Posted from WSU Photo Archives Of all the forms of copyright protected works, music is perhaps the most restricted and licensed. Since music was first broadcast on radio, a vast mechanism for licensing music has emerged from the opposing forces of the recording industry and the radio and TV broadcasting industries. Today, licensing published music is handled nearly exclusively by a few agencies. See Getting Permission for more information about these agencies. Music Users: When You Need a License to Play Music Playing Music for Personal Enjoyment. One of the common issues that come up in music and copyright is whether permission or a license is needed to play music. Starting with the most private and simple of circumstances, you do not need a license to play music in your home for your personal enjoyment.1 Youve already paid for the CD. You may play it at home or in your car for your personal enjoyment as much as you wish. You may also play your radio in your home and in your car without a license. The radio station already has a "blanket" license to broadcast the music you enjoy for free on your radio. As long as you and a few family members or friends are the only people listening to the music you play, you do not need permission or a license to play music. It is only when the music you play is heard in public that the legal necessity for a license arises. Playing Music in Public. The right to perform or play a song in public is one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. You will need to get permission or a license if you play music in public unless the music is in the Public Domain or the use of the music qualifies as fair use. But the line between what is private and what is public is complicated. Prior to the Music Licensing Act in 19982 , some court cases have drawn the line and declared public uses of music to be copyright infringement unless licensed, as follows:

Posted by subscription license from artclip.com Now the Music Licensing Act8 draws the line between private and public in terms of the type of public establishment, the size, and the stereo equipment used. Restaurants and bars under 3,750 square feet or retail establishments under 2,000 square feet are exempt from paying fees for playing radio or TV broadcasts for their customers. Public places of any size that play radio or TV broadcasts are exempt from paying fees if they use no more than six external speakers (not more than four speakers in each room) for playing music. Public places that play CDs or hire live musicians (that play cover songs or copy songs) are still subject to being licensed for fees. You can lose the private home exemption and be subject to a license if you charge anyone admission fees to listen to music.9 Music in Education. The Music Licensing rules also generally apply to using music in the classroom. Theres no question that performing music in class is a public performance. However, music in the class room may have an exemption from licensing in three ways. If music is played on a special website as part of distance education and otherwise complies with all prerequisites under the TEACH Act, then it will be exempt from the requirement of getting permission or paying licensing fees. If music is played live in class for the purpose of education or research, it may be exempt from permission and license fees as fair use. A majority of the four factors of fair use would have to favor fair use so music may have to be edited so that entire songs are not played. If music selection is not important, you may simply bring a radio to class and tune in your universitys radio station. You should first determine if your universitys radio broadcast license allows public performance of the broadcast in a classroom. See Getting Permission. You can also use without permission any music with expired copyrights or music that has been donated to the Public Domain. See Public Domain and Public Domain Resources. Music Makers, Composers, Researchers, and Teachers: Making or Using Music in Education Music Composition. For musicians who write or compose original music, the copyright laws work automatically to protect their work. Not only is original music protected by a musicians copyright, the musician may use his or her music in any way in education. Popular recorded music must be either licensed or performed in a way that satisfies the highly complex fair use exemption in order to be used effectively in the classroom or research, or as a public performance. Use of original music by the composer is free from all copyright and license problems. Copyright protection is automatic and requires no formality. However, there are good reasons to register copyrights to music above and beyond copyright protection. Original artists should consider registering their music before they send copies of their work to recording labels and "shop" for a label. Registration offers many benefits in legal strategy for any artist that must enforce or defend their copyrights in court.