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Music and Copyright: Get Started

Music and Copyright


This guide contains information about copyright and tools, like charts or videos, that can help you better understand copyright.

For legal advice on the application of copyright law, please consult a lawyer. To read Title 17 of the United States code, which outlines the tenets of copyright law, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Copyright Status

Use tools to determine the copyright status of a score, recording, book, article, and much more.

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Licensing for Recordings

Learn about the agencies that license music for recordings, including interactive streams (YouTube, etc.) and how to request streaming or recording permissions from other rights holders.

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Understanding Fair Use

What is Fair Use, when does it apply, and how can I determine if a use is fair?

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Licensing for Arrangements

Arranging a musical work for a different set of voices or instruments? If the work is under copyright, you'll need a license to make the arrangement. 

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Licensing Musical Examples

If you are working on a dissertation or publishing an article or book that includes musical examples, you will need to obtain licenses for all examples from copyrighted works. 

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Licensing for Live Streaming and Performance

Learn about the agencies that license music for live performance/live synchronous streaming and how to request performance/live stream permissions from rights holders.

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