Percussion Copyright Information
Only percussion ensembles attending World Championships are required to show proof of permission to arrange with the WGI office. Units that do not meet these requirements will not be permitted to participate at the WGI World Championships. Please note the requirements are different for color guards. To see color guard information click here.
Due to the rising cost of copyright compliance administration, any group attending World Championships using more than four (4) individual pieces of music in their performance will be invoiced a $75 licensing fee per song above four (4).
Step by Step
1. Avoid Problem Music! Look at the Additional Requirements List and avoid this music. Musical compositions on this list will require additional work/ have already been denied to be used at the World Championships. Ensembles who chose to use music on this list but do not meet requirements, or supply the required documentation will not be permitted to participate and all fees will be forfeited (see bleow).
2. Before December 1st - submit Song Selection Information for each musical piece in the director’s only website, click the Manage Units section and select the Song Selection tab.
3. Before March 1st - submit to the WGI office an approved "Permission to Arrange" form for each song selection.
Locate the composition copyright owner (see below for more information) of and send them a permission to arrange request. (Please allow up to three months to receive a response). If your unit is using an original composition, please submit a signed Original Composition Form. If your music is in Public Domain, please submit a Public Domain Form.
The following resources will help you with this process:
- Music Licensing Helpful Links
- Additional Requirements List
- Permission to Arrange Form
- WGI Original Composition Form
- Public Domain Form
How do I determine the musical composition copyright holder?
Composition copyrights are typically managed by music publishers. To identify the music publisher(s) for a particular song, you should first consult a CD that contains the song. If the CD identifies the performing rights society (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC), you can go to the web site for the appropriate society and search the database to find the music publisher(s). Searching for the song title in the databases should give you at least the name of the music publisher, and will usually give you both the name and contact information. Do not send your synch letter to ASCAP OR BMI. They DO NOT grant permissions.
If the CD identifies the music publisher, you can go to the web site of the Music Publishers' Association, www.mpa.org, and search the database for the publisher's address and other contact information.
In the event that you are unable to locate the copyright owner using these tools, you can attempt to locate the copyright owner by searching the records of the Copyright Office. The records can be accessed by going to www.copyright.gov and following the "Search Copyright Records" link. In reading the record, make sure you look for the copyright claimant, who may or may not be the author. The copyright claimant is the one with authority to grant permission to use the work.
Finally, you should be aware that there is often more than one music publisher for a particular song. In cases where more than one publisher is listed, permission should be requested from each publisher in order to make sure that you have all the permissions necessary to use the composition.
Visual pieces of art, including photographs, are most likely copyrighted. You should exercise care to ensure that you have permission to use any copyrighted visual image in your show.
Spoken Word / Literary Copyrights
Spoken Word – Including movie quotes, and literary quotations, may contain the same copyrights. You should exercise care to ensure that you have permission to use any copyrighted words in your show.
What if I want to do a song on the additional requirements list?
January 15 - Proof of Synchronization Permission must be submitted for any performance to music listed in the Additional Requirements List. Without this supporting documentation, performance will be denied and entry fees forfeited.
January 15 - A $250.00 fixing fee will be charged for any unit using a song listed in the FIXING FEE section of the Additional Requirements List. Without this supporting documentation, performance will be denied and entry fees forfeited.
The above information is provided for your reference. While we believe the information is accurate, we provide no guarantee or warranty concerning these materials or the interpretation or applicability of the laws to your situation. Copyright Compliance is the responsibility of the user of the creative works of others.