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University at Buffalo Libraries

Music Library

Copyright Issues for Music

Since copyright issues are legal matters, library personnel are unable to answer specific questions about these issues. However, many commonly asked questions can be answered by referring to the information in the following sites.

  • A Guide to Copyright for Music Librarians
    This site, prepared and maintained by the Legislation Committee of the Music Library Association, contains links for frequently asked questions, current issues and developments, guidelines, and a bibliography.
  • United States Copyright Office
    Contains links for U.S. copyright law, frequently asked questions, registration forms, and more.
  • Copyright and Fair Use
    A searchable site hosted by Stanford University. It includes statutes, current legislation, cases, Internet resources, and more. A page on Fair Use and Multimedia is of particular use for music issues.
  • Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University
    The site provides copyright information and resources. Topics include copyright in general, fair use, libraries and copyright, copyright ownership, permissions, and special topics.
  • Copyright Information Center at Cornell University
    Several resources, including a comprehensive list of copyright terms and public domain dates:
    Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States

Links to charts showing dates of public domain.

How to investigate the copyright status of a work, (PDF) by the United States Copyright Office.