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Using iTunes in Schools

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What is iTunes?

iTunes is a free digital media player application which is used to organise and play sound recordings and video  on a computer. The iTunes player can also be used to copy audio and video files from a computer to portable media players such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

The iTunes Store is an online media store where users can access, purchase and download music, videos (including films, television shows and music videos), games, audio books and podcasts to their iTunes player. The iTunes Store can also be used to download a selection of iTunes applications for use on the iPhone, iPod and iPad.

If online, a user can connect to the iTunes store through the iTunes player.

This information sheet deals with using the iTunes player in class for educational purposes. It also discusses the issues around acquiring content from the iTunes store for educational use. It does not deal with iTunes U or the iTunes applications.


Playing content

The iTunes player enables teachers to play media (sound recordings and video) from their computer to students in the classroom. There are two ways the iTunes player can be used to play content:

  1. Playing sound recordings from a CD in the computer’s disc drive; and
  2. Playing digital files already available in the player’s library of content


Playing sound recordings from a CD in the computer’s disc drive

A teacher can select to play the contents of a CD from their computer’s disc drive using the iTunes player.

Once a CD is inserted into the computer, the user is usually given the following options:

        a. Play audio CD using iTunes
        b. Show songs using iTunes
        c. Import songs using iTunes

Note:  These three options will not appear where the iTunes player is already open on your computer. This is because the CD will automatically be opened and read by the iTunes player. The user will however be asked whether they wish to format shift the CD (ie ‘import songs using iTunes’).

See Option 2 ‘Import songs using iTunes’ below for further information on format shifting CDs.


a. Option 1 ‘Play audio CD using iTunes’

This option allows you to simply play the sound recording/s contained on the CD using the iTunes player. Teachers should select this option when they do not require a digital copy of the recording for educational instruction.

A teacher can play CDs from their computer using the iTunes player under s 28 of the Copyright Act where:

  • it is in the course of education and not for profit; and
  • the people in the audience or class are giving or receiving the instruction, or directly connected with the place where the instruction is given.

For further information on s 28, see information sheet ‘Performance and Communication of Material in Class’.


b. Option 2  ‘Show songs using iTunes’

This option lists the contents of the CD in the iTunes player allowing you to select the sound recording you wish to play.

This is a helpful option to select where the CD contains several sound recordings and you wish to only play one recording or select a few.


c. Option 3 ‘Import songs using iTunes’

 This option involves format shifting the CD into digital format. Teachers may format shift CDs into digital format in limited circumstances under s 200AB where:


       1. The digital copy is for educational instruction

Educational instruction means teaching (including remote teaching), preparation for teaching, preparing materials for students to use for homework or research tasks, or other uses that are in connection with teaching.

Creating a digital music library ‘just in case’ the music may be needed for future exercises is not permitted. There must be a specific educational purpose in mind at the time the digital copy is made.


       2. You only format shift what is needed for educational instruction.

In most cases, teachers will only require extracts of sound recordings for educational instruction but circumstances may exist where format shifting an entire CD is required for educational instruction.

At all times, teachers should only copy what they need for educational instruction.


       3. It is not possible to purchase the sound recording in digital format

We recommend that you purchase the sound recording where it is available for purchase in a digital format.

See discussion below on buying content from iTunes.


       4. The use does not prejudice the copyright owner

Your use will prejudice the copyright owner if you:

  • Format shift more than you need for educational instruction.
  • Expose the digital copy to piracy (e.g uploading the digital copy to the internet). Uploading the digital copy to a password protected repository (eg school intranet/learning management system) with access limited to students and teachers of the school is OK, provided the digital copy is removed from the content repository as soon as practical after it is has been used for educational instruction.

For further information, see information sheet ‘Format Shifting and the Copyright Amendment Act: What am I allowed to do?’


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