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2.3 Musical Works

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In this section, musical works refers to:

  • original musical works (tunes, melodies, opera, pop songs, orchestral scores, advertising jingles)
  • new arrangements of musical works (cover versions, translations)

More than one copyright work

Music usually involves more than one copyright work such as:

There are separate copyrights in:

It is important to remember that there may be different periods of copyright protection for the different works involved in the music.

See 1.7: How long does it last? for further information

Copying and communicating musical works

In general, copyright in a musical work will not be infringed where the copy or communication of the musical work is done:

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  1. Fair Dealing 

    The copying of musical works for fair dealing purposes is free and does not require the permission of the copyright owner. The relevant fair dealing exceptions are:

    • research or study
    • criticism or review
    • reporting the news
    • parody or satire
  2. Flexible dealing 

    Schools/TAFE institutes can now use musical works for non-commercial teaching purposes if the use is not covered by another exception or Statutory Licence. To use the flexible dealings exception, teachers must assess whether the proposed use:

      1. Is a special caseYour use will be a special case where it is narrow in both a qualitative or quantitative sense.  This means that you are only using what you need for educational instruction.
      2. Is for educational instructionEducational instruction means teaching (including remote teaching), preparation for teaching, preparing materials for students to use for homework or research tasks, or other uses that are in connection with teaching. 
      3. Is not for commercial advantage or profitYour use will be commercial where you, your students or your institute are making a profit or gaining a commercial advantage from the use of the material.  Cost recovery is likely okay. 
      4. Doesn’t conflict with the normal exploitation of the copyright materialYour use will probably conflict with the normal exploitation of the material where it is possible to purchase a similar resource. 
      5. Doesn’t unreasonable prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright owner or person licensed by the owner
      Your use will prejudice the copyright owner if you:
      a. use more than you need;
      b. interfere with the quality of the material;
      c. expose the content to piracy, such as uploading the content to the Internet.Uploading the content to a password protected intranet, blog, wiki or content management system is okay provided students are not able to make further copies; and
      d. don’t remove the content from the password protected DTE as soon as practicable after it is no longer required for education instruction.

    One example of an activity covered by the flexible dealings exception is adapting a musical score for students to play in a music class.

  3. Other exceptions
    1. Performing a musical work during class

      Copyright is not infringed by a teacher or student performing a musical work while giving or receiving educational instruction in a class.

    2. Communicating a musical work for classroom performance

      Schools/TAFE institutes may communicate musical works to perform them in class eg displaying a score in an electronic whiteboard or virtual classroom to enable students to perform it.

    3. Copying by hand
    4. Copying for exams

      See 1.13: Copyright Exceptions for further information

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  4. Voluntary Licences for the copying of musical works

    Schools have a number of Voluntary Licences for using music:

    1. APRA School Licence 

      The performance of a musical work in class or as part of a course of educational instruction does not infringe the copyright owner's right to perform the work in public.

      For any public performance of a musical work outside the classroom, the performance must be covered by the APRA schools licence. Otherwise, permission from APRA will need to be obtained.

      The APRA schools licence also permits the public performance of musical works contained in sound recordings such as playing CDs. However, a PPCA licence may also be required depending on the nature of the performance (see below).

      See Education Licence C: APRA Licence for further information

    2. AMCOS Licence

      Most educational institutions in all states and territories are covered by the AMCOS licence which allows educational institutions to photocopy or transcribe an entire copy of print music (known as sheet music).

      The licence is subject to the following conditions:

      The AMCOS licence allows copies of print music to be made only for the educational institution's educational purposes, which include:

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