From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 25, 2010

Editor's note: Welcome to our new feature written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne will write about an important issue in the area of staff development or answer reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

I would like to use some classical music by Mozart as part of a convention presentation on relaxation strategies. Since Mozart is dead, it is my understanding that copyright restrictions no longer apply. Am I safe to use this music?

A: Not necessarily. It is true that copyright generally applies for the lifetime of the author of a work plus 70 years. But even though Mozart has been dead for more than 200 years, the recording you will use is probably copyrighted by the company who owns it. The company owns the rights to the arrangements and recordings of the music you are planning on using.

In these circumstances, it is always best to err on the side of caution and obtain written permission to use the music. I suggest you consult with your organization's legal department for specifics. You may also want to review the information on copyright available at

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