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Copyright Policy for Audio Recordings

This section addresses performing and making copies of audio recordings for educational and non-profit purposes. Refer to the photocopies section for copying sheet music.

Copyright includes both the performance and recording of musical or spoken performances in analog or digital form.  

You should obtain permission from the appropriate copyright holder to perform or copy musical works or performances outside of the Public Domain or college licensing agreements.

You may reproduce works in the public domain  without restriction. Works created before 1923 or published without a copyright notice from 1923 - 1977 are in the public domain. See also When Works Pass Into The Public Domain.

Recordings- You do not need to seek permission to:

  • make a single recording of a student performance for evaluation or rehearsal purposes. You, as the instructor, or the educational institution may retain this.

  • make a single copy of a sound recording owned by Roanoke College or yourself, as instructor, to create aural exercises or examinations.  You, as the instructor, or the educational institution may retain this.

Recordings- You should obtain permission to:

  • make copies to create, replace, or substitute for anthologies, compilations, or collective works.

  • make copies to substitute for the purchase of music.

Performance- You may, as an instructor: 

  • make a musical arrangement of "non-serious" compositions to conform to the style or manner of interpretation of the performance involved. However, do not change the basic melody or fundamental character of the work.

  • edit or simplify purchased, printed copies if you do not distort the fundamental character of the work or alter or add to the lyrics.

  • perform musical works in a classroom setting per U.S. Code, Title 17, Sec. 107, which defines “Fair Use” of copyrighted materials. Roanoke College also has annual licenses with ASCAPBMI, and SESAC.

  • perform non-dramatic literary or musical works at a school concert if there is no direct or indirect commercial advantage, no fee or compensation paid to the performers, promoter or organizers, and no admission charge. Should you charge admission the proceeds must be used only for educational or charitable purposes. The performance may not take place if the copyright owner objects in writing seven days before the performance. 

  • perform non-dramatic literary or musical works or dramatic-musical works of a religious nature, in the course of services at places of worship or at a religious assembly.