public place, on the radio and to broadcast works by cable television. When you consider using several works for a specific event, it may be useful to contact a collective management organisation rather than all individual authors.

Last update
23 March 2022