Copyright For Musicians, Music Educators And Students

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[tag]Copyright[/tag] can be confusing, especially for well meaning [tag]musicians[/tag] and [tag]music[/tag] [tag]educators[/tag].  It is unbelievable how quickly [tag]intellectual[/tag] [tag]property[/tag] went from being something fairly hard to duplicate and reproduce to something that can be done virtually instantaneous, at almost no cost and distributable to literally millions with little effort at all. 25 years ago the cost of doing something like this would be staggering indeed!

When you stop to think about it, a person can “rip” a form of media (video, print, audio) into a perfect duplicate in seconds.  Take the duplicate and replicate it (as many times as imaginable) and send it out to millions- all from the comfort of their favorite chair, at home!  The cost of doing something like this 25 years ago would be staggering! Now, it costs literally 10ths of a cent, Euro, Ruble or whatever!

Fortunately, there are many [tag]free[/tag] [tag]resources[/tag] available online to help with the understanding of copyright as it pertains to those involved with music.  Below is a list of great resources and help about this topic:


MENC’s Copyright Center- A great resource specifically for music educators:

Music Publishers’ Association- A copyright resource center with many links and articles:

Artists House Music- What Music Educators Should Know About Copyright, A video featuring Danny Rocks (VP at Alfred Publishing):

The Music Education Madness Site- A short primer by Paul Jennings (Plank Road Publishing):

Click Here:

Bands of America- A concise article for musicians, by Ted Piechocinski, J.D.,  about the “Copyright Monster”:

Harry Fox Agency- The foremost mechanical licensing agency for the US (get your rights here!):

Copyright Clearance Center- Another distribution company for licensing and information:

United States Copyright Office- The “horse’s mouth” for US copyright information:

Downhill Battle- An interesting site with a somewhat different point of view about copyright and fair-use:

James Frankel on “Copyright or Copywrong”: and

International Copyright Information= World Intellectual Property Organization:

Comments, Suggestions and Additions are Welcome!

~J. Pisano

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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018.  As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.

He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association,  a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website

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