Did you get paid last month?
Or did someone intercept your cheque or bank transfer? In effect that is what
happens when we infringe copyright law. Your involvement in music may well
extend to composition, so this message will have special relevance for you and
indeed students who themselves go on to compose music.
Much music used in teaching is covered by copyright. This is because the
composer is still alive or died fewer than 70 years ago. Copyright provides both
the means by which you are paid for each use of your work and a framework that
encourages investment in new composers.
The rules in the UK allow teachers some latitude in the "classroom" in
recognition of the value of using copyright material in education and of the
need for teachers and students to have reasonable access to it. The rules try
therefore to keep a fair balance between the interests of copyright owners and
teachers in the school, further and higher education sectors.
In summary, for the purpose of instruction in a school or college setting (and
preparation therefor) teachers may
Music may also be performed and recordings of music played in the school or
college setting for the purpose of instruction. But, permission must be obtained
prior to copying, performance or other use of a musical work outside that
educational setting, either directly from the copyright owner or from a body
operating a licensing scheme on behalf of copyright owners.
- transcribe music by hand;
- make copies of short excerpts of musical works;
- arrange works in a way which is "not prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the original composer (subject to crediting the composer and attaching a warning label in a prescribed form)";
- do whatever may be necessary to set exams and to enable performance in an actual exam (but NB once the paper becomes a "past" paper, copyright consent is necessary).
If in doubt, check with the agencies listed in www.licensing-copyright.org. You
may also find it helpful to look at the Education sections, 32 - 36, of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
MusicEd believes that music education should be enabled rather than stifled by
the prevailing copyright regime. And we believe that this is also the view of
the principal licensing authorities. However, the day-to-day experience of
teachers whether in the classroom, lecture hall or workshop situation, may well
be that there are problems which should be resolvable.
Education copyright licensing has always been complicated. If anything, it has
become more complicated since the introduction of local management of schools.
When the LEA Associations negotiated agreements on behalf of LEAs, the schools'
corner was better protected. As it is now, the education case may not always be
heard. Interestingly, the UK universities have been considering the merits of a
co-ordinated approach to copyright on the lines of a copyright co-ordination
centre for the education sector. We will report on the outcome of those
Meantime, rather than ignore the rules, tell us about copyright issues you come
across, for example, any scope for simplification, and we will check with
colleagues at the National Association of Music Educators and the Music
Education Council to establish the degree of support for what you say with a
view to making representations to the copyright agency concerned.