By law, if a college uses copyrighted music in certain settings (recorded music at a dance, music at athletic events, student radio stations etc.), they must be covered by a licensing agreements. However, there are certain circumstances in which a college is not required to pay for using copyrighted music. The most common example would be music that is played or performed inside a classroom, "or similar place," as part of the learning process. Below is a very brief question and answer followed by links to websites concerning copyright law and music. If your concerns are not addressed you are encouraged to contact your campus librarian.
We're making a video for a class project and want to use some popular songs as part of the soundtrack. Do we need permission?
Students are allowed to use small portions of lawfully acquired copyrighted songs when producing an educational multimedia project for a specific course; however, no more than 10%-- or at the most, 30 seconds -- of a copyrighted song may be incorporated as part of the project.
Is it legal to copy music for students (out of various teaching method books and various other books)?
It is not legal to make photocopies of copyrighted music unless you have requested permission from the copyright owner.
Can you give me examples of places to legally download music?
The RIAA Website provides a list of legal online sources for downloading music.
- Music Publishers Association. Copyright Resource Center.
A long list of links including a copyright search center used for identifying rights holders.
- Music Library Association. Copyright FAQs for Music Librarians
Provides answers to a considerable number of thorny copying and performance questions that encompass a variety of forms: sheet music, recorded music, videos, and more.
- National Association For Music Education. United States Copyright Law: A Guide For Music Educators
Provides a variety of copyright resources for music educators.
- U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright Registration of Music.
Brief information on registering copyright claims for musical works.
- Washington State University. Music and Copyright
Music is the most tightly licensed of all protected work. Details the issues involved in performing, composing, and sampling music as well as playing it in the educational setting.