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Copyright FAQs 

Introduction to the copyright procedure

As soon as you register a work, it is created in our database. This work is then matched against other works, at this point there may be multiple entries (duplicates) on the database. When either the work or any of its matches receive activity (please see below for the definition of activity) they are, at this point, merged into a single work.

  • All work registrations received pass through a validation program to ensure the basic level of details are correct.
  • The validation program checks the standard things such as titles, agreement numbers, Membership Numbers (CAE/IPI) and shares amounts.
  • All registrations that successfully pass validation are automatically created as per the details on the registration.
  • The automatically created works are then run through a matching program that attempts to find matching entries already on file.
  • If a match is found the system creates a link between matches and these are visible alongside your own registration at this point.
  • The work will be updated once it becomes ‘active’ (see below for definition).
  • If a match is found or the work requires further human intervention the system creates a “case”which is effectively a piece of work in a queue. Examples of this include: matches on system and mechanical shares not 100% etc.
  • The reasons for a “case” being created are listed and assists us with the tasks required to ensure the work is accurate.
  • Staff work through cases prioritising works that are due for payment in the next distribution.
  • Currently there are value thresholds in place for case processing (these are not royalty payment thresholds) and these are:
    5 euros for PRS
    0 euros for MCPS physical products
    10 euros for other MCPS usages

What this means is for those works that have had a case created there will be a proportion of those that will distribute accurately however there will also be a proportion that will distribute to the previous owner of the work (in cases where a works registration is advising us of a change of ownership) or distribute the wrong share (in cases where a works registration is advising us of a change in share).

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How do I register my songs?

Works are registered using our online services. You are only required to register music which has been or is about to be recorded, broadcast or performed.

To register your works online, visit the 'Register/amend works' page. You can only register your songs online, and use our other Online Services, once you have set up your online account.

Publisher members will need to supply an agreement number when registering works.

If you do not have an agreement number, in the first instance, please check that the agreement has been registered previously. If not, please register your agreement using the online form.

If you have already registered the agreement but cannot locate your number you can find it in the ‘search your agreement’ option when registering a work in the Online Registration (OLR) system.

For more information on agreement numbers, please take a look at our FAQs.

If you are a publisher looking to register many works and wish to use commercially available software to register songs please contact us to discuss using CWR.

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How do I check details of a work and/or view my registered works?

You can check works that are registered with us by using the Search Our Database online service. This allows you to quickly locate details about a particular piece of music or recording. There are a variety of search options available to suit your needs and to enable you to find what you are looking for quickly and easily. You will need to have an online account to use this function. 

You can search for all songs registered to a specific Membership Number (CAE/IPI) or name using this service.

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How do I amend my shares on an existing work registration?

Firstly, find the existing version of the work using the Search Our Database function. Open the full details by clicking on the icon. Within the Work Type area, there is a "Register an Amendment to this Work" option; selecting this will load all the existing work details into the ‘Register my music online’ form. Once you have made your changes, this will create another entry in the database, and will be a listed as a ‘possible match’ of the original work until ‘activity’ is reported and the entries are merged in to one. 

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When can I expect to see my registered works on the database?

• Work registrations submitted online or via CWR form are loaded on to our database within 2 working days of receipt
• New online agreement registrations will be processed within 2 days of receipt
• Conflicting agreements registrations will be notified within 10 working days of receipt

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What does 'possible match' mean?

When looking at the details of a work on our database, you may find the work is linked to other works, called ‘possible matches’. These are works currently on our system that may be possible duplicates or recent amendments sent in for a specific work. The 'possible match' entries remain visible on the work until we receive reporting of the work’s usage. At this point the work becomes ‘active’.

When a work becomes ‘active’, any related works will be manually consolidated into one correct work to enable it to be licensed for royalties. Any 'possible matches' that are actually unrelated will be unmatched from the work. This process will ensure that we don't have duplicate versions on our system for works that are about to be used to make a royalty payment.

‘Possible match’ entries will only be visible when works are inactive or when works have just recently become active. To ensure that we capture all possible related works the 'possible match' criteria is quite broad so you may see a possible match that you know is unrelated. Don’t worry, this will be removed when the work becomes ‘active’ and is being merged.

After royalties are distributed on a work, further possible matches may start to appear over the subsequent period until the work is next active and royalties have been generated for payment.

You do not need to contact us if you see an unrelated work as a ‘possible match’ as these entries will be updated and merged if they become active or if a conflict is identified. If you believe a work should be linked with another entry but it is not listed under ‘possible matches’, please contact Member Services.

When will duplicate works be merged?

Duplicate works will be merged when there is activity (see below) on the work.

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What are ‘Active Case Indicators’?

The Active Case Indicators show if a work is being investigated by our copyright team due to recent reported activity (for example to consolidate any ‘possible match’ entries). Only works that require manual intervention by our copyright team and have reached (or exceeded) the current value threshold will have an ‘active case indicator’ applied.
Please follow this link for more information about these indicators.

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What happens if my work has not been merged by the time there is a licence application?

Although a licence application is a trigger for activity, the work must be merged when invoicing takes place, in order for payment to take place.

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What is a Tunecode?

The works/music you registered with us is allocated a unique tune code.  It is typically an 8 character alpha/numeric code – e.g. 1234567L).

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My tunecode no longer exists on a work – why?

Your tunecode will never disappear. However, if any possible matches are on the product, the works will be merged. There may be more than one tunecode acting as cross references on the same work.

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Someone else is claiming for my work – when will this be addressed?

When the work becomes active the duplicate claims process will proceed. Please see the Duplicate Claims area for more information.

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What does the work amendment date cover?

The last amendment date is immaterial. This is the last time that the system has accessed your work which could occur for all manner of reasons, including system updates. It does not mean that your work has been amended on that date.

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What does ‘MCPS previously distributed’ or ‘PRS previously distributed’ cover?

These indicators show that we have previously made distributions on this work.

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What are the schedules for activity?

The schedules for activity are directly linked to the royalty payment schedules.

MCPS royalty payment schedule
PRS royalty payment schedule

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Can you explain ISWC codes?

Please see our ISWC frequently asked questions document for full information.

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Can you explain / issue me with ISRC codes?

The ISRC is administered in the UK by PPL and record companies, and is used to uniquely identify sound recordings.

PRS for Music does not issue ISRC's. PPL is the sole appointed agency in the UK and should be contacted in this instance.
Please see the link below on PPL's website for full details on ISRC's and how to contact them:

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Please note, that these FAQs cover the majority of cases. There will be times when there are exceptions. If you need further help do please contact Member Services.

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