Music Library Association Home

Online Resources

Legal Information Institute (LLI)—Cornell University Law School
Indexed and fully-searchable contents including the full text of all federal and state codes. Materials are classified, allowing for recall of texts on a given subject.

Congress.gov (Formerly known as THOMAS)—The Library of Congress
Online record of the activity of the United States Government, including The Congressional Record; bills and resolutions introduced; voting records; committee information; and treaties.

Copyright Term in the United States
Compiled by Cornell University professor Peter Hirtle, provides a useful and reliable tool for determining the copyright status of a work.

U.S. Copyright Office
Includes full-text versions of numerous copyright-related materials, including the complete text of Title 17 as well as individual chapters; recent legislation; congressional testimony and pending legislation; historical copyright acts; reports and federal register notices; information about treaties.

The Federal Register
Official notices issued by the United States Government including the Copyright Office. Source rule interpretations, proposed rules, and decisions by the Copyright office; requests for public participation in hearings; and announcements of general interest. Searchable using keywords for 1994-2007.

Copyright and Fair Use (Stanford University Libraries)
An extensive collection of copyright-related resources, with a particular emphasis on fair use. Includes numerous summaries of cases and legislation, both past and pending, as well as through explanations of key concepts. Especially useful is an annotated listing of fair use cases, which are grouped by subject (including a section on music).

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries
Published in 2012 by the Association of Research Libraries in conjunction with American University's Center for Media and Social Impact, this document contains eight principles on working with common "fair use" scenarios occurring in academic libraries. Topics covered include: digitizing items for preservation purposes, making library materials accessible to disabled patrons, institutional repositories, and more. This Code was created with the input of librarians as well as copyright experts and lawyers.

Scholars' Copyright Addendum Engine
Provides a point-and-click way for scholars to retain rights over their published material that otherwise transfer to the publisher. Intended for authors who publish in a traditional, subscription-based journal yet still wish to make a copy of their article available on the Internet for download without most copyright and financial restrictions.

Historical Recording Coalition for Access and Preservation
An effort, spearheaded by ARSC and joined by the MLA, to bring about more effective sound recordings copyright law. The group is proposing to:

  • 1) Bring sound recordings into the jurisdiction of federal copyright law by amending 17 U.S.C. §301(c);
  • 2) Harmonize the term for sound recordings in the United States with those in other countries;
  • 3) Legalize the use of orphan works;
  • 4) Permit the reissue of abandoned works by third parties (provided the copyright holders are compensated); and
  • 5) Update the U.S. Code to permit libraries and other non-profit organizations to use the best practices in preservation of historic recordings.
Creative Commons License

Copyright for Music Librarians by the Music Library Association
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.