Skip to main content

Copyright & Music: Copyright Basics

U.S. Copyright Law

Click on the following link to access the full text of the U.S. copyright law:

United States Copyright Law

"I am not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV!"

As you can see, copyright law is very complex and can be confusing.

The boxes on the right contain information that can help you understand copyright and sort through all that legal-ese.

U.S. Copyright Office

Find out about U.S. copyright, law & policy, searching for copyright, and more at:

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed on October 12, 1998, makes major changes to U.S. copyright law to address digital rights management.

International Copyright

What is WIPO?

 The U.S. Copyright Office's statement on International Copyright.

Music Library Association's Guide to Music Copyright

The Music Library Association maintains an up-to-date website on music copyright for librarians and it is full of information that is helpful to musicians and students, as well.

Copyright for Music

Quick links to *selected* chapters in the guide:

   What parts of the law are most relevant to music?

      Copyright Laws   

   "Can I make a copy of this score?" and other burning questions.


    Alphabet soup and terms in the law, or, "What does DMCA stand for?"


    Keep up with current court decisions related to music copyright:

      Court Decisions

Sound Recordings and Copyright

Isn't copyright for sound recordings different? Yes! Until 1972 sound recordings were protected by state copyright laws and did not come under federal protection until 1972. Current law provides that pre-1972 sound recordings may remain protected under state law until February 15, 2067. After that date they will enter the public domain.

      Federal Copyright Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

More Links

The American Library Association's copyright site covers digital rights management, general copyright, fair use, international copyright, and much more!

      ALA Copyright Guide

 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC):

     ARSC Statement on Copyright

     Latest Copyright Developments

 Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

     Copyright & Intellectual Property Policies

National Association for Music Education (MENC):

      MENC Copyright Center

Subject Guide

Paula Hickner's picture
Paula Hickner
Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library
160 Patterson Dr.
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506

Books at the Fine Arts Library