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Lucy Scribner Library

Scholarly Communication: Music and Sound Recordings

Copyright - Music and Sound Recordings

Part III - Music and Sound Recordings


Unless licensed, the public performance of music, whether for educational purposes or not, is a copyright infringement. Public performance includes both the playing of a sound recording and the instrumental or voice performance of copyrighted musical work or composition.


Performances that are not an infringement include:

  • Performance of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of teaching activities in a classroom or other place devoted to instruction, if the copy was lawfully made.
  • Performance of a non-dramatic literary work or musical if the performance is directly related to the course content and the performance takes place in a space devoted to instruction.
  • Performance of a non-dramatic literary work, musical work or of a dramatic-musical work of a religious nature in the course of religious services.
  • Performance of a non-dramatic literary work or music without any commercial purpose and without payment to any performers, promoters or organizers if no admission is charged or if the proceeds are used exclusively for educational, religious, or charitable purposes, provided the copyright holder has been given notice and except if the copyright holder (having been given notice) objects seven days in advance in writing.
  • Public reception of a transmission of a performance on a consumer type receiver and speakers unless a direct charge is made to see or hear the program or the program received is further transmitted to the public.
  • A single copy of a sound recording of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by Skidmore or an individual faculty member for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by Skidmore for the faculty member.