Media and Copyright

Legal Sources of Online Content, EDUCAUSE
Legal Music Sites, RIAA
Legal Online Movie and TV Sites, MPAA
Digital Hollywood, MPAA
A Better Way to Find Movies, TV and Music
Sources of Textbooks and Other Written Works, AAP
Flickr Commons


Wikimedia Commons
BYU Art & Art History Lib Guide

YouTube Information

Frequently Asked Copyright Questions

Licensing Music

OmniMusic, includes thousands of tracks in every conceivable genre, style, mood, texture and color. Most music in this collection is available without additional fee for use in non-commercial BYU projects.

The Music Bed, a convenient licensing source for using music–ranging from filmmakers, production companies, film/TV, wedding & portrait photographers, streaming, and Church/non-profits.

ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, offering a variety of blanket public performance licenses.

BMI, Broadcast Music, Inc., offering blanket music licenses permitting the playing (pubic performance) of more than 7.5 million musical works.

SESAC, a performing rights organization  to serve European composers not adequately represented in the United States. Though the company name was once an acronym, today it is simply SESAC and not an abbreviation of anything.

ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are three separate and distinct Performing Rights Organizations (PRO). Each organization  represents different copyright holders (songwriters, composers, publishers) and licenses only the copyrighted works of its own respective copyright holders.

HFA, Harry Fox Agency, mechanical licensing, collection and distribution of music publishers in the U.S. An information source, clearinghouse and monitoring service for licensing musical copyrights.

Other Sources:

How Do I know What Is and Isn’t Legal?
RIAA Tools for Parents & Educators
Copyright Matters
U.S. Copyright Law, Title 17, U.S.C.U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Consequences of Unauthorized Downloading

Criminal/Civil Liability

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

Institutional Liability

A portion of the BYU Copyright Infringement and Repeat Infringer’s Policy states: “Users violating University copyright and infringement policy may be subject to the full measure of disciplinary action up to and including warnings, suspension and termination of University status and/or employment where applicable.”

A portion of the BYU Copyright Policy states: “Members of the BYU community who disregard this Copyright Policy may violate the Honor Code and the terms of their employment (i.e., they may jeopardize their employment); may place themselves at risk for possible legal action; and may incur personal liability.”

Church Statements Regarding Media and Copyright

  1. “Deceitful acts supposedly veiled in secrecy, such as illegally downloading music from the Internet or copying CDs or DVDs for distribution to friends and families, are nonetheless deceitful. We are all accountable to God, and ultimately we will be judged of Him according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts (see Alma 41:3). “For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
    Things as They Really Are, Elder David A. Bednar, Ensign, June 2010.
  2. “Church members should strictly observe all copyright laws…”
    Copyright Guidelines, Music Callings and Resources, Official LDS Church website.
  3. “What’s wrong with ‘free’ downloads? The cost is too high.”
    It’s Just a Copy, Right? Janessa Cloward, New Era, February, 2008.
  4. “And downloading certain songs or movies from the Internet violates copyright laws and is dishonest.”
    Internet Café, Arianne B. Cope, New Era, March, 2005.
  5. “Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing or networking enables computer users to download or “share” music or media for little or no cost. Because copyright violations abound, most peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal, especially when computer users trade files with people they don’t know. And most Internet filters cannot block peer-to-peer file sharing.”
    Fighting Internet Filth, Mario Hipol, Liahona, August, 2005.
  6. “Many people rationalize committing “small” acts of dishonesty such as keeping extra change they receive in the grocery store, taking home supplies from the workplace, being less than accurate on tax returns, disobeying copyright laws, and so on.”
    Honesty in Small Things, Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, Ensign, September, 2003.
  7. Church copyright information and common Q/A located in Section 21.1.12 Church Handbook, Handbook 2: Administering the Church

Questions and Answers From the Media Industry

The music and entertainment industry provides answers to many commonly asked questions. Below are some common Q/A based on the information taken from their sites; for a more complete listing of their Q/A and related information, visit RESPECT COPYRIGHTS, Frequently Asked Questions or Musicunited.og, copying FAQs.

  1. What is peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing?

    P2P technology enables computer users around the world to find and trade digital files with each other. By using a P2P computer program, a user can scan the hard drives of others and instantly acquire (download) content with the click of a mouse. At the same time, that user can enable others to copy the contents of his or her hard drive. P2P can enable the transfer of files among many people without knowledge of identity or even location.

  2. What is the concern? Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks?

    Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authorization of the copyright owner is in most all cases an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights.P2P technology can be used for legitimate purposes; however, when it is used to upload or download copyrighted music, movies, pictures and software, it is in most cases illegal. This activity violates the copyright holders’ exclusive rights to copy and distribute their works.

  3. How do I know what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to downloading?

    Sharing copyrighted music or other content using peer-to-peer networks like Ares, BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, and Frostwire is in most cases against the law. The rules are very simple: unless you own the copyright or have authorization, it’s not yours to distribute.

  4. Is it legal to copy music CDs that I own? Or copy a CD that a friend or family member owns?

    Generally, there’s no legal right to digitally copy and distribute complete copies of copyright protected recorded music. However, burning a purchased copy of a DVD/CD onto your own digital devices will not raise concerns as long as:

    • The copy is made from an authorized original DVD/CD that you own.
    • The copy is for your personal use.  It’s not a personal use—in fact, it’s illegal—to give away or lend it to others for copying.
  5. How can I easily recognize unauthorized copies of music CDs (sound recordings)?

    Identifying Unauthorized Sound Recordings by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will help answer this question.

  6. What If I didn’t realize I was uploading copyrighted files?

    If you have P2P software installed on one or more of your computers connected to the Internet, it enables computers with similar P2P software to communicate with each other and transfer files. If you have P2P software on your computer delete it or, if you have a legal reason to use the software, delete any unauthorized files in your “shared folder.”

  7. I want to delete the copies of the unauthorized music on my computer. How do I do this?

    If you know the name of the title you are looking for, you can use the “search” function on most computer systems to search for your files by name. If you don’t find a title at first, try searching for one particular word of the title, or by entering the filename. You may also use this same function to search by file types commonly associated with music

2013 Annual Copyright Information to the BYU Community

All members of the BYU community are reminded that unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing may incur civil/criminal liabilities.

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Law located at Title 17 of the United States Code. These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without permission constitutes infringement.

Penalties for those found liable for copyright infringement may be ordered to pay actual damages and “statutory” damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed in addition to costs and attorney’s fees. Willful infringement may also result in imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense should the court impose criminal penalties.

Activities such as uploading or downloading unauthorized copies of text, movies, games, computer software, and music (or any other material protected by copyright) may also incur serious personal consequences such as terminating your university computer privileges or affecting your status at the university. Students and other members of the BYU community should review the BYU Copyright Policy and Repeat Infringer’s Policy which further describes the consequences of engaging in copyright infringement.

If you are unsure if items you would like to download are legally authorized, review the Media and Copyright information, Copyright Licensing Office website,  or contact the Copyright Licensing Office.

A paper copy of these policies and related information is available on request from the University Copyright Licensing Office.

Sept. 2013

BYU Copyright Tutorial and Contact Information

By completing the BYU produced online Copyright Tutorial you will become familiar with U.S. copyright law and best practices; it can be completed in 1-2 hours. For assistance with copyright issues/questions, contact the BYU Copyright Licensing Office at 3760 HBLL, (801) 422-9339,