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Copying Sheet Music in Schools


Copying Musical Works under the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence

Teachers can copy limited amounts of print musical works (sheet music) for educational purposes under a licence in the Australian Copyright Act known as the Part VB Statutory Text and Artistic Licence (Part VB Licence).  Under this Licence, a teacher can copy 10% of a musical work in both hardcopy and digital format.  A teacher cannot copy an entire musical work except in very limited circumstances.

The copying limits of the Part VB Licence are impractical for many schools that wish to copy entire print musical works for educational purposes such as music classes or school band/choir rehearsal.


AMCOS Agreement

The Schools sector has entered into an agreement with the Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) to allow schools to make multiple copies of whole print musical works for educational purposes where they would otherwise not be permitted to do so under the Part VB Licence.  This agreement is known as the AMCOS Licence.

All government and Catholic schools are covered by the AMCOS Licence. Most independent schools are covered by the AMCOS Licence.

If you are an independent school, you can check whether you are covered by the AMCOS Licence by contacting your school authority.

For further information on the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence, see the Smartcopying website at: http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/scw/go/pid/700  

 
What is AMCOS?

AMCOS is a society of music publishers that administers the reproduction rights of the musical works of its members.

For further information on AMCOS, see the AMCOS website at: http://www.apra-amcos.com.au
 

Copying musical works for educational purposes under the AMCOS Licence

Under the AMCOS Licence, schools can copy whole print musical works for educational purposes. Educational purposes means for use in connection with the educational activities of a school and will include any copies:

• made for teaching purposes 
• made and used as a part of a course of study
• made and retained in the library for use as a teaching resource
• made for a band, choir, orchestra or instrumental ensemble of that particular school.

 

Copying limits under the AMCOS Licence

Copying limits apply under the AMCOS Licence. These limits depend on:

  1. The type of print musical work being copied.
  2. The number of originals owned by the school or teacher of the school.
  3. Whether the school is a primary or secondary school.

The tables below provide a good summary of these copying limits as they apply to primary schools and secondary schools.

The school only make copies from originals that it owns unless it is not able to purchase an original because it is out of print.

*Definitions for terms used in the table:

Chamber Music Work  means an instrumental work scored for up to 10 instruments.

Choral Work means a work written to be sung by a choir or other group of singers, with or without any instrumental accompaniment.

Choral Sheet  means a separately published choral work of less than 20 minutes duration usually in octavo format, including part song, madrigal, anthem or motet.

Grand Right Work means an opera, operetta, musical play, musical, revue or pantomime which consists of words and music written expressly for it.

Orchestral or Bank Work means any work scored for more than 10 different instruments.

Vocal Score means a publication which sets out the musical notation and lyrics of a choral work of more than 20 mins duration or any Grand Right Work with choral or vocal lines and accompaniment.

Primary Schools

Type of Print Musical Work
Permitted No. of Copies per Original
Separately published works 30 copies in total
Vocal score 30 copies each of a maximum of three songs from the vocal score (provided that the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work)
Choral Sheet 5 copies in total
Music Collection 30 copies in total with a maximum of 3 from the collection
Transcription (by hand or computer software) of a melody and/or lyrics of a song 30 copies in total
Transcription (by hand or computer software) of a musical work into a different key (Transposition) 30 copies in total
Orchestral/ Band Work Copies of up to 30 instrumental parts
Chamber Music Work Up to the number of players, provided not more than 10 parts are copied

 

Secondary Schools

Type of Print Musical Work
Permitted No. of Copies per Original
Separately published works 15 copies in total
Vocal score 15 copies of each of a maximum of three songs from the vocal score (provided that the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work)
Choral Sheet 5 copies in total
Music Collection 15 copies in total with a maximum of 3 from the collection
Transcription (by hand or computer software) of a melody and/or lyrics of a song 15 copies in total
Transcription (by hand or computer software) of a musical work into a different key (Transposition) 15 copies in total
Orchestral/ Band Work Copies of up to 30 instrumental parts
Chamber Music Work Up to the number of players, provided not more than 10 parts are copied

Transcribing and Transposing Music

The AMCOS licence also permits;

  • transcription of the lyrics or melody line from the score of a work
  • transposition from the score of the work.

This can be done through the use of computer programs such as Sibelius or Finale.

Copies can be made of such transcriptions or transpositions up to the permitted limit. 

What does the AMCOS Licence not cover?

The AMCOS licence does not cover the copying of print musical works:

  • for private tuition, even if it takes place on the educational institution's premises
  • for external examinations
  • into a digital format or the scanning of hardcopy musical works
  • from music textbooks or music tutorials
  • of librettos
  • and changing the lyrics
  • which are Grand Right Works (except copies of vocal scores consisting of a maximum of three songs  provided that the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work)

Even if the copies were originally made for a permitted purpose, they cannot be later used for any of the purposes listed above.

Marking Requirements

Under the AMCOS Licence, schools must mark both the original works and copies made from these originals in a certain way.

Original Works

Original works must be marked with the following information:

  1. The words ‘AMCOS LICENCE – [number] COPIES MADE’
  2. Name of school
  3. The date the copies were made.

Copies

Copies made from original works under the AMCOS Licence must be marked with the following information:

  1. The words “AMCOS licensed copy”
  2. Name of the School
  3. Date the copy was made
  4. If the owner of the Original is not the school but a teacher or staff member of the school, then the name of that teacher or staff member.

It is a good idea for schools to purchase a stamp with the above wording to mark original works and copies made under the AMCOS Licence.

Marking copies made from original musical works is important to keep a record of the number of copies and ensure that the school does not exceed the copying limits of the AMCOS Licence.



FAQs

1. Can a school replace lost, stolen or destroyed copies made under the AMCOS Licence?

Yes, the AMCOS Licence does allow a school to replace any lost, stolen or destroyed copies provided the total number of copies retained by the school does not exceed the coping limits.

2. What if the school did not buy the original musical work but was given it by a parent, community member or staff member?

It doesn’t matter that the school didn’t pay for the original musical work. Just as long as it is a genuine original work and not a pirated copy, the AMCOS Licence will apply.

3. Can I add or change the lyrics of a musical work under the AMCOS Licence?

No, the AMCOS Licence does not apply where the lyrics usually associated with a musical work have changed or new lyrics added.