Skip to content

Acceptable Use of Sound Recordings/Music

Music NoteNOTE: Some situations, such as using copyrighted materials in musical performances and on closed circuit TV and copying materials for the blind or for library archives, have specific requirements under U.S. Copyright Law. Contact your principal, school library media specialist, or principal’s designee for all situations that are not addressed in these guidelines.


Copyright YesWHAT YOU CAN DO (or can do if . . .):

  • Perform music (directly or play a tape, CD, etc.) and play non-music audio programs as part of face-to-face classroom instruction if the work is legally acquired and directly tied to curriculum lessons or learning activities.
  • Publicly perform a work if the piece is included in the ASCAP database. Visit the ASCAP site to determine if a piece is included under copyright privileges --

Copyright NoWHAT YOU CAN’T DO (or can’t do unless . . .):

  • Reproduce a copyrighted musical work (e.g., tape, CD, etc.) in violation with U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC).
  • Convert one media format to another (e.g., transfer a tape to CD).
  • Publicly perform a copyrighted work if the performance:
    • Takes place somewhere other than a classroom, or similar place devoted to instruction, in a nonprofit organization.
    • Is not part of face-to-face teaching or tied to curriculum lessons or learning objectives (e.g., use of copyrighted musical works for background music in halls) and is not included in the ASCAP database.
  • Duplicate copyrighted sound recordings for archival, back-up, or multiple uses unless reproduction rights were acquired at the time of purchase.
  • Narrate an entire copyrighted story onto audiotape or other medium.
  • See Print Materials for information on copying sheet music.