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Music Copyright

Musicians use copyright every day, whether performing, copying for page turns, or downloading scores from IMSLP. These tutorials demystify copyright basics for performing musicians.

Why Does Copyright Exist? (15-20 minutes)

Copyright is designed to protect musicians, but how well does it work? Where does current copyright law help, and where does it hurt? And how did we get here?

CDs being ripped and photocopier

Can I Copy It? (20-30 minutes)

Many musicians have copied sheet music or ripped a CD, and some do it a lot. But is it legal? Learn to evaluate common music copying situations and make an informed decision about copying.

Paris-Street Musicians in Montmarte

Can I Perform It? (20-30 minutes)

Performance is central to music-making. Performing copyrighted works is also the exclusive right of the copyright owner. So how, both legally and practically, do performances happen? Learn when and how to seek performance rights.

Tutorial problems? Copyright questions? Email


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.