Digital Media Purchases

Purchasing digital media (apps, books, music, movies) to be used in a school is different than purchasing media for personal use. At home, one can purchase an app or digital book once and use it on multiple devices. For iPads purchased and managed by a school or district, we are required to purchase a license for each device on which the app or book is used.

Since the iBook and App stores only allow for media to be purchased once per Apple ID, Apple has provided a method for schools to purchase multiple copies of an app or book through Apple School Manager. This method is for purchasing apps and books only, not other iTunes media such as music or movies.

Below are considerations for the purchase of media that will be used on iPads.

Media TypeYou Need to KnowHow to Purchase
iOS AppsiTunes gift cards and purchases of apps with an individual Apple ID through the App Store are not reimbursable with district funds.


If students will create accounts as part of the app use, student data privacy must be addressed.

An app license must be purchased for every iPad that the app will be used on.

Please review Guidelines for Selection of Digital Resources.

Purchase apps through a school/program Volume Purchase Program (VPP) account.


Apps can be distributed in one of two ways:

  • via MDM if purchased for entire district (ownership remains with the district);
  • Via Configurator if purchased for a subset of devices at a school (ownership remains with the district);
BooksiTunes gift cards and purchases of iBooks with an individual Apple ID through the iBooks Store are not reimbursable with district funds.


If purchased as an iBook through VPP, the district cannot retain ownership and the book is considered a consumable and gifted to the individual.

Sora (OverDrive) is the preferred method for purchasing digital books.

For iBooks purchases, use the same directions for redeemable VPP app codes.


If possible, digital books should always be purchased through Sora (OverDrive).

Movies and MusicVPP does not provide a method for the purchase of music or movies.


There is no reimbursable process for purchasing movies or music through the iTunes store.

iTunes Terms and Conditions state that you may use purchased content “only for personal, noncommercial purposes.”

Copyright and proper licensing must be considered if a movie is to be shown as a public performance for entertainment.

Section 110(1) of Title 17 of the United States Code grants a specific exemption from the copyright laws for:

… performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made.

Movie Licensing USA allows for the purchase of performance rights for select movies. The site license allows any staff member to use the service and the license is renewable each school year.


Movies may be purchased through OverDrive.

Movies may be borrowed through Media Services. Please see your school library staff for instructions on how to schedule titles.

Music is heavily regulated by copyright law in favor of the creator. Only 30 seconds can be used of any one composition to qualify under the Fair Use section of Copyright Law. In order to legally use more of a selection, permission must be obtained from the holder of the copyright.  This is normally going to be the record company.  This is for entertainment purposes. Music used in the content of face-to-face curriculum is covered by the Fair Use clause of Copyright Law.

Copyright also applies to sites such as Pandora which states in their terms of use that the content is for personal use only.

Music sites that waive copyright restrictions include:

Public Domain Music

Royalty-Free Music

Digital Subscriptions 


(web-based software)

If students will create accounts, student data privacy must be addressed.Purchases should follow District Guidelines for Selection of Digital Resources.