About the Mechanical Copyright Protection (MCPS) licence for schools

If you are recording or copying music in your school, then you may need to obtain a licence.

The Schools Limited Manufacture Licence

The music rights organisations, MCPS and PPL offer a joint licence for their music rights, that can be obtained via their agent the Centre for Education & Finance Management (CEFM). This makes it quick and easy to get a licence.

The specially designed licence for schools grants you permission to legally use any music, within their repertoire, in products such as CDs, DVDs, USB and other devices. Their music spans all genres and contains millions of songs, including those of many commercial artists.

What does the licence allow my school to do?

The licence provides your school with permission to produce content containing up to 120 minutes of music per product. This would cover things such as:

  • the recording of student performances
  • student films containing music

These items can be given away for free or sold by the school to parents.

Why do I need a licence?

The use of music within recorded products requires two permissions to be obtained:

  • the copyright in the musical work, looked after by MCPS, who represent the composers, songwriters and music publishers
  • the copyright in the sound recording, looked after by PPL who represent performers and recorded companies

Are there any restrictions on the licence?

The licence permits up to 120 minutes of music per product.

There are some uses of music that are excluded from this licence. The following examples are a non-exhaustive list of the types of things containing music that are excluded from this licence.

  • Recording television programmes requires a licence from the Educational Recording Agency era.org.uk
  • Promotional/training materials – any products that could be deemed promotional, such as a school prospectus DVD or materials used for teacher training would require prior approval from the rights holders
  • Grand Rights – productions such as a musical theatre play, ballet or opera where characters and storylines are depicted will require a ‘Grand Rights’ licence to be obtained directly from the rights holders
  • Copying for broadcast or public performance – for example, instructors copying music to use in their exercise classes requires a ProDub licence prsformusic.com/produb
  • Online – school websites or intranet for example will require a LOML licence prsformusic.com/loml
  • Public Performance – the showing or playing of a recorded product in public requires a Public Performance licence from PRS for Music and PPL which can also be obtained via CEFM

If you are looking to use music in a way which may not be covered by the licence then please contact CEFM who can help ensure you have the correct permissions in place.

Full terms and conditions of the licence can be found here.

How much does a licence cost?

Number of Copies Annual Licence Cost Inc. VAT
1–50 £38.59 £46.31
51–100 £64.31 £77.18
101–250 £115.77 £138.92
251–500 £192.94 £231.53
501–750 £270.12 £324.15
751–1000 £334.44 £401.33

The Department for Education (DfE) has agreed and paid for a licence to cover state maintained schools* in England for the production of up to 1000 units per year. Should your school wish to exceed this number of units please contact CEFM for a top-up licence. If you are unsure if you are correctly licensed please contact CEFM.

* Schools covered by the DfE licence include all state-maintained schools (including, but not limited to, free schools, academies and pupil referral units, and any nurseries, pre-schools or playgroups forming part of any school, but, for the avoidance of doubt, excluding sixth form colleges, universities and other institutions of further and higher education) in England.

I already have a public performance licence from PRS for Music and PPL, why do I need this licence?

Public performance licences from PRS for Music and PPL simply cover performances in public of PRS for Music and PPL repertoire. In contrast, this Limited Manufacture Licence is for the copying of music and issuing those copies to the public. Therefore a different licence is required.

Are there any situations when a school does not need to obtain a licence?

There is an exemption for the use of music by educational establishments in certain circumstances. This exemption allows teachers and pupils in schools to copy and play music for the purpose of instruction or assessment.

You do not need a licence from MCPS or PPL in the unlikely event that all the music you are recording are either (a) no longer protected by copyright, or (b) not otherwise controlled by MCPS or PPL.


If you have any queries or would like to obtain a licence please contact us on mcps@cefm.co.uk or 01494 836227. You can also obtain a licence by downloading and returning the application form.