Music, copyright and teaching

The University has several copyright licenses that allow music and films to be used for educational purposes. We can:

  • Provide copies of recorded music to students either as a download or by streaming
  • Perform live or recorded music in class and include it in a live stream or lecture capture recordings
  • Provide copies of sheet music to students online or in a print course-pack (some limits apply)
  • Show films (either clips or in their entirety) in class and as part of a live stream
  • Include copies of broadcast films in a lecture capture recording
  • Provide copies of broadcast films to students either as a download or by streaming
  • Provide copies of other types of copyright material such as images and text, e.g. book chapters or journal articles. Some limits and conditions apply.

The Library also subscribes to a number of databases for sheet music, recorded music, film and images. There are several Library guides to help you locate music, audio-visual and other library collections.

Performing music and other material in class

Live and recorded music can be performed in class. Other types of material such as films or images can also be shown in class. Material can be shown in part or in full. Some restrictions apply if the material must be reproduced for it to be shown in class, e.g. copying sheet music to provide students a copy to perform in class or copying an image to include in PowerPoint slides.

Live streaming

Live and recorded music and films can be included in a live stream of a class. Other types of material such as images can also be included as part of the live stream.

Using Lecture Capture

If a lecture is being recorded via Lecture Capture and the lecture includes copyright material, such as music or films, it is not always possible to include the copyright material.

Different restrictions apply to different types of copyright material included in Lecture Capture. Images (e.g. included in PowerPoint slides) and recorded music (live performance or pre-recorded) can be included. Films can be included if they are a copy of a television broadcast. If the film is from another source, e.g. a digital download or stream, DVD or YouTube clip whether or the film can be included will depend on the type of film and/or how long the clip is. Due to the complexity of making films available via Lecture Capture, it is recommended that film clips are excluded by pausing the recording when the clip is shown and restarted once finished. Copies of the film can then be made available separately by linking (e.g. YouTube clips) or by providing copies in the Library.

If you wish to make films available via Lecture Capture and are having difficulties, please contact us.

More information about using Lecture Capture.

Including music, films and other material in Lecture Capture

Copyright material can be included in a Lecture Capture recording and different restrictions and limits apply to different types of copyright material. Images (e.g. included in PowerPoint slides) and recorded music (live performance or pre-recorded) can be included.

The rules for including films in Lecture Capture are much more complex. Whole films or clips can be included if they are available from Kanopy are copies of broadcast. The Copyright Office is currently investigating other options for including films in Lecture Capture. If you wish to include films, please contact the Copyright Office to discuss your needs.

Making music and other material available online

Music and other material can be made available to students online via the LMS using Readings Online, Subsonic or Kanopy. This is the only way to ensure that content being uploaded is copyright compliant. Library staff will check all material uploaded for copyright compliance and manage all the administrative requirements such as providing citations and copyright warning notices for material.

The following limits apply when making material available online (as well as for print coursepacks and handouts).

Using print music

The Music Licence also allows us to use printed or sheet music for the following purposes:

  • Physical or digital copying for educational purposes
  • Physical or digital copying for the purposes of giving a performance at a University event
  • Storing and providing access to digital copies to University staff and students from the LMS

Using print music under the licence is subject to the following conditions:

  • If making physical copies of sheet music, do not make copies in excess of what is needed.
  • Only scores owned by the University can be copied under this licence. Borrowed scores, scores owned by staff or students or copies of scores cannot be used.
  • No alterations to lyrics or new arrangements can be made to the music.
  • These copies can only be provided to University staff and students.
  • These copies must be destroyed or taken offline when no longer required.
  • All copies must be labelled with the following information:

    Copy made pursuant to a licence between Universities Australia and AMCOS

    Title of work



    Arranger (if applicable)

Recorded music – streaming and downloading

Due to incompatibility with the University’s multi-factor authentication service, our music streaming server, Subsonic , has been retired. Playlists have been migrated and saved, and will be available for students in 2022 in the relevant subject LMS sites. Alternative sources for streaming musical works can be found through Naxos Music Library and other online music services. More information can be found on the Media Collections for Fine Arts and Music Library Guide.

We can also use sound recordings (both musical and non-musical) from radio broadcasts.

Films – streaming and/or downloading

Films, TV shows and other video content can be made available online for students, subject to some conditions and limitations. Films may be available via Library database or through Kanopy – a film streaming service. A link to the film can be provided via Readings Online.

Films or video clips available via Youtube, Vimeo or services such as iView or SBS On Demand can be linked to through Readings Online. If using clips from Youtube or Vimeo, check to make sure that they are legitimate copies made available by the copyright owner.

Copies of films and other programs that have been broadcast on television can be made available online to students. You can record the broadcast yourself or for assistance, contact the Copyright Office.

Unfortunately, commercial DVDs or digital files cannot simply be made available online. If you wish to make a commercial DVD or digital file available online, contact the Copyright Office.

Sourcing music or audio-visual content

Music can be sourced from Library databases (linked to only) or from CDs, LPs or other physical formats held in the Library or from your personal collection. Files downloaded from iTunes, Apple Music or similar online music sites (legitimate ones) can also be used. This usage is covered by the Music licence the University has with the Music industry. We can also link to Spotify playlists or tracks. However, students must create an account with Spotify which may raise privacy issues for students not wishing to join the service. Further, free accounts on Spotify are feature-limited.

We can also use sound recordings (both musical and non-musical) from radio broadcasts. You can either record this yourself or contact Learning Environments for assistance.

For assistance in sourcing music or audio-visual content, please contact the Copyright Office or your Subject Liaison Librarian.

Using music and other material in exams and tests

Copies of sheet music and recorded music, as well as other copyright material, can be made available to students as part of an exam or text question. See copying material for exams and test questions.

There are provisions within the Copyright Act that allow the University to reproduce copyright material for educational purposes under certain conditions. Educational purposes do not cover other activities of the University, such as research, marketing and promotion or engagement, for example public lectures. The Copyright Act provisions include the statutory licence which covers the reproduction or communication of textual material, sheet music, images and TV and radio broadcasts. The licence allows copyright material to be made available to students in print course packs, as a class handout or via email as well as online on the LMS via Readings Online (text and images) and Kanopy (broadcasts). There are additional provisions in the Act that allow copyright material to be performed in class and included in Exams and Tests. The statutory licence covers very limited use of music, so the University also has a licence with the Australian music industry for the use of recorded music for educational purposes.

For more information about the University’s copyright licences, see the statutory licence for educational purposes.