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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music Copyright

This guide will point you toward information and resources to help navigate the complex world of music copyright.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some common questions regarding copyright. If you still need additional guidance after consulting both this LibGuide and the general Copyright Reference Guide, please direct questions about music copyright resources to the Music & Performing Arts Library at, and questions about legal advice to the University Copyright Librarian, Sara Benson.

General Copyright Questions

Should I put some sort of copyright notice on my work?

It's not a bad idea. Although it is not required, many people misunderstand basic copyright law rules and it may be wise to do so. Putting a notice on your work will remind others not to use it unless they either have an exception that applies to general copyright rules or they have obtained your permission first.


How can I register my work with the United States Copyright Office?

Visit the U.S. Copyright Office website and use the registration portal to register your work. There is also the option of registering your work with a paper application; you can view the options for registering performing arts-related works on their Performing Arts Registration information page.


How does AI (artificial intelligence) factor into copyright?

The general rule is that a work must have been made by a human creator in order for it to be protected under copyright law. Currently, works created by large learning models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, Denali, and others are not protected by copyright. For more information, visit the University's "Introduction to Generative AI" LibGuide.


How is copyright affected by international laws?

Users must abide by the copyright laws of the country they are working in, regardless of the laws in their home country. For example, if you are planning a public performance in Canada, you must abide by Canadian laws and regulations regarding public performances. However, international copyright law can quickly get rather complicated, and any specific questions should be directed to the University's Copyright Librarian Sara Benson.