Saturday, 1 July 2017

Public performance of recorded music

If you wish to play recorded music or music videos in your exhibition or as a public program you will need to consider if you need one or more licenses otherwise you may be infringing copyright and being unfair to the artists involved.

Copyright licences are issued to individuals and businesses who are users of music. These licences are administered by the following organisations:
  • Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). APRA grants licences for the broadcast and public performance rights in the musical work and distributes licence fee income to songwriters and their publishers. This covers the copyright in the song, being the composition and/or lyrics (i.e. the "musical work" in copyright language).   
  • Phonographic Performance Company of Australia of (PPCA).PPCA grants licences for the broadcast and public performance of recordings and distributes licence fee income to record labels and directly to registered Australian recording artists.  This covers the copyright in the recorded version of the musical work. 

According to the PPCA website a performance can still be a “public performance” even if:
(a) the performance is given for free;
(b) the audience is small;
(c) there is no admission fee to hear or see the performance; or
(d) the performance is confined to members of a club.
In relation to sound recordings, it does not matter whether the public performance takes place by means of a compact disc, record, cassette, tape or other carrier.   Similarly, for music videos it does not matter whether the public performance takes place by means of a celluloid film, DVD or video tape, or through a large screen or a TV monitor.  In all cases, you still need a licence to publicly perform or exhibit the sound recording or music video.  Under the Act, only the copyright owner or exclusive licensee of a sound recording or music video can authorise (or license) its playing or public performance.  The record companies have authorised PPCA to grant non-exclusive “blanket licences”, which cover the public performance of protected sound recordings from a number of different record companies under the one licence. The Committee recently received a letter from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). The letter details the different categories of licenses you may want to consider as well as contact details. 

If you want to play copyright protected music or music videos you first have to obtain the requisite licences. It is illegal to play protected sound recordings for commercial purposes without a licence. The Copyright Act imposes an obligation on those who wish to broadcast, communicate or publicly perform protected sound recordings and music videos to obtain the licence of the copyright holders.  

Both APRA and PPCA provide detailed information and guidelines on music copyright licences for users of music in business via their websites.

You may be able to source royalty free music. Check which is best for you as part of your planning processes.

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