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#Music & Music Appreciation

Guide to resources in support of the music classes at LSC-University Park.

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Definitions of Key Terms

Fair Use

An exception to copyright allowing non-copyright owners to make "transformative" use of copyrighted material. Acceptable fair use is determined by weighing four factors: purpose, nature of the work, amount and substantiality, and effect on the market.1, 2
Joint Works

Copyright material resulting from "two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole."3 For example, one person handling the lyrics and the other composing the melody create a song which is a joint work.

Each author "hold[s] an undivided share in the copyright" and can license or use the entire work, but must account for profits to the co-author(s). One author alone may not transfer the copyright without permission from the other authors, however.1

Royalty Compensation established by contract or other agreement based on a percentage of sales or revenue. Royalties may be compulsory requirement in exchange for using copyright content.4

Work (Made) for Hire

"A work prepared by an employee within the scope of their employment, and a work by an independent contractor specially commissioned for an employer."1

The employer (whether a "firm, organization, or individual") "is considered the owner the author and the copyright owner."1

In the case of specially commissioned works, there are a lot of legal ramifications and criteria for this to apply, including that both parties must agree to and sign a written agreement that the work shall be considered a WMFH.


1 Crews, K. (2012). Copyright law for librarians and educators: Creative strategies & practical solutions (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

2 Stim, R. (n.d.).  What is fair use? Copyright & Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries. Retrieved from

3 Legal Information Institute (n.d.). Joint work. Wex, Cornell Law School. Retrieved from

4 Legal Information Institute (n.d.). Royalty. Wex, Cornell Law School. Retrieved from

Creating & Owning a Copyright

Copyright is automatically applied to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression" (Section 102(a)). However, you may still want to formally register a copyright, especially if you want to be able "to bring a lawsuit for infringement."


  • the work came from your inspiration and isn't a deliberate imitation of another work
  • some degree of creativity
  • ideas are not copyrighted or copyrightable: just the execution of those ideas
  • basic facts are not original, nor are compilations of facts or data unless significant care is taken in the presentation and organization

Fixed in a Tangible Medium:

  • The physical form should last more than a "transitory duration" -- though sand castles and ice sculptures are persistent enough to qualify!
  • digital storage (to CD or disk) is considered fixed
  • music and choreography can be "fixed" by writing the score or recording a performance
  • improvised live performances that aren't recorded do not count