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Copyright and Fair Use: Copying Music for the Classroom

MLA Copyright FAQ

Copying Music

The following are suggested limits for copying music in support of your classroom lecture. These suggested limits are based on our interpretation of guidelines that were developed during CONFU. The use of portions larger than those described here may also be permissible, but the user must test a particular application against all four factors of the "Fair Use doctrine" contained in the law (Title 17, U.S. Code, Sec. 107) to determine if it qualifies as fair.

Also, please note that it is permissible to create a compilation CD of separate music tracks for classroom use, if it adheres to the below proportions and limits.

 

The limits:

Medium Proportion Limits Additional Guidelines
Film or Video 10% Up to 3 minutes n/a
Music, lyrics, music video 10% 30 seconds No change to character of work or melody

Note: The courts are not bound by these guidelines and the Copyright Act contains no such guidelines. Therefore it is always advisable to err on the side of caution and complete your own Fair Use Evaluation.

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