Music Copyright Guide for TAFEs

Music Copyright Guide for TAFEs

Updated 28 July 2022


When we talk about music, we are referring to both musical works (ie sheet music comprising the score and/or the lyrics of a song) and sound recordings (ie recorded versions of musical works).

musical work can be the score, or both the score and lyrics. The copyright owner of the score can be different to the copyright owner of the lyrics. Note that if TAFEs are just copying lyrics, they will be considered as text for the purposes of the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence.

sound recording can be a recording of the score only, or of both the score and lyrics. Examples of sound recordings are Apple or Spotify tracks, MP3 files, vinyl, CDs, audio cassettes, reel to reel tapes and any other method for recording and storing sounds.

When TAFEs use a sound recording, they need permission to use both the musical work and the sound recording of that musical work. Generally, the composer or music publisher owns copyright in the musical work, and the record label owns copyright in the sound recording. If you are only reproducing or performing the musical work (eg by playing the music with an instrument or singing the song), you only need permission from the owner of copyright in the musical work.

TAFEs often want to use musical works and sound recordings in different ways inside or outside the classroom. For example:

  • playing instruments in class as part of a music appreciation course
  • playing sound recordings in class as part of a music and sound production course
  • playing musical works live or playing sound recordings at one off events (eg award ceremonies, graduations, concerts, fashion shows)
  • communicating sound recordings (eg uploading a recording of a TAFE concert to the TAFE learning management system)
  • playing background sound recordings in public areas, work spaces and TAFE facilities such as fitness centres, cafés or restaurants.

Copyright Exceptions

All TAFEs are able to rely on the copyright exceptions in the Copyright Act to use musical works and/or sound recordings for educational instruction.

Section 28

Teachers and students in all TAFEs can perform musical works live or play sound recordings in class under s 28 of the Copyright Act, provided it is:

  • in the course of education
  • the people in the audience or class are giving or receiving instruction.

Teachers can also upload sound recordings to a TAFE intranet or digital teaching environment (DTE) in order to play them in class, but they should remove them from the intranet/LMS, or remove access to the sound recordings by students, as soon as class is over.

Examples of what TAFE teachers and students can do include:

  • singing a musical work and playing that musical work using instruments in class
  • performing a musical work in a virtual class using a DTE
  • using a DTE to show the score of a musical work to external students so that those students can play along to the score in a virtual class
  • playing a sound recording in class in any format (eg digital music from Spotify or Apple music, Google Play Store, CD) using a DTE, interactive whiteboard or virtual classroom software
  • playing a film (DVD or online film) in class which contains a musical work and or sound recording using a DVD player or DTE.

Flexible Dealing

If TAFEs want to copy and communicate musical works or sound recordings for educational instruction they may be able to rely on the flexible dealing exception.

For example, a teacher may be able to:

  • prepare an arrangement of a musical work for students to perform in a music class when they cannot buy the arrangement they need
  • format shift sound recordings from vinyl, cassette or CD into digital format such as mp3.

See Flexible Dealing Exception, see also Students and Copyright.

Disability Exceptions

If you are copying or communicate musical works or sound recordings in order to make them accessible to a student with a disability, you may be able to do this under the disability exceptions.

See Disability Access Exceptions.

Exam Copying

Teachers are allowed to copy and communicate musical works and sound recordings for use in online and hardcopy exams. This exception does not extend to practice papers. You can only rely on this exception to copy and communicate copyright material for actual exams and assessments.

See Exam Copying.

Fair Dealing

TAFE teachers will only be able to rely on the fair dealing exception in limited circumstances (ie it must be for their own research and study and not the research and study of their students).

However, TAFE students using musical works and or sound recordings as part of their study, will generally be able to rely on the fair dealing exception for research and study. For example, TAFE students may be able to rely on the fair dealing exception to use musical works and sound recordings in an assignment as part of a ‘Sound and Music’ course.

See Copyright Exceptions.

TAFE Music Licence

All TAFEs (excluding Victoria) can now rely on the TAFE Music Licence with APRA, AMCOSARIA and PPCA, which are the collecting societies that represent music composers and record labels.

TAFEs can perform musical works live (eg a live performance by a TAFE band) and use sound recordings in different ways outside the classroom environment, under the TAFE Music Licence. For example, TAFEs can:

  • perform/play a musical work live at TAFE events (eg a TAFE band playing live at a TAFE Open Day)
  • play a sound recording at TAFE events (eg use recorded music in a TAFE fashion show)
  • play a sound recording as background music in TAFE businesses (eg TAFE training restaurants, fitness centres or cafes)
  • play a sound recording as background music in TAFE workplaces (eg staff rooms, TAFE offices)
  • make a sound recording to play at TAFE events (eg copy popular songs from a music streaming service to play at a TAFE graduation ceremony)
  • incorporate a sound recording into another work (eg adding music to a PowerPoint presentation)
  • live stream TAFE events at which a musical work is performed or sound recording played from a social media platform (eg Facebook Live and YouTube). TAFEs can rely on the licences that APRA AMCOS and record labels have with social media platforms to communicate (ie make available) the stream on the platform. However, it is still possible that the performance may be muted or blocked. This is addressed in more detail below.

