Copyright Resources

NATS has unwavering support for the importance of compliance with copyright laws, and the encouragement of our colleagues whose creative works sustain a vibrant and living art form. This resource page is part of our effort to educate and promote copyright compliance among all constituencies within NATS and the general public. Through our membership in the National Music Council, we continue to advocate for modernizing current copyright laws to address contemporary music distribution methods and technologies. We hope you find this resource useful and encourage you to share these resources freely.

NATS Copyright Policy

NATS encourages its members, their students, accompanists and the general population to become educated about, and to comply with, all applicable copyright laws. Reproduction of a copyrighted work constitutes copyright infringement unless a license to reproduce such work has been obtained, the use is considered fair use, the work is in the public domain, or a valid exception to copyright infringement exists.

NATS requires students, teachers and other participants in NATS affiliated events, auditions, and competitions to affirm compliance with the NATS Copyright Policy and to use only authorized reproductions of copyrighted works.

U. S. Copyright Office Circular 21

The U.S. Copyright Office has issued Circular 21 which contains some guidelines concerning the educational uses of music in connection with copyright law.

Guidelines for Educational Uses of Music

Commonly Asked Copyright Questions

For the convenience of NATS members and their students, NATS legal counsel has prepared a FAQ addressing the most common elements of the copyright policy pertaining to NATS events.

Commonly Asked Copyright Questions for Teachers, Accompanists, and Students

National Music Council Copyright Curriculum

The National Music Council and Music Publishers' Association have created an Emmy Award-winning program to teach young students the consequences of disrespecting the rights of creators and how activity, such as appropriating the work of others without permission, negatively impacts creators and stifles creativity in general.

The lesson plan, award-winning video, and educational extension activities are available via a free website at

Learn more about the National Music Council.

United States Copyright Law: A Guide for Music Educators

A consortium of music and legal organizations has developed a comprehensive website devoted to all aspects of music copyright. This resource, "United States Copyright Law: A Guide for Music Educators," provides information on the reproduction, recording, distribution and performance of music and the guidelines that govern these actions. In addition, forms to arrange music and obtain rights to reprint music are available for download. NATS encourages you to consult this digital resource for answers to questions regarding music copyright issues.

United States Copyright Law: A Guide for Music Educators

For a more extensive resource, please consult the Music Publishers' Association website.