IMSLP:Creative Commons and Performance Restricted licenses

(Redirected from IMSLP:Permissible licenses)
Disclaimer: Please note that the IMSLP makes no guarantee whatsoever that the information appearing in this section is legally accurate and assumes no liability or legal responsibility therefor. It is recommended that contributors wanting to use one of these licenses peruse the legal code before using the license.

Works not in the public domain can be submitted, with the creator's permission, using a Creative Commons license. List (if applicable) your real legal first, middle initial (optional) and last name as the publisher and select the license you want to use when uploading.


The Creative Commons (CC) is a family of licenses with varying degrees of restriction on use. The license selector can help you determine which Creative Commons license to use for your work. Specific restrictions may be waived in writing if desired.

Permitted Licenses

The possible licenses that are permissible on IMSLP:

  1. Scans of old printed or manuscript music: NONE - public domain only.
  2. Manuscript scans (composers dead over 70 years): NONE - public domain only. (unless first published less than 25 years ago)
  3. (Re)Typesets: cc zero 1.0, cc by 4.0, cc by-sa 4.0, cc by-nc 4.0, cc by-nc-sa 4.0 and cpdl 4.0.
  4. Original or Copyrighted Compositions: One of the Creative Commons or Performance Restricted licenses.
  5. Recordings: One of the Creative Commons licenses.

Creative Commons Zero

The Creative Commons Zero license mimics the public domain but for copyrighted works. Specifically, the creator/copyright holder reserve no rights, not even the right to attribution (which is its main difference from CC BY).

The Six Main Creative Commons Licenses

The Creative Commons licenses use 4 types of restrictions:

  1. Attribution (by) -- Users must attribute the work to the creator of the work.
  2. ShareAlike (sa) -- Users must license derivative works under the same, similar or a compatible license.
  3. NonCommercial (nc) -- Users may not use the work for commercial purposes.
  4. NoDerivs (nd) -- Users may not create derivations of the work or give non-verbatim performances.
    *(See the license for definitions of "derivative" and "adaptation")

Combinations produce the six licenses in increasing restrictiveness:

  • 1. Attribution (by)
Summary - Full license (legal code)
  • 2. Attribution + ShareAlike (by-sa)
Summary - Full license (legal code)
  • 3. Attribution + NonCommercial (by-nc)
Summary - Full license (legal code)

  • 4. Attribution + NoDerivs (by-nd)
Summary - Full license (legal code)
  • 5. Attribution + NonCommercial + ShareAlike (by-nc-sa)
Summary - Full license (legal code)
  • 6. Attribution + NonCommercial + NoDerivs (by-nc-nd)
Summary - Full license (legal code)

Performance Restricted Licenses

The Performance Restricted licenses are usually used when a composer uses a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) (e.g. ASCAP, BMI) to collect performance royalties. These licenses do not allow free live, broadcast or transmitted public performances, or recordings except as exempted under the copyright statutes of various countries. All performances, whether live, broadcasted or transmitted, are subject to payment of performance royalties to the PRO.

There are six Performance Restricted licenses, mirroring the six flavors of Creative Commons licenses. The only major difference between a Performance Restricted license and its Creative Commons counterpart is the performance restriction.

You can find the legal texts of the six Performance Restricted licenses on this page.

CPDL License

The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) License is used for files already licensed under this license. If you are selecting a license for a new work, one of the Creative Commons or Performance Restricted licenses is recommended over this license.