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Copyright for Faculty: Music Copyright


  • Rules for Reproducing Music

The following guidelines are based on The Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music (1976), which can be found in Circular 21 produced by the United States Copyright Office.

Music instructors can make copies of sheet music or other printed works as long as the copies do not compose a performable unit, such as a an entire song, section, movement or aria. Any copies made cannot exceed more than 10% of the whole work and copies provided cannot exceed more than one per person.

A recording of a performance of copyrighted music may be made by a student for evaluation and rehearsal purposes with the institution or instructor retaining a copy. A single copy of a sound recording of copyrighted music owned by an educational institution or individual teacher may be made for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and the educational institution or individual teacher may keep a copy.

Instructors may not:

  1. Copy sheet music or recorded music for the purpose of creating anthologies or compilations in class.
  2. Copy from works intended to be used in the course of teaching or study, such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests, answer sheets, etc.
  3. Copy sheet music for the purpose of performance except in the case of emergency copying to replace purchased copies not available for an imminent performance.
  4. Copy any materials without including the copyright notice on the printed copy.

If copyrighted sheet music is out of print the instructor can request permission to reproduce it from the music publisher.


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