Negotiating Music Licensing and Structuring Deals: Digital Sampling, Royalty Rates, Music Copyright and More

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to IP counsel on negotiating and structuring music licenses. The panel will examine what licenses apply to different uses, critical terms, royalty rates and fees. In addition, we will tackle the subject of digital sampling, as well as lessons from recent court decisions.


Every day, music is used in a myriad of ways such as commercial advertising, movies, and video games, and also at physical venues such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In each instance, those who use music have the legal obligation to seek and secure permission from the owners of the music or their legal representatives.

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), such as ASCAP and BMI, offer licenses entitling users to publicly perform music. But some uses of music require additional or other kinds of consent such as “sync” licenses for the use of songs in audiovisual works and “master use” licenses for the right to use original recordings.

Not securing the right permissions for music could come at a great cost. For example, in May 2016, a Seattle firm sued the Republican nomination campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz for improperly using two copyrighted songs in political advertisements in violation of their licensing contract. The ad was viewed on YouTube over 78,000 times, and the firm is seeking $25,000 for each alleged breach as well as additional damages.

The dawn of the digital era has made music licensing even more complex. Counsel must understand what licenses are required in a world that includes an ever growing number of formats such as YouTube videos, VOD services, digital sheet music services, and many more.

Listen as our authoritative panel examines licensing strategies and negotiations in the world of music licensing. The panel will examine how licenses are structured, royalty rates, and the impact of digital sampling and streaming. The panel will discuss recent court decisions and the lessons from those decisions.


  1. Music licensing strategies
  2. Licensing negotiations and structuring contracts
  3. Music copyrights
  4. Royalty rates
  5. Impact of digital sampling and streaming
  6. Recent court decisions and lessons from those decisions


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What terms are critical to music licensing agreements?
  • How have digital sampling and online streaming increased the complexity of music licensing?
  • What are the best practices for counsel for licensors and licensees when negotiating music licenses? What strategies should IP counsel employ to enforce IP rights in the music?


Anjan Choudhury, Partner
Munger Tolles & Olson, Los Angeles

Mr. Choudhury practices in a wide variety of matters involving civil, administrative and appellate litigation, focusing primarily on matters for clients in the entertainment industry. He has represented clients in state and federal court as well as complex administrative proceedings, including before the Copyright Royalty Board, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

Steve Gordon, Founder
Steve Gordon Law, New York

Mr. Gordon is an entertainment attorney specializing in music, television, film and video. His clients include artists, songwriters, producers, managers, indie labels and music publishers as well as TV and film producers and digital music entrepreneurs. He also provides music and sample clearance services for producers of any kind of project involving music. Mr. Gordon is the author of The Future of the Music Business, and the upcoming book The 11 Contracts That Every Artist, Songwriter and Producer Should Know.


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