Copyright Resources

Music for All is committed to full compliance with the copyright laws of the United States.

Copyright compliance is the responsibility of everyone in the creative process including the marching band directors and teachers, the arrangers, the event host (such as Music For All/Bands of America for its events) and anyone who records, duplicates or distributes content protected by copyright (such as Music For All/Bands of America in its DVD sales).

Music For All is committed to full compliance with the copyright laws of the United States and requires all enrolled bands to comply with copyright laws including: arrangements of copyrighted music, use of copyrighted visual images and other materials, use of copyrighted audio or spoken text, and display of copyrighted words and images.

Music for All Bands of America participants and others are welcome to use the resources provided in this site. While we believe the information is accurate, we provide no guarantee or warranty concerning these materials or the interpretation or applicability of the laws to your situation.

Copyright Resources

Do I Need Copyright Permission For My Show?

When Must My Copyright Paperwork be received by MFA? How

Do I Obtain Permission To Arrange or Adapt?

What Are the Requirements for Use of Public Domain Material?

What Songs Have Permissions to Arrange Restrictions and Are Not Available For Use in My Show?

What Songs Have Video Recording Special Requirements & Restrictions by MFA?

Where Can I Find More Information On Copyright Law?

Online Forms

Downloadable Form


Do I Need Copyright Permission for My Show?

Yes. You are required by law to obtain permission to arrange or adapt copyrighted material prior to creating the arrangement.

To accommodate the publishers' processing needs, you should submit your permission requests at least 8 weeks prior to the date by which you plan to start arranging. Do not wait until your entire show is finished.

What Constitutes A New Arrangement?

1. Creation of a completely new arrangement of a copyrighted song.
2. Adapting or altering a marching band or drum corps arrangement.
3. Arrangements made from a concert band scores.
4. Purchased arrangements played with added parts (for example, adding percussion where none existed).

Permission to arrange is not required if you are using a purchased arrangement as written, a completely original composition or a confirmed public domain composition.


Participant Requirements

All documentation must be submitted in order for Music for All to fulfill its legal and administrative obligations. Bands will not be permitted to participate until they have provided MFA with the following:

1) Music for All Copyright Report – Due by September 1
2) Permission to Arrange Agreements- Due at least 30 days before event
Copies of all licenses permitting custom arrangements of copyrighted works in your show. We strongly encourage you to submit your request to arrange in writing to publishers as soon as possible. The licensing process should be completed before you begin arranging your music. If you allow a minimum of 8 weeks to obtain a license then you should be able to submit your proof of copyright clearance (permission to arrange) with your Copyright Report by August 1.
3) $250.00 Fixing Fee and Restricted Compositions Synchronization Agreements
Required for compositions listed in the Video Recording Special Requirements Section.
4) Video Waiver
The Video Waiver form is required if you plan to perform any composition on the Video Recording Restricted Composition List. This waiver acknowledges that the audio portion containing these works will not be included on any video.

How Do I Obtain Permission to Arrange or Adapt Music for My show?

Permission to arrange or adapt copyrighted music must be obtained from the copyright owner or print representative prior to starting your arrangement. You should submit your permission requests as soon as you have a tentative repertoire to ensure adequate time for processing, payment, and return of formal permission. We suggest submitting requests a minimum of 8 weeks prior to arranging your music.

There are 3 easy ways to obtain permission to arrange a copyrighted song.

1. Contact a Print Representative Online

Your request will be processed most promptly when your request is submitted to the print publisher whose catalog includes your song(s). If known, submit your request to the proper print publisher. If the proper print publisher is not known, you may use a "category request" and submit your song(s) from your show to one of the print publishers listed below for processing. Most print publishers include a list of administered catalogs on their licensing website and will send referral information for songs not included in their catalog.

This option offers the lowest possible costs and efficient turn-around time.

For Popular Repertoire, submit to:
Hal Leonard Corporation (
Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. (
For Classical Repertoire, submit to:
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. (
G. Schirmer, Inc. (

These print publishers represent a large amount of repertoire most often utilized by marching ensembles. You may need to contact additional companies for those few works not handled by these publishers.

2. Use the Music for All Copyright Service

Fill out the Music for All Copyright Service Form online and MFA will contact the appropriate publishers on your behalf.

This option is beneficial for programs or directors who prefer to outsource the administrative tasks surrounding the licensing process.

BOA charges a $275.00 fee for this service with a $50 discount to BOA participants. This fee does not include the licensing fees required by the copyright owners or print representatives.

The BOA licensing service is responsible only for administering permission requests. You are responsible for signing and returning all necessary contracts and paying all required license fees.

3. Contact the Copyright Owner Directly

Confirm the copyright owner for each song through the, ASCAP, BMI or the Music for All Database (copyright holder's database). These databases provide writer, performer and publisher contact information for most published works. The MFA Database is a collection of permission-to-arrange data that MFA has collected through the years. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes most of the works commonly used by participating bands. The MFA  Database is not an authoritative guarantee that a song listed will be approved for arrangement in the future. It lists works that have been approved for arrangement for marching band in the past and those that are known to have been automatically denied. If a publisher has informed MFA that a song will be automatically denied, we have noted its status in the comments field.


Once you have determined who controls the licensing rights, send each holder a written request for each song using the Permission to Arrange Form prepared by the Music Publishers' Association. Please note that many composers use print representatives such as Hal Leonard Corporation or Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. to process arrangement requests and may not respond to requests direct or my direct you to their representatives. You may need to contact the copyright owner directly for more obscure or specialized repertoire. Submitting requests is free. This option may take more time and responses from publishers may be delayed.


What If I'm Using A Public Domain Song?

As a general rule, compositions created before 1923 are now in the Public Doman. While works in the public domain do not require permission, many published arrangements of public domain works are still under copyright and will require permission from the music publisher if you wish to adapt them for your ensemble.

You can confirm the public domain status of compositions with the U.S. Copyright Office at the following address:

U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20559
(202) 707-3000 – Phone

Due to the modification of the GATT treaty on January 1, 1995 the copyright to the works of the following Russian composers were restored and copyright is still in effect. Permission must be obtained to adapt or arrange their compositions.

Composers U.S. Publisher
G. Schirmer Inc.
c/O Music Sales Corporation
257 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
(212) 254-2100- Phone
(212) 254-2013- Fax
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
35 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 358-5300- Phone
(212) 358-5305- Fax

The publishers for most other foreign composers can be determined through a search of the ASCAP or BMI databases