Copyright at Babson

Detailed guide to answer all your questions about copyright issues, for students, faculty and staff.

May I make a copy of audio/music?

Music falls under the same copyright rules as print materials, which means that the same policies apply:

  • You many make a copy of a recording if it has passed into the public domain:  When Does a Work Pass into the Public Domain?
  • Use in a class setting is okay, provided fair use guidelines are met. If it is to be used outside class, check at the source to determine copyright permission.
  • Using a small amount of a recording is more likely fall under the auspices of fair use.

May I use audio/music in the classroom?

There are no absolute numbers to rely on, but the Agreement of Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not for Profit Educational Institutions are often cited:

Permissible Uses

  1. Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.
  2. For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts of works may be made, provided that the excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole which would constitute a performable unit such as a selection, movement or aria, but in no case more than 10% of the whole work. The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per pupil.
  3. Printed copies which have been purchased may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics, if any, altered or lyrics added if none exist.
  4. A single copy of recordings of performances by students may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher.
  5. A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disk or cassette) of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by an educational institution or an individual teacher for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher. (This pertains only to the copyright of the music itself and not to any copyright which may exist in the sound recording.)


  1. Copying to create or replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.
  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 performance, except as in permissible uses (1) above.
  4. Copying for the purpose of substituting for the purchase of music, except as in permissible uses (1) and (2) above.
  5. Copying without inclusion of the copyright notice which appears on the printed copy.


May I use audio/music outside the classroom?

The College licenses the use of music for the radio station and student events. Permission may be required for any uses that are not instructional.

May I place audio/music on reserve in the library for student use?

Purchased audio/music materials may be placed on course reserve.

If you have purchased a set of recordings and wants to make and put a copy of the set on reserve but wants to keep the original set for your own use, you must obtain written permission from the publisher (copyright holder). Frequently publishers will give permission without charging, but that cannot be assumed.

May I place music on Canvas?

The Music Library Association released a statement on the Digital Transmission of Audio Reserves. It is recommended that you follow their guidelines.

Can you use music on your website?

You are responsible for copyright permission for your own web site. For Faculty Blackboard offers the advantage of providing a secure location, from which you can offer access to your students only.

Can you perform music on campus?

If you wish to perform a musical work on campus, the College's license with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC may cover your use. Check with the Office of Campus Life.If you want to record and distribute a musical composition that has already been recorded by someone else, or synchronize music with visual images? Check with The Harry Fox Agency, Inc.Online performances are quite complicated. They involve three rights:

  1. the performance right in the musical composition (ASCAP, BMI)
  2. the performance right in the sound recording (usually the record label -- see the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
  3. the right to duplicate the musical composition (i.e., Harry Fox Agency)

Each of these rights must be licensed from a separate entity.The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) represents most major labels and has a good explanation of the statutory license available to certain Webcasters. If the Babson license or the nonprofit educational radio station exemption do not apply, you will have to get permission from each record label whose recordings you wish to Webcast.Music Research Consultants' web page contains links to publishers, record labels, music rights agencies, and more. This is a good place to gather contact information. If you know the name of an artist, album, song or label, the All-Music Guide allows you to search for more information and often links directly to the source.