Copyrighting of Audio Recordings & Music

It should be assumed that, with few exceptions, it is illegal to copy any professionally recorded music.

Classroom Use

As an instructor in a non-profit educational setting, you can perform music and audio recordings in your classroom, directly to students, face-to-face, as long as it fits your curricular objective. You may not copy entire works, although under fair use you may copy brief portions for instructional purposes.

Classroom Using Technology or Web Enhanced

Music or audio recordings used in a classroom course but available to students electronically (for example, in WebCT, or over the Internet) must follow the guidelines for distance education applications. If students have access to the material outside of the physical classroom then this constitutes a situation parallel to distance learning, with one exception:

  • When directing students to consult materials as homework (i.e. beyond what constitutes the time allotted for a class session), refer to Library Reserve Use (below).

Distance Education Applications

Under the Teach Act, you can, with certain conditions, transmit a portion of a recording to students at a distance, regardless of where the students are located. If your intent is to use an audio recording or music in an online course, use the TEACH Act requirements to determine whether or not the music or audio recording can be used in digital distance education without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright owner.

Please contact Karen Connolly at ext. 2724 or ksconnolly@fairfield.edu for any questions about your application in an online course.

Library Reserve Use

- Note that media placed on reserve in the library building is acceptable so long as you're using a legally purchased copy - not a pirated recording, and so long as students listen using headphones.

- When compiling a multimedia presentation using sound excerpts, you must satisfy the guidelines for multimediabefore considering reserve usage.

- When placing reproductions of audio recordings or music on reserve in the library or on electronic reserve, please refer to the Traditional Reserves Policy or the Electronic Reserves Policy.

Fair Use Criteria

- Purpose of the Use: Materials must serve only the needs of specified educational programs; they must be placed on reserve only at the specific request of the instructor; students should not be charged specifically to consult the works, and no person or unit at the university should benefit monetarily from the use of the material.

- Nature of the Work: Materials must be related directly to the educational objectives of a specific course; only those portions relevant to the objectives of the course may be placed on reserve; and reproductions of highly creative works, like operas and other musical performances are not generally appropriate unless they are the main subject of academic study.

- Amount of the Work: Reproductions will generally be limited to brief works or brief excerpts from longer works; the amount of the work placed on reserve must be related directly to the educational objectives of the course.

- Effect of the Use on the Market for the Original: Repeat use of the same material by the same instructor for the same course will require permission from the copyright owner; the materials will include a citation to the original source of publication and a form of copyright notice; no material should be included unless it is produced from a lawfully obtained copy; materials on reserve may not include any works that are available for students to purchase in the campus bookstore or other customary outlet.

For more information about library reserves, contact Elise Bochinski at ext. 2892, or ebochinski@fairfield.edu.