Music Library /

Music Library: Public Performance Policy

Use of Sound Recordings at UWM Functions

Use of sound recordings at a non-teaching function is considered a “public performance” under US and International Copyright Laws (Title 17 of the US Code).

A “public performance” is defined as music played for third parties by almost any means including CDs, cassettes, records, videos, live musicians, telephone music-on-hold, jukeboxes, and radio or television music played over a commercial system.

A public performance is one that occurs “in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” A public performance also occurs when the performance is transmitted by means of any device or process (for example, via broadcast, telephone wire, or other means) to the public. In order to perform a copyrighted work publicly, the user must obtain performance rights from the copyright owner or his representative.

The Fair Use provisions of the Copyright laws allow for playing recorded music in a face-to-face teaching setting only. Question number 4 of ASCAP’s (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Performers) FAQ on Licensing says this:

4. Do I need permission to perform music as part of a presentation in class or at a training seminar?

If the performance is part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institution, permission is not required. Permission is required when music is used as part of training seminars, conventions, or other commercial presentations.

Any other use of copyright sound recordings in campus activities is deemed outside of the fair-use provision and must adhere to the laws governing a public performance.

The Golda Meir Music & Sound Recording Library can not knowingly provide sound recordings for use in situations considered a public performance, e.g. lectures, conferences, and other presentations, unless proof of performance permission can be shown. This includes dubbing to cassette tapes of materials owned only in LP or CD format, as well as creation of anthologies of music for the same purpose.

If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to contact us.