online storytime?

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  • Hi, I'm a YS librarian and want to record myself doing storytimes and post them on our library website. I know I will need to get permission from authors/publishers if I read their books but what about songs? I usually sing the songs myself (no cd), would this mean I can use any songs? Or do I have to find public domain songs only? If so, does anyone know if The Hokey-Pokey is under copyright? :) Oh, one more question... if I use a song/rhyme but change the words (ex: change Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around to Dinosaur, Dinosaur...) or use the tune w/ different words (Frere Jacques but words about dancing) would this be allowed? Thank you!
  • Lea, It sounds like you are doing some wonderful programming on behalf of your young patrons!

    Because you are publicly performing a song and redistributing it over the Internet, your use would be a copyright violation if the song is copyrighted. You can check the database of ASCAP, a rights clearance agency for music, to see if the song you want to perform is protected and what the terms for licensing it would be. The url for their site is

    Other resources that might be helpful to you:

    (1) 'Performance Rights' section of the Music Library Association's Guide 'Copyright for Music Librarians' (

    (2) Chapter on 'Getting permission to use Music" from the book 'Getting Permission: How to License and Clear Copyrighted materials Online and Off' (Nolo, 2007).

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