When you buy a CD/ LP/ download etc., there is usually a disclaimer either on the product or in the terms of the download agreement advising that you aren’t purchasing the right to give a public performance, broadcast, communication or make any reproduction of the works. If you want to play music in your business, or on your telephone to callers on hold, or copy music for your business you must get the copyright owner’s permission. In most cases this takes the form of an annual APRA|AMCOS licence.
Music played at home, in personal transport, in a hotel/ hospital room or any place where people reside/ sleep is considered to be a domestic use of music and as such not considered a public performance. Businesses playing copyright music for the benefit of clients and/or staff are giving a public performance which requires the copyright owners permission be sought which in most cases takes the form of an annual APRA|AMCOS licence.
Any reproduction (i.e. copying) of copyright works in a commercial context - including format shifting from one device to another - requires the appropriate licence from copyright holders. In most cases, APRA|AMCOS can issue the required reproduction licence on behalf of our membership through the various licenses we offer. Recent amendments to the Copyright Act made it legal to make copies of music for personal use, however this does not extend to copying in any commercial context
Yes. APRA is part of a worldwide network of collecting societies, all of which have reciprocal licensing agreements. This allows APRA|AMCOS’s members rights to be administered all over the world, and the rights of overseas composers to be represented in Australia and New Zealand.
No. Playing televisions and radios in this situation is treated as a private or domestic performance. However, where videos are used, you may need permission from the distributor.
Composers have a number of separate rights under the Copyright Act to enable them to make a fair financial return on their work. They have the right to authorise the broadcast of their music – hence the APRA|AMCOS licence for radio stations to broadcast copyright material – and, quite separately, the right to control the public performance and communication of their work by radio, TV or any other means. Businesses playing copyright music by radio or TV are giving a public performance and those who use music on hold are authorising a communication to the public. Both uses of music require an APRA|AMCOS licence.
All TV programming in Australia including free-to-air and subscription services (i.e. Foxtel, Austar, Sky, ABC, SBS, 7, 9, 10 etc.) contains copyright music. If your business uses a TV to play television broadcasts or DVD’s then you are authorising any music contained in the programming to be performed in your business. Businesses need not account to APRA for screens used only for TABtext, Keno or internal advertising where there is no sound apparent ,as there is inherently no public performance of music occurring. If your TV is used for anything outside of the examples given please contact your local Licensing Representative to discuss further whether an APRA|AMCOS licence is applicable.
Most music content/ system suppliers recognise the existence of the Copyright Act and that APRA|AMCOS fees are applicable to the use of their product in your business. Some music suppliers offer to incorporate the APRA licence fee within your supplier contract/ agreement. Please note that the fees paid on your behalf by your supplier are only in relation to the background music system supplied and do not cover TV’s, jukeboxes, karaoke, live performances or the use of DJ’s in your venue. It is only optional for suppliers to do this on your behalf and it is up to you as the business owner to ensure you hold the appropriate licence(s) either through your supplier or APRA|AMCOS directly. If you have been advised or believe that your content/ system is free of any obligation to APRA|AMCOS please contact our office with further details and we will happily assist in clarifying the matter.
The APRA Live Artist Performance licence authorises the public performance of a songwriter/ composers copyright in a live performance context. When songwriters and composers become a member of a collecting society, such as APRA in Australia, they effectively assign their rights to that society, to collect royalties exclusively on their behalf. Fees paid by you directly to bands, trios, duos, soloists etc. either directly or through door/ bar deals are only for supplying entertainment for your customers benefit and do not include any waiver in the songwriters rights of copyright.
No. APRA|AMCOS is a non-profit organisation collecting on behalf of those who create the music – composers, songwriters and their publishers. Founded in 1926 (when radio first started in Australia), APRA is Australia’s oldest copyright collection agency. AMCOS was founded in 1979 and since 1997 APRA has also managed the day to day operations of the reproduction side of the business. For more information, go to About us.
APRA|AMCOS has a mandate to educate small businesses about copyright and license those playing music. Our approach is to provide relevant information to individual businesses, industry associations and small business groups. APRA is also developing curriculum material for educational courses ranging from hospitality to business management. Our aim is to simplify the areas of public performance and communication copyright for those who use music.
APRA|AMCOS royalties are an important source of income for composers and songwriters. Approximately 87 cents in every dollar collected in licence fees is returned to the music copyright owners. This payment is referred to as a royalty. The remaining amount covers APRA|AMCOS’s administration costs - which are among the lowest of any copyright collecting society in the world. The most common licence fees, those paid by businesses for the use of radio and background music systems, are distributed according to our analysis of radio playlists. Commercial radio stations in Australia provide APRA|AMCOS with a full census of works broadcast, while community radio is sampled at intervals throughout the year and we regard these playlists as representative of background music performed in small businesses, restaurants and hotels. APRA|AMCOS also receives regular music logs from television stations which are analysed for distribution purposes. A full copy of APRA and AMCOS’s Distribution Rules & Practices are available on our website.
We distribute small business licence fees according to our analysis of radio playlists. APRA regards these playlists as representative of background music performed in small businesses, restaurants and hotels. Commercial radio stations in Australia provide APRA with a full census of the works they broadcast, while community radio is sampled. APRA also receives regular logs from television stations and analyses these for distribution purposes.
The APRA Board has implemented a formal Complaints Procedure as well as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy. These documents will give you further information about how we work with you to resolve complaints and grievances.
APRA licenses the public performance and communication rights in musical works. Another collecting society, The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) represent owners of copyright in sound recordings, namely record companies and recording artists. So, in addition to your APRA licence, you may need a PPCA licence if you have music on hold or play CDs, tapes or video clips in your business.
There are various collecting societies in Australia that look after different copyrights, organisations you may need to contact depending on your business operations. For further information on how these organisations might relate to your business operations please refer to our Music At A Glance guide.
Further information can be obtained from our website at www.apra-amcos.com.au or independently from the Australian Copyright Council website at www.copyright.org.au or the Attorney Generals Office website
See our Christmas Songs and Carols page.
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