Updated 10 February 2021
The schools sector has entered into an agreement with APRA AMCOS, known as the AMCOS Licence, to allow schools to make multiple copies of sheet music for educational purposes. The AMCOS Licence tops up the rights that schools have to copy sheet music under the Statutory Text and Artistic Works Licence. Schools have entered into an interim agreement with APRA AMCOS to extend the term of the schools AMCOS Licence until 31 December 2021 and vary some of the rights granted under it. Where we refer to the schools AMCOS Licence in these guidelines we are referring to that licence as amended by the interim agreement.
All government schools and most Catholic and independent schools are covered by the AMCOS Licence in relation to the copying of sheet music. You can check whether you are covered by contacting your school authority.
Under the AMCOS Licence schools can:
- transcribe the lyrics or melody line from the score of a work
- transpose the score of a 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.
How many copies can we make?
Schools can make unlimited copies of print or digital sheet music for their students, from an original that the school or a teacher at the school owns.
A school can only copy up to three songs from a choral work that is longer than 20 minutes or a Grand Right Works (eg a musical or a work in which the music and lyrics were written expressly for use in a particular context), but it can make unlimited copies of the sheet music for each of those three songs.
So, it could make copies of the sheet music for three songs from ‘Matilda The Musical’ for its students to sing. However, if a school wants to rehearse or perform an entire musical, it needs to obtain permission from the copyright owner of the musical.
The AMCOS Licence also extends to departments and administrative bodies making copies on behalf of a school and to facilitate activities between schools (but note that this does not extend to departments and administrative bodies publishing resources that contain sheet music).
Schools should make a reasonable effort to mark any hardcopy and digital copies of sheet music they make on the copy or near where the copy is made available (eg schools could include a notice that licensed copies have been made under the AMCOS Licence, and keep this in the same folder as the licensed copies on a school’s DTE) as follows:
- “AMCOS Original”
- name of the school
- date copied
All copies made remain the property of the school for which they were made.
What the AMCOS Licence does not cover
The AMCOS Licence does not cover copying:
- for private tuition, even if it takes place on the educational institution’s premises
- for external examinations (although you may be able to rely on the exam copying exceptions)
- of music textbooks
- of music tutorials
- of librettos
- of Grand Right Works (however, schools can copy up to three songs provided the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work).
Even if the copies can be made under the AMCOS Licence, they cannot then be used for the purposes listed above.
In addition, copies made under this agreement must not be lent to any person, except to a student or member of staff, and then only for a purpose permitted under the licence.
The AMCOS Licence also does not permit schools to: