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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. 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 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.

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.

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.

Dramatic Publishing
Offers musicals, full-length and one-act plays and high-quality theatrical books. Representsclassic works as well as contemporary comedies, dramas, and musicals.

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

Baker's Plays
Offers books and licensing for a variety of full-length and one-act plays and musicals.

Pioneer Drama Service
Provides performance rights to over 850 plays and musicals.

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


(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

Internet Movie Database
Useful to determine who owns a film (check under "Company").

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.


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.