Copyright in General (from Columbia University)
Explains fundamental principles of copyright law and answers questions about fair use of existing works, managing your copyrights, negotiating publication agreements, posting materials to Web servers, and more.
Copyright Law of the United States
Complete version of the U.S. copyright law and related laws contained in title 17 of the United States Code. Physical copy available in Allen Library Reference at call number K1419.2 2011.
Fair Use (Brief Overview)
A good description of the basics of fair use from the Columbia University Libraries/Information Services Copyright Advisory Office.
ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries
Complete text (32 pages) of Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries issued by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The code identifies eight principles representing the library community's current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted material.
Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions (2012)
By Kenneth Crews. Mortensen Library Reference [KF2995 .C74 2012]
This book covers many areas of copyright law and has a substantial section on Fair Use.
Understanding Fair Use (U. Minnesota)
Excellent explanation of the four (and five) factors that users must consider when contemplating whether a use will be "fair." Includes comments on guidelines and best practices.
Fair Use Checklist (from Columbia U.)
Intended to help you to focus on factual circumstances that are important in your evaluation of fair use, and can provide an important mechanism to document your decision-making process. See the resources above to better understand the four factors. (The authors also suggest that you consider adding the current date and notes about your project to the checklist, and keep completed checklists on file for future reference.)
Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Dance-related Materials
"Clarifies what librarians, archivists, curators, and others working with dance-related materials currently regard as a reasonable application of the Copyright Act's fair use doctrine." Statement was endorsed by the Congress on Research in Dance, the Dance Critics Association, the Dance Films Association, the National Dance Education Organization, the Society of Dance History Scholars, the Theatre Library Association, and the Popular/American Culture Association. Edited by Libby Smigel, Peter Jaszi, and Barbara Drazin. Washington, DC: Dance Heritage Coalition, 2009.
Theft: A History of Music (Tales from the Public Domain)
Available as a free download, and as a book the Allen Library [K1450 A53 2017].
Graphic novel exploring a history of musical borrowing (and related copyright history) from Plato to rap.
By James Boyle (Duke Law School) and Jennifer Jenkins (Duke Law School, and director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain). Illustrated by Keith Aoki, Ian Akin, and Brian Garvey. (See also their Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain, K1420.5 A53 2006. Check location and status.)
Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the U.S. [Cornell's Chart]
An in-depth chart explaining the duration of a copyright term based on the type of work, publication status, location of publication, and year of publication. NOTE: as of October 2018, the section on pre-1972 recordings may be temporarily out of date due to recent changes in the law (as part of the Music Modernization Act (MMA)).
Catalog of Copyright Entries
The copyright status of a work can be determined using the Catalog of Copyright Entries to find when/if the work was registered or renewed. Records from 1978-present can be found online at http://cocatalog.loc.gov/. Records from 1891-1978 can be found online at http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/cce/.
Using these catalogs can be difficult, so feel free to ask a librarian for assistance. The catalogs are currently located behind the circulation desk.
The Copyright Genie
This website asks a series of questions about a work in order to help you determine whether or not it is public domain.
Copyright Renewal Database
Searchable index of copyright renewal records for books published in the US between 1923 and 1963. Includes only renewal records, not original registrations, and only Class A (book) renewals received by the US Copyright Office between 1950 and 1992.
(Works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyrights automatically renewed by statute, and works published before 1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. Renewals received by the federal Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in their online database, but renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were distributed only in print publications. The Copyright Renewal Database brings those records together in a searchable format.)
Free Media for Creative Use
Contains audio, image, and video materials that is available under Creative Commons licenses or in the public domain. (Site created by James Madison University, so one or two links may only be available to JMU users.)
Public Domain Information Project
Provides information and resources for identifying music in the public domain and includes an alphabetical list of songs in the public domain.
The Public Domain: How To Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More (2014)
By Stephen Fishman. Mortensen Library Reference [KF3022 .F575 2017]
Allen Library [KF3022 .F575 P83 2014]
Music Performance Licenses
Explains what the different licensing and/or performing arts organizations basic music do. These include ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Note that this pertains to the performance of copyrighted music, rather than copying or distribution. [From Brown University.]
ASCAP is one of the two largest performing rights organizations in the US. This website provides information and resources dealing with performing rights and licensing fees.
BMI is one of the two largest performing rights organizations in the US. This website provides information and resources dealing with performing rights and licensing fees.
A smaller performing rights organization, but still representing many big-name musicians.
A performing rights organization that manages the rights for streaming audio, including satellite radio, internet radio, and more.
Harry Fox Agency
The Harry Fox Agency handles mechanical and digital licenses. This should be your starting point if you are looking to secure the rights to produce a recording.
Music Copyright Infringement Resource
Hundreds of documents (texts, scores and audio files) associated with music copyright infringement cases in the United States from 1845 forward. Sponsored by Columbia and USC law school (and formerly UCLA).