Skip to Main Content

Copyright at Carroll Community College

This guide will provide information on the College's copyright policy, procedures, and links to additional information.

Fair Use of music

In general for all formats including music, use no more of the original than is required to meet your learning objectives.  In some cases, use of the complete musical recordings, scores, or other publications may be considered fair use if it is required to meet the learning objectives.

As with all fair use determinations, the question of tranformative use is key.  In the case of music education, the original purpose of a song or composition is typically entertainment or artistic creativity; the course related transformative purpose in using the song/composition is teaching/learning, scholarship, or commentary (Best Practices 2010).

Faculty should always balance the amount copied from the original work with the amount needed to achieve the learning objectives.

General guidelines with regard to use of copyrighted musical materials for instruction:

  • for musical scores, relatively brief excerpts may be used without permission (roughly 10% of the whole work).  If using the work in its entirety is necessary to achieve one's learning objectives, then this may constitute fair use.  Faculty should carefully consider whether every part of the reproduction of the original is necessary.
  • song lyrics are often central to research, scholarship, or commentary and, therefore, may be copied under the fair use provision for educational use.  Faculty should carefully consider the amount of original to be used. If the entire lyric is necessary to achieve one's learning objectives, then this may constitute fair use.
  • brief excerpts of recordings of copyrighted music may be used without permission for educational purposes. Original recordings must be legal versions (CD, streamed) owned or licensed by the Library or faculty.
  • faculty may incorporate lawfully acquired copyrighted works (including music) when producing their own educational multimedia programs for their own teaching tools in support of learning objectives. 
  • work with Librarians to determine if licensed streamed music is currently available or available for purchase.  Librarians can assist with identifying music resources in the collection.
  • note that music appearing on the Internet or peer to peer networks may be unauthorized and, therefore, may not be reliable or legal.
  • limit access to enrolled students/faculty in the class as authenticated by a Blackboard username and password.
  • if possible, use open-access materials such as those identified with Creative Commons licensing.
  • terminate access at the end of each semester.