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Copyright at the MSU Library

General guidelines for copyright

Montana State University

Information in this Library Guide is for general information only.  For legal advice, contact MSU's Office of Legal Counsel.  Legal Counsel also has a website for Guidelines for Classroom Copying of Books and Periodicals.

Audio (Sound) Recordings

Under copyright law, the term phonorecords is used to refer to the material object in which the sounds are first fixed (i.e. CDs or cassette tapes).

Title 17 U.S.C., Section 21 gives professors, instructors and students the right to play or perform phonorecords in the course of face-to-face teaching activities or similar place devoted to instruction.

Circular 21, Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, produced by the Copyright Office provides basic guidelines for materials that can be reproduced for a class.  They include the following:

1.  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.

2.  A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc, 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.)

Title 17, U.S.C., Section 108 gives librarians the right to duplicate phonorecords for the sole purpose of creating backup records for collection preservation when both of the following criteria are met:

1.  A replacement cannot be found for a reasonable price

2.  The phonorecord copy reproduced is in digital format and is not made available to the public outside of the library premises.