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Frequently Asked Questions - RCM Publishing

Frequently Asked Questions - RCM Publishing
  • What is copyright?

    The term "copyright" refers to the property/ownership rights of the creator of an intellectual work such as music. Although not always tangible, a creative work is still property. The Canadian Copyright Act protects the rights of creators to retain control over, and be compensated for, the use of their intellectual property. Many people don't realize that the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials such as print music is in essence theft of property. As music educators, we all recognize the value of creativity. Music teachers can play an important role in encouraging their students to respect composers' efforts by ensuring that students are made aware of the intent of the Canadian Copyright Act.

  • Can a teacher copy music for educational purposes?

    Many teachers may be under the impression that photocopying for educational use is legal. Although teachers in institutions may have paid for a licence to enjoy special copying privileges in some situations, print music is excluded from this arrangement. This means that teachers are not authorized to photocopy print music. A publisher is often the composer's representative, and should be contacted directly to obtain permission to make copies for any purpose.

  • Can I photocopy music in order to facilitate a page turn?

    Permission must be granted by the holder of the copyright (the publisher) on the composer's behalf in order for a copy to be made for any purpose, including the facilitation of page turns.

    The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited grants permission to festival, recital, and examination participants to photocopy one to two pages from their copyrighted works in order to facilitate a page turn. Please print this public notice and bring it with you to your festival, recital, or examination.

  • Can I photocopy music from an out-of-print publication?
    Copyright does not cease to exist just because a book is no longer for sale. It is only legal to make a copy of out-of-print music if permission is granted by the copyright holder. On occasion, a teacher may wish his or her student to study a particular piece of music which is no longer available from music retailers. Contact the publisher of the music for permission to make a copy.
  • Do I need permission to copy works of long-dead composers?

    Copyright exists both in a musical composition and in the physical notation of a musical score. This means that even if a composer's works are in the public domain (as Bach's are), a particular publisher's edition of those works is still protected property. So, if you wish to write out a particular Bach Invention by hand, then you may do so; however, you may not photocopy it from a music book without the publisher's permission. (Note: The compositions of a living composer or a composer who has been dead for fewer than seventy years may not be copied without permission, either by hand or otherwise.)

  • Under what circumstances can I obtain permission to copy a piece of music?

    Before you make a request, you must determine the copyright-holder of the work and if the work is still in print. Please refer to the copyright notice at the bottom of the first page of music to determine the copyright-holder. You must contact the copyright-holder of the music for permission to make a copy.

    For works copyrighted by The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited, please visit to determine if the book is still in print. If it is not listed, it is not in print or the copyright-holder may have changed.

    The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited may grant permission to copy their copyrighted works:

    • when the publication is out of print
    • when a reprint/reproduction of the music is needed for special circumstances (for example, recitals or other performances; audio/video recordings)
    • to facilitate a page turn

    Requests must be made in writing to [email protected]. Please allow 3–5 business days for a response.

    Note: Copying music for examinations is only permitted to facilitate a page turn.

    The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited grants permission to examination, festival, and recital participants to photocopy one to two pages from their copyrighted works in order to facilitate a page turn. Please print this public notice and bring it with you to your examination, festival, recital, or recital.

  • How can I receive review publications for inclusion in our festival syllabus?

    The Royal Conservatory is a proud supporter of music festivals across North America and our publications make excellent selections for music festivals and competitions. Should you be interested in reviewing RCM Publishing publications for possible listing in your festival syllabus, please contact Wai-Yee Tsai with your request and include the following information:

    • Festival name
    • Mailing address
    • Festival dates
    • Number of entries per year
    • Instruments/Categories and applicable levels
    • Publications requested for review
  • Does RCM Publishing accept manuscripts?

    Unfortunately we do not accept any unsolicited manuscripts at this time.

  • How can I access out of print publications?

    If a selection is not listed in our catalogue, it is either out of print or not published by RCM Publishing. When music is taken out of print, all remaining copies are destroyed as required under copyright obligations. The copyright is then returned to the author.

    For more information, contact the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada or phone at 1-800-557-6226.