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Music Research Guide


Music Copyright

This guide provides information on some of the music resources and services available in the Boston College Libraries.

Using Music in Students' Projects

  • Students planning to use music in their projects, should be aware that music is protected by copyright law.   Even if the underlying music may be out of copyright, the performer or recording studio also may have copyright in the performance.  Finding a music recording that is out of copyright is difficult.
  • If projects will only be presented in class or through Canvas to class members,  this can be qualified as fair use, therefore, students can use materials under copyright.
  • If students plan to make their projects available on the open web,  the best way will be to use music licensed for reuse. 
    • Creative Commons licenses tell the user exactly what can be done with the material.  Students should be looking for any Creative Commons licensed music that allows derivative works.
    • Some of the sites listed under allow you to search and then license the music for a small fee.
    • For each piece of music the students use they should make sure that the license is appropriate and allows their use.
    • In every case there should be an appropriate attribution.