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Mechanical Licensing



Mechanical licensing is the licensing of copyrighted musical compositions for use on CDs, records, tapes, and certain digital configurations.

HFA and Mechanical Licensing

HFA was established as an agency to license, collect, and distribute royalties on behalf of musical copyright owners.

If you would like to make less than 2,500 copies of your recording as either physical products (CDs, cassettes, and vinyl) or permanent digital downloads, we suggest you request your licenses using HFA Songfile. If you plan on making more than 2,500 copies, please open an HFA Licensee Account.

Licensees with established HFA accounts can also register to use HFA's online licensing system, eMechanical. Click here for more details.

If you have a HFA Licensing Account, and you are interested in submitting your quarterly royalty reporting digitally, please download the recommended file layout here. Once the report is completed, email it as an attachment to royaltyfile@harryfox.com, and reference the check or wire transfer number in the email. Please include the check, payable to The Harry Fox Agency, Inc.

For current royalty rate information, please review the Statutory Royalty Rates page. It should be noted that a mechanical license does not include the right to reproduce an already existing sound recording. That is a separate right, called a Master Use Right, which must be procured from the copyright owner of such sound recording.

  • HFA issues mechanical licenses that are valid for the physical or digital reproduction (a DPD) of compositions embodied in sound recordings that are manufactured and distributed to the public for private use in the U.S. (including its territories and possessions).
  • With respect to licensees located outside of the U.S., there is a distinction between the licenses that are available for the reproduction of physical products, such as CDs, versus digital reproductions (DPDs), such as permanent digital downloads, interactive streams, limited downloads, and ringtones. 
  • HFA cannot issue mechanical licenses for physical products that are manufactured outside of the U.S. The products require an import license in order to be distributed in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. Click here to be directed to information about Importation Licensing available through HFA.
  • A foreign licensee of digital reproductions (DPDs) may obtain mechanical licenses from HFA in order to distribute such digital reproductions in the U.S., regardless of the country in which the computer server transmitting such digital reproductions is located.
  • Note: An HFA mechanical license does not include the right to display or reprint lyrics or the right to print sheet music. Nor does it cover any use of the song or lyrics in karaoke or "CD+G" products. For these rights, you must contact the publisher(s) directly.

Mechanical Licensing Laws

Under the U.S. Copyright Act, the right to use copyrighted, non-dramatic musical works in the making of phonorecords for distribution to the public for private use is the exclusive right of the copyright owner. However, the Act provides that once a copyright owner has recorded and distributed such a work to the U.S. public or permitted another to do so, a compulsory mechanical license is available to anyone else who wants to record and distribute the work in the U.S. upon the payment of license fees at the statutory "compulsory" rate as set forth in Section 115 of the Act.

Mechanical Licensing Forms

Registered Users

This area is for registered users of HFA Songfile and HFA Online.

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HFA is the foremost mechanical licensing, collection, and distribution agency for music publishers in the U.S.

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