Start by determining if the material is copyrighted or in the public domain.
Below are several links that may help:
Next, use either of the checklists to help analyze if your proposed use is "Fair Use"
Fair Use, as found in Chapter 1, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, is the permitted use of a copyrighted work, without the copyright owner's permission, for reasonable and limited use. The purpose of the use must be for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research." That said, Fair Use does not automatically protect "educational uses" of copyrighted materials.
The intention of Fair Use is to allow some degree of freedom to create (or transform) the works of others into ones own new work(s).
Section 107 details 4 factors as guidelines for evaluating whether use of a copyrighted work is 'fair'. The 4 factors are weighed in aggregate-not separately; they are not hard and fast rules. Transformation is sometimes considered a 5th factor--see the section of this guide for further information.
The 4 factors:
Fair Use determinations are unique to each situation. In the box on the left are some digital tools to help with determining if your proposed use qualifies for Fair Use. Remember these are not intended as legal advice. Before you start, consider the following questions--if you answer yes, you may not need to conduct a Fair Use analysis as the University may already have permission to use the work:
Music Copyright from the College of William and Mary
Music and Copyright-from Washington State University
Inspiration or Imitation: Copyright Protection for Stage Directions (free online journal article from Boston College Law Review)