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Music Resources

U.S. Copyright & Music

This page provides information on United States Copyright Law and how it pertains to music. The information on this page is for personal research and should not be considered legal advice.

Copyright is a form of legal protection that allows authors, photographers, composers, and other creators to control some reproduction and distribution of their work. These rights have exceptions and limitations, including the "fair use" provisions, which allows certain uses without permission of the copyright holder.

For more information on copyright in general, please visit the UH Libraries Copyright Libguide.

Fair Use

Use these guides from the University of Louisville to help decide if something can be considered fair use.

Public Domain & Creative Commons

Public Domain refers to works that have intellectual property rights that have expired, have been forfeited (as in Creative Commons), or have been waived. These works are free to use without needing to obtain rights permission. Music recordings are copyright protected separately from musical compositions. There are no sound recordings in the Public Domain in the USA.


Other Music Copyright Sites