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High School Associations


News Release

Music Publishers Agree to Allow Educational Use of Copyrighted Music


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 14, 2020) — Several prominent music publishers have temporarily allowed the use of their copyrighted music for educational purposes through an agreement with the NFHS and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). These guidelines are designed to allow high school musicians to complete their year-end assessments and for classroom instruction while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement will expire on June 15.

“The publishers have been gracious with their permissions to allow students the ability to complete their year-end assessments while remaining copyright compliant,” said Dr. James Weaver, director of performing arts and sports. “The NFHS has worked for many years to help schools be copyright compliant. This move by the publishers should be applauded for the assistance they are providing schools in this unprecedented time.”

For music to be distributed for K-12 assessment and adjudication, student recordings must meet the following guidelines:
  • Performances can only be shared for educational assessment or state adjudication purposes.
  • Performances must be shared in as private of a setting as possible and must be viewable only by an individual link.
  • The recorded performance must use legally purchased music.
  • Any arrangements made shall have proper permissions secured prior to recording.
  • Once the recorded performance has been adjudicated, it must be deleted from the sharing platform.

“These requirements are designed to allow schools and students to still participate in their music education as well as protect the intellectual property of the music publishers,” said Weaver. “The permissions afforded by the publishers are temporary in order to get us through the remainder of the school year.”

The five publishing houses that have agreed to allow their music to be used include:
  • Alfred
  • Barnhouse
  • Hal Leonard
  • Warner-Chappell Music
  • Warner Entertainment
Collectively, the publishers account for approximately 95 percent of available educational music.

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About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at