Compulsory License – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Music Business Glossary

I. What is a Compulsory License?

A compulsory license is a legal mechanism that allows a person or entity to use copyrighted material without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. This type of license is typically granted by a government authority and is used to ensure that certain works are made available to the public for specific purposes, such as education, research, or public interest.

II. When is a Compulsory License Required?

A compulsory license may be required in situations where the copyright holder is unwilling or unable to grant permission for the use of their work. This can occur when the copyright holder cannot be located, when negotiations for a license have failed, or when the use of the work is deemed to be in the public interest.

III. How Does a Compulsory License Work?

In order to obtain a compulsory license, the party seeking to use the copyrighted material must typically apply to a government authority, such as a copyright office or a copyright tribunal. The authority will then determine whether the use of the work meets the criteria for a compulsory license and will set the terms and conditions for its use, including any royalties that must be paid to the copyright holder.

IV. What are the Benefits of a Compulsory License?

One of the main benefits of a compulsory license is that it allows for the use of copyrighted material in situations where it may not otherwise be possible. This can help to promote creativity, innovation, and the dissemination of knowledge and information. Compulsory licenses can also help to ensure that important works are preserved and made available to the public.

V. What are the Limitations of a Compulsory License?

Despite their benefits, compulsory licenses also have limitations. For example, they may only be granted for certain types of works or for specific purposes. Additionally, compulsory licenses may not always provide adequate compensation to copyright holders, which can lead to disputes and legal challenges.

VI. How Can Artists and Rights Holders Benefit from Compulsory Licenses?

Artists and rights holders can benefit from compulsory licenses in a number of ways. For example, compulsory licenses can help to increase the exposure and reach of their work, leading to greater recognition and opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, compulsory licenses can provide a source of income for artists and rights holders, as they are typically entitled to receive royalties for the use of their copyrighted material. Overall, compulsory licenses can help to strike a balance between the interests of copyright holders and the public, ensuring that important works are accessible to all.