A musical work typically takes the form of sheet music showing the musical score. Musical works are usually available individually or in a collection containing several musical scores. Musical works include both a musical composition and lyrics. A composer and a lyricist may own copyright in their separate contributions to a musical work. Copyright subsists in every musical work, whether published or unpublished, and the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines apply to both.
It is common for new arrangements to be prepared for musical works that are in the public domain. It is likely that copyright will subsist in a new arrangement. Any copyright in the new arrangement will not affect the ability to use the original musical work.
When a performance of a musical work is recorded, a sound recording is created. Copyright also subsists in the sound recording, and can include copyright for the composer, lyricists, performers, recording studios and record producers.
Subject to the safeguards discussed below, under the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines:
Copies of Short Excerpts of musical works and sound recordings are only to be provided or otherwise distributed to:
The MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines do not apply to the public performance of a musical work or a sound recording. If faculty members and administrative staff wish to do so without the copyright holder's permission, they must comply with section 29.5 of the Copyright Act, which permits faculty members to perform a musical work and a sound recording only if the performance is:
In addition, with respect to sound recordings, the copy of the recording being played must either (i) not be an infringing copy, or (ii) the person responsible for the performance must have no reasonable grounds to believe that it is an infringing copy.
Note that section 29.5 allows the performance of an entire musical work and sound recording (i.e. you are not limited to a Short Excerpt (up to 10%) of the musical work).
Some electronic versions of musical works and sound recordings can only be accessed because MRU has entered into various license agreements that provide faculty and staff access to electronic versions of musical works and sound recordings. Some license agreements limit how these electronic versions may be copied, distributed or performed by the university (including its faculty and staff). Some licenses also require end users to agree to such limitations. These contractual limitations apply as a separate limitation from the fair dealing exception (including the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines) and section 29.5. Therefore, while the Copyright Act may allow certain acts of copying or performance, but if an applicable license prohibits that act, the license must be complied with if you wish to use that licensed version of the Work.
If your purpose is non-educational (e.g. for background music or for a social event), you will need a license (normally issued by SOCAN or Re:Sound). Please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for licensing assistance.
If, after browsing this guide, you still have questions or require additional information please contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca, or 403.440.6618.
The Copyright Advisor is also available in EL1132 for drop-in office hours: