Copyright COVID-19 Guidance

By NFHS on April 24, 2020 music directors & adjudicators article Print


As of now, the US Congress has not suspended compliance laws for schools that have closed. It is important to understand that many students may not have adequate access at home to each school’s tightly controlled online environment. The NFHS is providing the following guidance for creating e-learning opportunities that still comply with copyright law:

  1. Can students record themselves and submit those recordings for grades?

Answer – Yes, Section 110.2.A-D allows for educational transmission of copyrighted materials. The materials must be received in a way that follows school policies and the recordings must only be accessible for the students officially enrolled in the course.

  1. Will simply posting these recordings on YouTube be ok?

Answer – Probably not. In accordance to Section 110.2.D.ii.I.aa, schools need to make all efforts to protect these recordings and ensure they are just for educational purposes to the extent technologically reasonable. Any further distribution other than for educational/teaching purposes and the allowed recipients should be limited to that purpose. There should be no further unauthorized dissemination of the copyrighted materials. It is also important to follow your school’s privacy policies in relation to publicly posting recordings for assessment. Exceptions can be found here. 

  1. How can I transmit sheet music to my students to work on during the school closures?

Answer – First, you cannot simply email or Dropbox music to your students. According the Section 110.2.D, you can transmit materials, however it needs to be done in a way where the student cannot retain a copy of that material. For example, materials can be transmitted through Google Drive or some other online sharing platform, however the download and print features need to be disabled.

  1. Can I have my students evaluated by an online adjudicated event?

Answer – Possibly. You will need to ensure the students are uploading their videos to a school sponsored site like answer 1. The scores will need to be distributed through a secure transmission like in answer 3. The ability to create the adjudicators’ copy is covered under Section 107 of H.R. 2223 and must be deleted following the adjudication.

  1. Can I operate an online recital?

Answer – Yes, (see BMI guidance below). However the streaming of the recital must be live and not archived. If you plan on using a streaming service such as Facebook Live, the archive function must be turned off and a notice to viewers should be given to not record the recital. You are still allowed to create one archival copy. 

This guidance is for non-dramatic works and for face-to-face instruction only. While the schools are closed if you are in an e-learning environment, this environment becomes your face-to-face instruction. However, it is incumbent on you to continue to follow copyright laws. The Copyright Office cannot advise on specific possible infringement issues and cannot provide legal advice.  If there are other matters of more specific concern or uncertainty it is always best to confer or consult with an attorney regarding such matters.



Section 110 - (2) except with respect to a work produced or marketed primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via Copyright Law of the United States 25 Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright §110 digital networks, or a performance or display that is given by means of a copy or phonorecord that is not lawfully made and acquired under this title, and the transmitting government body or accredited nonprofit educational institution knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made and acquired, the performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work or reasonable and limited portions of any other work, or display of a work in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session, by or in the course of a transmission, if— (A) the performance or display is made by, at the direction of, or under the actual supervision of an instructor as an integral part of a class session offered as a regular part of the systematic mediated instructional activities of a governmental body or an accredited nonprofit educational institution; (B) the performance or display is directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content of the transmission; (C) the transmission is made solely for, and, to the extent technologically feasible, the reception of such transmission is limited to— (i) students officially enrolled in the course for which the transmission is made; or (ii) officers or employees of governmental bodies as a part of their official duties or employment; and (D) the transmitting body or institution— (i) institutes policies regarding copyright, provides informational materials to faculty, students, and relevant staff members that accurately describe, and promote compliance with, the laws of the United States relating to copyright, and provides notice to students that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection; and (ii) in the case of digital transmissions— (I) applies technological measures that reasonably prevent— (aa) retention of the work in accessible form by recipients of the transmission from the transmitting body or institution for longer than the class session; and (bb) unauthorized further dissemination of the work in accessible form by such recipients to others; and (II) does not engage in conduct that could reasonably be expected to interfere with technological measures used by copyright owners to prevent such retention or unauthorized further dissemination;

Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music The purpose of the following guidelines is to state the minimum and not the maximum standards of educational fair use under Section 107 of H.R. 2223. The parties agree that the conditions determining the extent of permissible copying for educational purposes may change in the future; that certain types of copying permitted under these guidelines may not be permissible in the future, and conversely that in the future other types of copying not permitted under these guidelines may be permissible under revised guidelines. Moreover, the following statement of guidelines is not intended to limit the types of copying permitted under the standards of fair use under judicial decision and which are stated in Section 107 of the Copyright Revision Bill. There may be instances in which copying which does not fall within the guidelines stated below may nonetheless be permitted under the criteria of fair use. Reproduction of Copyrighted Works · 8 a Permissible Uses 1 Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.



You can find more NFHS COVID-19 Resources here.