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Securing permission to copy words or music

It is illegal and unethical to make multiple printed copies of copyrighted music. For information about purchasing or obtaining permission to print copies of music published by the UUA, go to The UUA is developing a new system for simplifying the permissions process, but until this system is in place, the above website is your best bet. If you are dealing with non-UUA publishers, ask for their permissions department. They will usually accommodate your needs in a courteous, though not always timely, fashion. Anyone planning to copy material for an official UU function is required to obtain permission well ahead of time.

Mechanical Licenses. If you are making five hundred or more DVD or CD copies, you are required by law (and ethics) to pay what are called mechanical licenses. These give you permission to reproduce a copyrighted song (as opposed to a song that is in the public domain). Most copyrighted songs are registered with a company called The Harry Fox Agency. You can pay and register at the agency's website ( or simply If you are a songwriter, but are not registered with Harry Fox, you have to contact the agency directly to obtain and/or pay for permission. Mechanical licenses are for recordings, not for print copies of the music.

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