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Copyright Toolkit

Copyright Information about Audio and Music Files

Do I need permission to use an audio or music file?      

Using the flowchart below, determine if your use of an audio/music file(s) requires obtaining permission from the creator or purchasing a license.

Scenario #1: Using Copyrighted Music

Question:   I would like to use a song as part of my residential classroom instruction.  Is this allowed?
Answer:    If the majority of the fair use factors are in favor, it may be allowed because instruction is occurring. For example, if your lesson is about the Vietnam War and you’d like to play a song to exemplify the opinions of Vietnam War protesters, it would likely be permissible to do so. However, when in doubt, only play snippets or excerpts from a song, rather than playing the whole song--select carefully as using the "heart of the work" (the song's refrain) would be a violation of copyright law. Fair use would not apply if you’re simply playing the music without the music providing instructional value. Always include attribution, and if you are searching for music/audio for your course(s), review the open access audio suggestions in the Open Access tab on this page.

Scenario #2: Using a Podcast

Question:   There is a podcast I would like to use in my online course. Is this permissible?


Answer:    In certain circumstances, yes, it would be acceptable to link to the podcast. For example, suggesting to students to listen to a weekly/daily podcast-- but you don’t link them to a specific episode of the podcast-- would be permissible. However, if you want to provide a link to one specific episode, you should request permission to do so. In addition, through the Rasmussen University Library, you may be able to legally gain access to podcasts; talk with your programmatic Librarian to learn more. Lastly, if the podcast is available through Creative Commons Licensing, you would be able to link to it in your course.

Open Access Resources

Some sites provide content (images, videos, music, etc.) that are freely available for use. This type of material is often called “open access”. Note that though the resources may be readily available, they often have requirements for attribution and use – check carefully! In addition, when using all of these sites, please review their Terms of Use. 

Purchasing a License for Musical Works
NOTE: Faculty are advised to work with their academic dean to gain necessary approvals prior to purchasing a license.
Permission Request Form
You've determined that you need to obtain permission to use material.  This form should be completed by faculty, SMEs, instructional designers, curriculum developers, or anyone working on behalf of Rasmussen University who wishes to incorporate copyright-protected information into a Rasmussen University course.
Please follow the steps below to obtain and document permissions granted:
1. Complete the Copyright Permission Request Form provided at the bottom of the page
2. Save the Permission Request Form to your H: Drive or a personal folder
3. Send the completed Copyright Permission Request form to the designated copyright holder
4. Document any permission you obtain from your source (including email) and file with a copy of the completed Permission Request Form in the "Permissions Documentation" Library housed in SharePoint.


Upload permissions granted/received to the Permissions Documentation Library using the following naming convention:

Course number_Course Name_Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Example:  J100_IntrotoCriminalJustice_10152015
Note:  In situations where a form is not required, please provide the relevant information specified by your source via the method they specify, such as an online request form.  In those cases, please provide a copy of the submitted information as well as any permission you receive. 
For additional information or questions, please submit a request to:
Permission Request Form
Click the link below to access the Permission Request form.