Note – TAFEs can also use Creative Commons music for the purposes described above. See ‘Creative Commons Music’ below.

Recording your TAFE event

TAFEs can record their events that include the performance of a musical work live or a sound recording. TAFEs can also authorise a third party (eg a professional videographer hired to film a TAFE fashion show or graduation ceremony) to make a recording of a TAFE event on its behalf, and use the recording in the ways listed below.

What can I do with the recording of our TAFE event?

TAFEs can do the following with the recording of their TAFE event(s):

  • upload the recording to the TAFE website and/or DTE
  • upload the recording to educational apps being used for TAFE communications (eg Skillslocker)
  • email a digital copy of the recording to the TAFE community (students and parents or guardians)
  • provide a physical copy to the TAFE community (for example, on a USB device)
  • upload the recording to the TAFE’s official social media page (although where a musical work or sound recording is played at the TAFE event the post may still be taken down – see ‘Blocking or muting of events on social media’ below).

Using recorded music in videos or presentations

TAFEs can incorporate a sound recording, or a recording of a performance of a musical work (ie a recording of a TAFE band performing a piece of music) into another unrelated work. For example, they can add a backing track to a PowerPoint presentation or to a video of a graduation ceremony or fashion show. The TAFE can do the following with this new recording:

  • upload the recording to the TAFE website, password protected intranet or password protected DTE
  • email or provide a physical copy of the recording to students, staff or members of the TAFE community
  • upload the recording to an educational app being used for TAFE communications (for example ‘SkillsLocker’).

TAFEs can also upload videos and presentations that include musical works to the TAFE’s official social media page. However, if the video or presentation contains a commercially available sound recording, it must not be uploaded to social media (e.g. if a TAFE downloads a track from Spotify and adds it to a video it’s made of a TAFE open day, it cannot upload the video to its Facebook page).

Live streaming your TAFE event

TAFEs can live stream events, where a musical work is performed live and/or a sound recording is played, in real time from TAFE social media platforms (such as Facebook or YouTube). TAFEs can rely on the licences that APRA AMCOS and record labels have with social media platforms to communicate (ie make available) the stream on the platform.

If you are live streaming a performance where a musical work or sound recording is being played on social media, it is still possible that the performance may be taken down.

Blocking or muting of events on social media  

TAFEs can rely on the TAFE music licences to upload recordings of their TAFE event (including events where a sound recording is played) to the TAFE’s official social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. In order to communicate (ie make available) those recordings from those social media pages, TAFEs  can rely on licences that APRA AMCOS and ARIA have with social media platforms.

Music recording companies (ie record labels) and some music publishers use software to identify potentially infringing content on social media platforms such as Facebook.

When a TAFE institute live streams a performance where a musical work or sound recording is played, this software may alert Facebook or other social media platforms to mute the recording or send a takedown notice to the TAFE institute. If you are concerned about a live stream or recording being muted or your TAFE being issued with a takedown notice, contact the National Copyright Unit. Alternatively, you may want to consider uploading the recording to your TAFE website or password protected intranet.

I want to use music at my TAFE in a way not described above, what should I do?

If you want to use musical works and or sound recordings in a way that is not covered under your TAFE Music Licence or the educational exceptions, contact the National Copyright Unit to discuss.

Alternative music licences to those offered by OneMusic

Some copyright owners offer an alternative and cheaper licence than those offered by OneMusic. These licences are offered as a cheaper alternative since they do not deal with either or both of the music collecting societies that are part of OneMusic (APRA AND PPCA).

Set out below are examples of alternative licences to those offered by OneMusic that can be utilised by TAFE institutes, fitness centres, cafes and restaurants:

Creative Commons Music

TAFEs in all jurisdictions can use CC musicals works and sound recordings free of charge provided you comply with the terms of the CC licence. The minimum requirement of the CC licences is attribution – that is, acknowledging the copyright owner and creator when you use a copy of their works.

Using music from Creative Commons is an options TAFE students could consider when they are using music in their TAFE assignments. For example, using music in their multimedia or sound engineering classes.

There are several websites that license musical works and sound recordings under a CC licence, including:

  • SoundCloud– online sharing platform with option to filter search results for CC content
  • Vimeo– online community with option to search for CC content
  • CC Mixter– CC sound remix tool and archive
  • Op Sound– CC music archive
  • Magnatune– CC Record label
  • Jamendo– CC music distribution site
  • Freesound– collaborative data base of CC licensed sounds.

Always remember to attribute the musician, track and licence in whatever medium you are using the musical works and sound recordings.

Note – if you are incorporating a musical work and sound recording into another work (eg you are synching music to video footage of your TAFE open day or other TAFE event) you will not be able to use a musical work and/or sound recording that is licenced under a CC ‘No Derivatives Works’ Licence (CC BY ND), which means that the musician does not want you to change, transform or make a derivative work using their musical work or sound recording. Under CC licences, synching the musical work and sound recording to images amounts to transforming the musical work and sound recording, so you won’t be able to use any musical works or sound recordings available under this particular CC licence.

See ‘Legal Music for Videos’ on the CCs website for more information.