The Harry Fox Agency bridges the gap between music publishers and artists or companies who want to use or distribute copyrighted music. The agency represents the publishers and assists in providing users with mechanical and digital licenses.
The main functions of the agency are to carry out royalty examinations, conduct investigations, negotiate new business deals and follow up piracy claims. The Harry Fox Agency protects the songwriter and music publisher against having a song used illegitimately and ensures payment is received the use of their music. In addition, clients are provided with assistance in order to pay for the copyrighted composition, eliminating the need for them to contact music publisher directly.
Licenses from the Harry Fox Agency are issued for recording and producing CDs, ringtones and Internet downloads. Synchronization licenses for music used in advertising, movies, music videos and television programs have now been discontinued; however the agency continues to collect and distribute royalties from licenses of this type that were granted previously.
The mechanical license provides users with the right to reproduce and circulate copyrighted music on CD, record, tape, some digital formats and other phonorecords. The license issued by the Harry Fox Agency is only applicable for compositions distributed within the United States.
Most users looking for a license benefit from the Songfile offered by the Harry Fox Agency. It is fast and easy to gain mechanical license, suitable for physical recordings on CDs, cassettes and vinyl, or permanent digital downloads (PDD). This license is available for up to 2500 units; for a license exceeding this number users must seek an HFA Licensing Account. This also covers types of music that cannot be licensed with a Songfile such as recordings with samples, karaoke and public performances. The full list is available from the Harry Fox Agency website.
The Songfile license costs 9.1 cents for every song of up to five minutes per unit. For longer recordings, the rate increases by 1.75 cents per minute and clients are required to obtain a license for a minimum of 25 units. The music publisher receives this payment, minus a 4.5% commission fee from the Harry Fox Agency. After the initial payment, the client does not need to pay any more fees for a license for physical units, except in the case of creating more copies. A PDD license, however, must be renewed every year.