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Copyright for Faculty: Reproducing Text & Music


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 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.

Created by Dan Nolting, Chatham University. Reused with permission.

Sample Copyright Permission Request Letters

Text Copyright

Rules for Reproducing Text Materials in Class

Educational Fair Use Guidelines

Educational fair use guidelines pertain to material used in educational institutions for educational purposes. These institutions include K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Educational purposes include:

  1. non-commercial instruction or curriculum based instruction to students at non profit institutions
  2. planned non-commercial study or investigation towards a field of knowledge
  3. presentation of research findings at non-commercial peer conferences, workshops or seminars

Guidelines for Classroom Copying

The following guidelines are based on the Guidelines for Classroom Copying (1976), and can be found in Circular 21, produced by the United States Copyright Office.

Instructors may make one copy of any of the following: one chapter from a book, an article from a periodical or newspaper, a short story, short essay or short poem; a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper. The number of copies distributed cannot exceed more than one copy per person, and a notice of copyright must be fixed to each copy. In order to meet standards for brevity, spontaneity, and cumulative effect, the guidelines below also apply in copying works:

  1. A complete poem less than 250 words may be copied if printed on not more than two pages.
  2. An excerpt from a longer poem may be copied if not more than 250 words.
  3. The numerical limits stated above may be expanded for the completion of a line.
  1. A complete article, story or essay of less than 2,500 words.
  2. An excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1, 000 words or 10% of the work, whichever is less, and not less than 500 words.
  3. The numerical limits stated above may be expanded for the completion of a sentence or paragraph.
  4. Illustrations of one chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture per book or per periodical issue.
  5. Special Works: Certain works in poetry, prose, or in poetic prose which often combine language with illustrations and which are sometimes intended for children and sometimes intended for a more general audience and fall short of 2,500 words in their entirety. For these, "an excerpt comprising not more than two of the published pages of such special work and containing not more than ten percent of the words found in the text thereof, may be reproduced."
  1. The idea for copying the material must be at the insistence of the teacher.
  2. The time between the decision to use the work and the moment of its use must be so brief that it would be unreasonable to expect a timely response to a permission request.
Cumulative Effect
  1. The copied material is only for one course.
  2. Copying materials for classroom use cannot be used to replace texts or workbooks, therefore the reproduction of workbooks, textbooks, and standardized tests is prohibited. Educational publishers do not consider photocopying a fair use when it is used to replace the purchase of books, reprints, periodicals, tests, anthologies, compilations or collective works.
  3. Only nine instances of multiple copying for one course during one term are allowed.
  4. No more than one short poem, article, story, essay, or two excerpts may be copied from the same author, no more than three from the same collective work or periodical volume during one class term.

In some instances, reproduction of materials is free from copyright rules. These include works without copyright including:

  1. Faculty exams, homework or problem set answers, lecture notes
  2. Students papers (written student permission must accompany each item)
  3. U.S. Government Publications
  4. Works in the public domain (contact a librarian if you need additional information on which works may fall into the public domain.)

Created by Dan Nolting, Chatham University. Reused with permission.