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2.3 Musical Works

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    1. AMCOS/APRA/ARIA Licence

      There is an agreement between AMCOS, APRA and ARIA with all government schools and many non-government schools which permits:

      This licence does not include playing sound recordings (eg CDs or MP3 files) where the performance of a recording is done in a venue which is open to the public and an admission fee is charged.

      See 2.4: Sound Recordings

      None of these music licences apply to Grand Right Works and permission must be gained from the publisher to use a Grand Right Work.

      Grand Right Works  include vocal or other scores from musicals, operas, operettas, music theatre works, ballets, pantomimes and stage shows and large choral works (longer than 20 minutes duration). The performance of any musical work in a theatrical context is a Grand Right work.

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  1. Other music copyright issues

    Some common music issues for schools/TAFE institutes are:

    1. Rock Eisteddfods

      The rock eisteddfod organizers, not the participating schools, are responsible for obtaining the relevant licences from APRA. Usually the conditions of the competition require the school to provide the details of the works they wish to perform to the competition organizers. To avoid disappointment schools should be organised well in advance, so that if for any reason permission to perform the work is denied, the school still has time to prepare a new piece.

    2. Making a video of a musical work or incorporating music as a soundtrack in a student film

      Students may rely on the defense of fair dealing for research or study if incorporating music into a video or film provided that:

      • the film or video is made as part of a course of study
      • the use is fair

      However, if the film or video is shown outside the classroom, the institution and/or student will need to get permission (a licence) from the copyright owner of the musical work and sound recording.

    3. Using pre-recorded music in school performances and concerts

      Where an educational institution is:

      • using pre-recorded music as a backing tape to a performance or concert
      • using pre-recorded music as an accompaniment to a performance or concert

      the educational institution is covered by the AMCOS/APRA/ARIA Licence.

    4. Making an audio-visual recording of a school concert or performance for distribution or sale

      Where an educational institution wishes to make a video recording of a school concert or performance and to sell the recording to its students and parents for a profit, it must obtain a licence from AMCOS.

      The AMCOS licence will set out the royalty rate payable and the number of units that can be made and sold by the educational institution.

    5. Arranging or adapting a musical work

      In general, the making of an arrangement or adaptation of a musical work requires permission from the copyright owner of the musical work.

      It is arguable that an educational institution may make slight alterations to a musical work under the AMCOS licence in the following situations:

      • simplifying the work where the students' musical abilities are limited
      • altering the work where a particular instrument is not available and another is being used as a replacement

      You may be able to rely on the new flexible dealings exception to make an arrangement if the following three conditions are met:

      • you need to use the adaptation in class;
      • you cannot buy the arrangement you need; and
      • it is not possible to obtain the publisher's permission in the time you need it.

      See 1.13: Copyright exceptions

      If you intend to make a major arrangement of the work, permission should be sought from the copyright owner or publisher. Some judgement will need to be exercised.

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    6. Using music in a video or film production or other multimedia work

      Where an educational institution wishes to include published music on the soundtrack of a film or video or other multimedia work, it will need to get permission (a licence) from the copyright owner of:

      • the musical work (the composer or their music publisher)
      • the lyrics (if any) (music publisher)
      • the sound recording (the record company)
    7. Copying musical works from television and radio

      Under the Statutory Broadcast Licence administered by Screenrights, educational institutions may make copies of television and radio broadcasts for educational purposes, including their inclusion in the institutions library collection provided certain requirements are met.

      See Education Licence A: Statutory Broadcast Licence

    8. Cover versions of released music

      The Copyright Act allows cover versions of musical works to be recorded for retail sale. A cover version is a new version of a previously recorded song. For example, the song “Brown Eyed Girl” was originally sung and recorded by Van Morrison but was recently re-sung and released for sale by the band Steel Pulse. The licence however does not extend to cover versions of musical works in film.

      The effect of the compulsory licence is that these rights may be exercised without the copyright owners’ permission, provided:

      • the musical work has been made in or imported into Australia for sale
      • a notice is given to the copyright owner, which states:
        • that the person specified in the notice intends to make a record of the musical work (or part of the musical work)
        • the person's address
        • the name of the work (or a description for unnamed works)
        • whether any words are sung or spoken to the music, and
        • the identity of the author of the work, if known;
      • royalties are paid to the copyright owner (either as agreed with the owner of the copyright, or determined by the Copyright Tribunal), a determination is currently in force, under which an amount equal to 6.25% of the retail selling price of the record is the royalty which must be paid to the copyright owner.

      This may be relied on by educational institutions wishing to make and sell CDs of school bands performing cover versions. This exemption only applies to retail sale, not where CDs are distributed within the school.

    9. Music on hold

      Music on hold is music played to a caller while they wait to be connected or transferred during a phone call. Educational institutions that use music on hold should either:

      • obtain a licence from where the music is published and owned by someone else
      • commission original music under a contractual arrangement with a composer which provides that the copyright in the music is assigned to the institution and is not subject to APRA rights.

        See FAQs: Musical Works

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