Guidelines: the Use of Music Materials


In 1975, a group of music educators and publishers developed guidelines for the use of music materials and presented those guidelines to the United States Congress. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of the Chancellor has established the following guidelines based on the guidelines developed by that group.

Conditions Governing the Use of Copyrighted Music Material

Copyrighted music material may be copied and used in the classroom under the following circumstances:

  1. Copying of music material may be done to replace purchased copies in an emergency when for any reason the purchased copies are not available for an imminent performance, provided purchased replacement copies are substituted in due course.
  2. For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts may be made, provided that excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole that would constitute a performable unit such as a section, movement, or aria, provided further that, in no case, may more than 10 percent of the whole work be copied and no more than one copy per student shall be made.
  3. Printed copies that have been purchased may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics altered or new lyrics added.
  4. A single copy of recordings or performances by students may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the college or university or individual teacher.
  5. A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc or cassette) of copyrighted music may be made from a sound recording owned by the college or university or an individual teacher for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by the college or university or individual teacher. This pertains only to the copyright of music itself and not to any copyright that may exist in the sound recording

Important Restrictions on the Use of Copyrighted Music Material

In no event may copying of copyrighted music material occur in the following circumstances:

  1. Copying to create or replace or substitute for anthologies, compilation, or
  2. Copying of or from works intended to be consumable in the course of study or of teaching such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and answer sheets and like material.
  3. Copying for the purpose of performances, except as a permitted use described above.
  4. Copying for the purpose of substituting for the purchase of music, except as a permitted use described above.
  5. Copying without inclusion of the copyright notice that appears on that printed copy.

Copying with Permission

Unless a work falls within one of the exceptions above, or the intended use of a work constitutes "fair use", no Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty member or staff person shall use or make photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted works unless specific permission has been obtained from the copyright owner. If written permission from the copyright owner has been obtained, the faculty member or staff person may make such copies and reproductions and use the work in any manner authorized by the copyright owner.

For more information, please view Frequently Asked Questions - Permissions.

Other General Requirements

The following general requirements also apply when copying or reproducing others' protected works:

  • Copying for Profit: No Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty member or staff person shall copy or reproduce any copyrighted work for use in a profit-seeking venture without the written authorization of the copyright owner and the campus Intellectual Property Coordinator.
  • Unpublished Works: Unpublished works are entitled to copyright protection and all of the provisions and procedures described in this primer apply to unpublished works.
  • Commercial Copying: All of the provisions and procedures described in this primer apply to copying and reproduction whether the facilities used for the copying belong to a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities college or university or to a commercial establishment.
test button