Randy Hall, Associate
Director of Education at Carnegie Hall in New York City very kindly responded
to our questions about art rights in music productions. Here is what
Copyright provides a way for composers and musicians to control the reproduction,
performance, and other uses of their music. Copyright protects an
original work from misuse and ensures that appropriate compensation is
provided to the creator of the work. The individual, or organization,
which controls a specific right for a particular work is often referred
to as the 'copyright holder.'
It is important to remember that there are many different 'rights' and
provisions provided in the Copyright Law. For instance, the right
to perform a work is separate and distinct from the right to publish the
work in print. The rights associated with the recording of a piece
of music are separate and distinct from the rights to play that piece of
music in a concert.
As you can see, understanding how copyright applies to musical works is
a complex issue. Obtaining permission to use copyrighted works is the best
way to ensure that you are obeying provisions of the Copyright Law. In
most instances, copyright holders grant permission for free or for a reasonable
Before you include an audio clip on a web site, request permission from
1) the person who created the sound
recording or clip,
2) the original composer of the music, and
3) the publisher of the piece of music.
Most times, permission may be granted for free or for a small fee. Of course,
some audio clips and sound recording excerpts on the web may be available
for usage without the need for any permission, license, or fee, simply
a credit. But students should always check first before posting and including
the material in their site.
The United States Copyright Office
web site is the authoritative source for information on the Copyright Law.
Specific areas within the web
site that may be of interest to students.
What is Copyright? http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/circs/circ1.html#wci
What types of works are protected?
What is not protected by Copyright?
Read the actual Copyright Law
"Copyright Basics" by the
Library of Congress,
U.S. Copyright Office
Associate Director of Education
881 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-5766 fax