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Copyright Information: Music

Can I copy music for personal use?

Yes. Private copying of recorded music for private use is legal in Canada. You cannot distribute the copies.


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Can I photocopy a musical score?

A copy of a musical score which is part of a collection or anthology of musical scores may be made for the purposes of research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review or new reporting. If the document contains only a single musical score then copying will fall outside the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines and you will need pay royalties or seek permission if you need to copy or scan more than 10%.  Contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at for assistance with royalties and permissions.


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Can I play copyrighted music in class?

Yes, as long as you satisfy certain criteria. The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational or training purposes, not for profit, on MRU premises and before an audience consisting primarily of students, faculty or any person who is directly responsible for setting a curriculum for MRU. However, if you want to use music for non-educational purposes (e.g. as background music at a conference or for your fitness class) a license must be obtained from the copyright collectives SOCAN and Re:Sound.

Under the Educational Exceptions of the Copyright Act's Fair Dealing clause, it is legal to play a short excerpt of a sound recording provided that:

  1. it is played for an educational or training purpose;
  2. it is played on MRU premises; 
  3. the audience is comprised primarily of Mount Royal students, and
  4. it is not played for profit.

See the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines for more information on what constitutes a "short excerpt".

If you are playing music from YouTube, be mindful that you cannot use an infringing copy.


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Can I play copyrighted music in public or at my event?

The Copyright Act states that only copyright holders have the right to play their copyrighted music in public. You are free to play music in your office, or for a small group of friends or co-workers, as this is not considered to be public.

If you want to use music for non-educational purposes (e.g. as background music at a conference or for your fitness class) a license must be obtained from the copyright collectives SOCAN and, if recorded music is used, Re:Sound.

MRU retains the responsibility to pay such fees to SOCAN and/or Re:Sound, as the case may be. The MRU Copyright Advisor arranges for music licenses for all applicable MRU events, and it is your responsibility as the event co-ordinator to inform the Copyright Advisor when music is being used at your event. The Copyright Advisor may ask questions such as: 

  • what is the source of the music (e.g. live music, recorded music, radio music)
  • whether dancing is involved
  • where the music was played (e.g. indoors, outdoors, room number)
  • gross ticket sales

This information is necessary for accurate reporting of SOCAN and/or Re:Sound fees. Please contact the Copyright Advisor at for more information on music licensing.


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Can I include copyrighted music in a PowerPoint presentation?

Copyighted music may be included in a PowerPoint presentation if the presentation is done for educational or training purposes and the audience is primarily composed of Mount Royal students. If a PowerPoint presentation contains copyrighted music, it should not be later distributed to the general public. 


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Content on this page has been copied and adapted from the "Copyright at UBC" website, created by the University of British Columbia under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Have a copyright question?

If, after browsing this guide, you still have questions or require additional information please contact, or 403.440.6618.

Student drop-in office hours on the main floor of the RLLC will resume in September, 2019.