A funny thing happened back in the Brill Building days of music publishing. Before the National Music Publishers Association, better known as the NMPA, was formed in 1917, there was a music publisher’s trade association in New York and a guy named Harry Fox worked there. For whatever reason, Fox was the guy who doled out mechanical licenses for the songwriters and publishers when someone wanted to reproduce a copyrighted work. In those days, the copyright was issued most usually for sheet music, rather than ringtones or downloads. The mechanical license, which gives someone the right to reproduce the recording, sheet music or lyrics to a copyright that someone else owns, thus became affectionately known as a “Harry Fox license.” Gary Churgin, President and CEO of the Harry Fox Agency, says that, over 90 years later, a lot has changed since the days of the "Harry Fox license." The Harry Fox Agency, or HFA, was created by and is wholly owned by the NMPA, the publisher's trade organization, and issues many of the licenses publishers grant each year. (Record labels and individuals who want to reproduce a song can also go directly to the publisher or another provider, such as Rightsflow, for a mechanical license.) To make the process of obtaining a copyright license even easier, HFA has created a tool that anyone can use called Songfile®. In the interview below, we talk to Mr. Churgin about the changes publishers face, Songfile, and all those lyrics sites online. What, in your opinion, have been the biggest changes for music publishers over the last ten years. Five years. Last year. Gary Churgin: Throughout history, technology has been... Sign In to Keep Reading
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