With such an array of free software available to enable you to download music , it raises the question, is downloading music from the web legal?
Copyright is a form of protection which gives the creator of an original work, such as music, exclusive rights to use it.
The copyright holder has exclusive rights to:
- Make copies or reproductions of their own work
- Prepare derivative works (works that are an adaption of the original)
- Perform or display their work publicly
- Sell or assign rights to others
- Transmit their work publicly e.g. radio or TV
Under Copyright law, it is illegal to download copyrighted music unless you have the express permission from the copyright owner to do so.
Many teachers recognise the educational benefits of websites such as freeplaymusic and thefreesoundproject and many often download and convert music to use offline under the “Fair Use” policy. Fair use is an exception to the rule of copyright. It allows someone to use your work without having to ask for permission. Examples of fair use include research and teaching however, beware, do not assume that the rules of fair or educational use automatically apply to all copyrighted content. Also be aware that different countries have different laws with regards to users rights for example, in the UK, teachers and students can use up to 6 seconds of copyrighted music for learning content without asking for permission. Rule of thumb: When in doubt, ask permission. Education World has a comprehensive guide to your rights when downloading and using copyright material if you want to find out more.
The aim of creative commons is make creative material reusable and more accessible by providing free licences that creators can add to their original work. It allows content creators to distribute their work and modify their copyright terms to best suit their needs. Many photo sharing sites, such as Flickr, allow their users to choose to add creative commons license to their photos when they upload them. Licences can range from full copyright and all rights reserved to public domain and no rights reserved. To find out more, visit creativecommons.org
There is a wealth of free resources available online. Below is just a small selection to get started (remember to always read the terms and conditions before using downloaded material):