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Collective Rights Agencies

Collective rights agencies provide a centralized source for copyright information and granting permission to use copyrighted materials.   Typically, these agencies focus on a particular industry or type of work.  Contacting an appropriate agency may be the quickest and easiest way to request permission, but keep in mind that most agencies charge for their service.  In addition, there may be a fee charged for using the copyrighted material.

Print/Published Materials

Copyright Clearance Center
Licenses rights to millions of books, journals, newspapers, websites, ebooks, images, and blogs.

Access Copyright (Canadian)
Provides access to more than 20 million books, magazines, newspapers and other publications.


Performance Rights

The three agencies listed below provide licenses for public performance of nearly all published American music. K-State has standing license agreements with all three agencies, and you can search their individual repertories to check if a song you're interested in performing is listed. In addition, you should take into consideration whether or not your particular performance (which also includes playing a recording of music) is dramatic or nondramatic

A dramatic performance can be defined as a:

  • performance of a dramatic work in its entirety (such as a play, musical, or opera);
  • performance of a music work that is accompanied by dialogue, pantomine, dance, stage action, or visual representation of the work from which the music is taken;
  • performance of a musical work as part of a story/plot, regardless of accompanying dramatic elements.

If a performance can be defined as a dramatic performance, then the standing license agreements will not cover this use and public performance rights should be sought for Dramatic/Theatrical Works. In addition, the license agreements only cover performances at K-State, meaning that the events are sponsored, hosted, or held by the university. If you have questions about whether or not your use falls under the scope of the licenses, please contact CADS at cads@ksu.edu or General Counsel. 

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.

SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers)

Recording Rights

(also referred to as "mechanical rights" or "compulsory license.")

Harry Fox Agency
Provides licensing of copyrighted musical compositions for use on CDs, records, tapes, and some digital formats. If you want to record a "cover" or publish sheet music of a commercially recorded song, you need to obtain a mechanical license.

Dramatic/Theatrical Works

You must obtain permission to perform a dramatic work in public. This applies if you perform the entire work or a portion, such as an excerpt, act, scene, monologue, etc. K-State does not have a blanket license for dramatic works as it does for music, so you must obtain licensing rights for each work performed. Agencies listed below provide performance rights for a wide variety of plays and musicals.

The right to perform only a piece of music from a musical is probably covered through licenses with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. Such a performance must consist only of the music and not include any form of staging or choreography, even if the use of any of these elements is not intended to represent any part of the original musical.


Musical Theatre International (MTI)
One of the world's leading dramatic licensing agencies, granting rights to perform the largest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond.

Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
Theatrical licensing representing more than 12,000 songs, 900 concert pieces, 200 writers, and 100 musicals.

Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.
Theater licensing agency for Broadway musicals.


Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
Publishes acting editions of plays and handles the leasing rights to these works. Offers an extensive list of titles, including the most significant American plays of the past half-century.

BPPI (Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.)
Specializes in licensing full-length, contemporary, American plays.

Plays & Musicals

Dramatic Publishing
Their catalog includes musicals, full-length and one-act plays, and high-quality theatrical books suitable for high-school theatre, children's theatre, professional theatre and community theatre.

Samuel French, Inc.
Provides licenses for a variety of plays and musicals.

Plays & Musicals for Youth & Community Productions

Pioneer Drama Service
Provides performance rights to over 850 plays and musicals. Their catalog is appropriate for community and children’s theatres, youth theatres, church groups, and school productions.


(Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works)

A collection licensing agency does not exist for art and illustration world. It's best to contact the publisher or artist to request permission. As an alternative, use Creative Commons to identify images that can be used without permission.

Frank Niemeir's Photography List
Links to nearly 1000 sites that provide stock photographs. Some sites provide royalty-free images, others are offered only by fee.

Motion Pictures

Showing a film outside of a small group of family/friends is likely considered a public performance, and thus, permission or a public performance rights should be sought. More information about how to do this can be found on the Guidelines on Showing a Film at K-State.

These public performance rights groups license to individuals, groups, and college campuses the right to publicly show films. Public performance rights or permission must be obtained for each individual film and for each individual showing. These licenses or permissions can take up to several weeks to obtain, so be sure to plan ahead.

Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
Represents over 400 producers and distributors, including all major Hollywood studios as well as independent and educational producers.

Criterion Pictures USA
Licenses feature films for educational institutions.

Swank Motion Pictures, Inc
Also licenses feature films for educational institutions.

Internet Movie Database
Useful to determine who owns a film (check under "Company") when seeking permission to show a film not listed by any of the major film licensing agencies.


Most software publishers can be contacted via their website. You must obtain permission if you want to reproduce, distribute, or make derivative works of software. Websites such as Tucows.com and freewarehome.com provide links to free software.