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 and web streaming).

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. New technologies and their use continually affect the application of copyright law. 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?
How Can I Learn Whether Songs I’m Considering for My Show Have Special Requirements and/or Restrictions?
Where Can I Find More Information On Copyright Law?

Online Forms

Copyright Service (Discontinued)
Video Recording Waiver

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. We encourage you to submit requests for permissions to arrange as early as possible and prior to committing to your show concept and content. If you are also planning to participate in Bands of America events or others where your show may be recorded and distributed, we also encourage that you inquire (of the publisher/copyright holder/copyright service provider) whether there may be restrictions or prohibitions on the synchronization (video recording and distribution) of the music you selected and whether the rights’ holder expects unusually high royalties or fees to ensue.

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/Bands of America to fulfill its legal and administrative obligations. Bands will not be permitted to participate until they have provided Music for All with the following:
1) Music for All Copyright Report – Due by September 1
Online Copyright Report Form
2) Permission to Arrange Agreements- Due September 1
3) Copies of all licenses permitting custom arrangements of copyrighted works in your show.
We strongly encourage you to submit your request to arrange 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 September 1.
4) Fixing Fee and Restricted Compositions Synchronization Agreements
Upon receipt of your Copyright Report, Music for All/Bands of America will begin the process to determine/confirm whether special restrictions/prohibitions may exist for synchronization (video recording and distribution) of the songs you selected. Music for All/Bands of America will notify you as it learns of restrictions/prohibitions that may prohibit it from including your performance or portions of it in its DVD and streaming products and commemoratives. In certain cases, Music for All/Bands of America may be able to include the problem songs if you (your program) agree to pay the entire costs attributable to extraordinary fixing or other unusual right fees or costs incurred by Music for All/Bands of America as a result of including the problem song. In cases where bands decline to pay such additional fees/costs, Music for All will, at its discretion, exclude or mute all or the affected portions of your performance from its recordings and compilations. Bands choosing to perform such compositions will be asked to complete a Video Recording Waiver (see below).
Because the status of restrictions and synchronization licensing terms and conditions are subject to change, and at the request of certain copyright owners and administrators, Music for All/Bands of America no longer maintains a list of songs that prohibit or specially restrict synchronization and distribution. We encourage you to inquire about synchronization restrictions as you make your requests for permission(s) to arrange. See: “How Can I Learn Whether Songs I’m Considering for My Show Have Special Requirements and/or Restrictions?” for more guidance and assistance.
5) Video Recording Waiver
The Video Recording Waiver is required if you plan to perform any composition the Music for All/Bands of America determines to be outside of the parameters for which it may obtain synchronization licensing. This waiver acknowledges that the audio portion containing these works will not be included on any video.
Video Recording Waiver
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. We also encourage you to inquire about the availability of your songs to be synchronized for video recording and distribution and whether any special fixing fees, minimums or other restrictions or requirements may exist.

There are easy ways to obtain permission to arrange copyrighted songs:
1. Tresona® Licensing Exchange (
Tresona operates an automated online service for which applicants pay no fees for administration. Its library includes most works owned or managed by major studios or publishing companies.
2. 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.
For Popular Repertoire, submit to:
a. Hal Leonard Corporation (, which will direct you to Tresona® and its service.
b. 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.

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 obtaining a permission to arrange, 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
Goedicke 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. 

How Can I Learn Whether Songs I’m Considering for My Show Have Special Requirements and/or Restrictions?

If you are using a copyright licensing service (such as Tresona® Licensing Exchange), you may inquire of them whether there exist any known copyright owner restrictions, prohibitions or special conditions place upon synchronization licenses for songs you intend to use in/arrange for your show. Other print rights holders/administrators from whom you may also obtain permissions to arrange should be able to guide/inform you regarding songs in their library. Generally, Music for All/Bands of America will not contract for synchronization licenses that include fixing fees or higher rates than routinely paid that or commercially infeasible or that trigger or may trigger “most favored nations” provisions increasing licensing costs for entire volumes of performances.