Playing Sound Recordings in Public Library Programs

← Return to forum

  • Hi,
    I am new to this forum, and tried to search for other postings on this topic and didn't find any. I apologize if this is a repeat question.

    Can anyone advise on the legality under copyright law of playing music from sound recordings during story time programs in public libraries? Also, playing background music as people arrive or leave?

    Thank you,
  • Hm. Well, I would guess that playing copyrighted material in a public setting might constitute a public performance/display, which means that ordinarily that would be an exclusive right of the copyright holder. Now, recordings that might be played during story time may have an explicit or implied license associated with them that would allow such acticities.

    Background music- I know that ASCAP (the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers) could theoretically go after people who play background music (like in a dentists office). Here's an older Wired article:,1412,64397,00.html?tw=wn_story_related
    So, I would guess that you'd be opening yourself up to some liability. I do not know if anyone has sued a library about this type of thing, though.

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum