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.