Copyright FAQs for Virtual Graduation Events
Updated March 15, 2021.
If your college or department is planning a virtual graduation ceremony or related event to recognize and celebrate your graduates, please review the following information to ensure that your event is compliant with applicable copyright laws.
How can music be used for a virtual graduation event?
It is recommended that you use BYU-owned recordings of public domain music or royalty-free music.
If you decide to use royalty-free music, be sure to comply with all license terms.
Public domain music can be performed without any copyright restrictions. For copyrighted music, you may be able to rely on BYU's blanket licenses for live public performances, only if you meet the following conditions set forth in the licenses:
- Livestream your ceremony from a byu.edu URL or any other URL operated or maintained by BYU (e.g., you cannot stream from your department’s social media platforms).
- Do not retain an archival copy of the ceremony.
- Do not include any “dramatic” performances of music. Performing music as part of a story or plot is considered a dramatic performance.
If none of the above options satisfy your needs, you will likely need to obtain permission to use music at your event. For assistance securing permissions, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.
What information is needed from speakers or presenters who will participate in a virtual graduation event?
You should obtain a Speaker Release from all speakers and other presenters who will participate in your event. Additionally, you should ask speakers to identify any third-party images, video, or other copyrighted content included in their speech and obtain permissions when needed. For assistance securing permissions, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.
Can images or video of graduates or student-created works be displayed during a virtual graduation event?
If you would like to use images, video, audio, or other copyrighted content featuring or created by graduates or other participants in your virtual graduation ceremony, it is recommended that you obtain releases from two sources.
- A Creative Work Release should be obtained from the copyright owner, which is generally the creator of the content (e.g., photographer, videographer, artist, etc.).
- A Talent Release should be obtained from the anyone whose name, likeness, or voice will be featured in your event (e.g., graduates and others who are recognizable in photographs or video).
If you cannot reasonably obtain a Creative Work Release or a Talent Release from every contributor or participant featured in your event, it is recommended that you use a clickwrap agreement when collecting the content. Such agreements should require contributors to affirmatively assent to your use of their content and/or to the use of their name, likeness, or voice during your event.
More copyright questions? Need help?
Contact the BYU Copyright Licensing Office for further assistance.