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Copyright for Faculty

Sound Recordings

Copyrighted non-music cassette tapes or CDs may not be copied without permission from the copyright owner, unless replacement recordings from a commercial source cannot be obtained at a fair price. Recording brief excerpts, however, is considered fair use.

A single copy of a music recording may be made for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations. Beyond this one exception, the restrictions on copying non-music recordings apply.


Permissible Uses

Guidelines for the educational uses of music are included in House Report 94-1476 and allow for the following:

  1. Emergency copying to replace purchased copies that for any reason are not available for an imminent performance, provided that purchased replacement copies are substituted in due course.
  2. For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts of works (no more than 10% of the whole work) may be made, provided the excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole that constitute a performable unit such as a section, movement, or aria. In addition the number of copies shall not exceed one copy per student.
  3. Printed copies that have been purchased may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the music is not distorted, or the lyrics, if any, are altered, or lyrics are not added if none exist.
  4. A single copy of recordings of performances by students may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher.
  5. A single copy of a sound recording (cassette tape or CD) of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by an educational institution or an individual teacher for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by an educational institution or individual teacher. This proviso pertains only to the copyright of the music itself and not to any copyright that may exist in the sound recording.


The following situations are prohibited and would be considered copyright violations:

  1. Copying may not be used to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works.
  2. Copying may not be of or from works intended to be consumable in the course of study or teaching such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and answer sheets, etc.
  3. Copying for the purpose of performance is prohibited, except in the emergency situation described above.
  4. Copying as a way of avoiding purchase is forbidden, given the reasonable availability of the material.
  5. No copying is permitted unless the copyright notice, which appears on the printed music, is included.


17 U.S.C. § 114

17 U.S.C. § 115

U.S. Copyright Office. (n.d.). Circular 21: Reproduction of copyrighted works by educators and librarians. Retrieved from

Charleston Southern University Library