FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I register my band name? expand

A: You can register the name as a business name through the appropriate department in your state or territory (view list), not with APRA. You may also wish to consider registering the name as a trademark, although this is a costly and more lengthy process.

How do I protect my interests when working with co-writers? expand

A: It is best to have a clear written agreement that states the nature of your collaboration. See Working with Co-Writers (pdf)

I want to give my songs to someone to perform. How do I do this? expand

A: There are no set rules. Perhaps join one of the many songwriting associations around Australia (see Industry Contacts), contact a publisher with a special interest in the type of music you write, or approach a band or singer directly to see if they like your material. Networking is your best option.

A band is performing my songs. Can they do this without my permission? expand

Yes, in most cases they can. The venue in which the band plays must hold an APRA licence; it is not the responsibility of the individual bands. The APRA licence gives the venue a blanket licence to authorise the performance of all copyright music.

One of my songs is available for sale online as a digital download. Am I entitled to a royalty? expand

It depends.  Unfortunately, there are many illegal download services (including P2P services) – for example, Limewire, eDonkey and mp3fiesta – which are unlicensed.  You should not expect to receive royalties from the use of your music on these sites or services. 

If the digital music service is licensed by APRA|AMCOS then there are two types of royalties that you may be entitled to. Firstly, there's the communication royalty collected by APRA for the making available online and/or electronic transmission of the work to the customer's computer. Secondly, a reproduction royalty is also generated and collected by AMCOS covering the reproduction of the song to the customer's hard drive or mobile phone.

For APRA|AMCOS to collect and distribute these royalties on your behalf, you will need to be a member of both APRA and AMCOS. You can help APRA|AMCOS by ensuring that you register your new works before they are sold on the internet and by always listing the name of your recording act when registering.

My song has been put out on a CD compilation album. How do I collect what is due to me? expand

Generally speaking, whoever authorises the making of the CD is liable to each songwriter on the recording for the payment of mechanical royalties – i.e. royalties generated from the manufacture of the CD. Normally, this will be the band that has recorded the CD, or their record label (sometimes it may be their distributor). 

If you are not an AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) member, or your works are not represented by an AMCOS member (e.g. a music publisher), then you can collect these directly from the record company or the artist as the case may be. Or, you can choose to become a member of AMCOS and APRA|AMCOS will then seek to collect the royalties on your behalf (subject to any prior arrangements you may have made). 

More information on AMCOS membership.

I have performed on an album for a friend. What are they supposed to pay? expand

A: Whatever you agree to as a suitable fee. The Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA) will be able to advise the current rate for a recording session which should give you a starting point for your negotiations. Tel 02 9333 0999 Fax 02 9333 0933 Email meaa@alliance.aust.com

I have made a CD that I sell at venues. Am I supposed to go through AMCOS for the mechanical royalties? expand

 If all the tracks on the CD are your originals and you are not an AMCOS member, or your works are not represented by an AMCOS member, the answer is no. If however:

  • the CD includes covers of someone else's songs; and/or
  • you are represented by an AMCOS member (e.g. a music publisher),

you must obtain a licence from AMCOS to manufacture the relevant number of copies of the CD. Find out more in Making Recordings.
 

I want to make a CD that will include covers of other people's songs - do I need a licence to do this? expand

Yes. You will need to obtain an AMCOS licence if you want to make a recording of a song composed by another writer. Find out more in Making Recordings.

I have a dispute with a co-writer over a work - the co-writer is also an APRA member. Can APRA help me resolve this dispute? expand

A: Disputes over royalty entitlements are expensive, time consuming and often left unresolved. APRA is concerned about such disputes between its members and has established an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system to assist both Writer and Publisher members. See www.apra-amcos.com.au/MusicCreators/AlternativeDisputeResolution.aspx

I have a complaint about APRA - how can I resolve this? expand

A: APRA has a Complaints Handling Policy and Procedure that will ensure that any complaints received by APRA|AMCOS are handled in an efficient, transparent and fair manner. Click here to read our Complaints Procedure.

I am a member of APRA . Can I opt-out of certain licences or can I licence-back a work so that I can negotiate the terms for its performance directly myself for a special occasion? expand

Yes you can. For further information, go to Managing Your Rights.

I am a member of AMCOS. Can I arrange to collect my reproduction royalties directly from record labels or other companies/individuals who reproduce my musical works? expand

Yes. As a member of AMCOS you have various opt out and licence-back arrangements available to you, which may be able to meet your needs. Please contact your APRA|AMCOS writer services representative to discuss in more detail.

I'm a little confused about what Publishers do and Publishing deals... expand

Please read the full Publishing Fact Sheet (pdf). If you have any further questions about publishing, contact Publisher Services on publisher@apra.com.au or call1800 642 63.

How do i copyright my music? expand

Please see our FAQs page on copyright >>

Do I need to become a member of APRA|AMCOS to copyright my works? expand

Again, please see the copyright FAQs >>

Does APRA|AMCOS market my songs/ get performances for my works? expand

No. APRA|AMCOS' role is to ensure composers/songwriters and publishers are rewarded whenever, and wherever, their musical works are played, performed or reproduced. Promoting your music is a role normally performed by music publishers or by songwriters themselves. For more information about publishing, please see the publishing fact sheet »

What is the difference between the 'Sound Recording' royalties and the 'Musical Work' royalties? expand

The copyright of a recorded song has two elements; the sound recording and the musical work. The sound recording information relates to the Artist/performer and the record label involved in the recording and production of a song, the performance royalties for sound recordings are collected and paid by the PPCA, and the mechanical (sale) royalties are collected and paid by ARIA or record companies. The musical work information relates to the songwriter (which can be someone different to the performer) and their publisher; the performance royalties for musical works are collected and paid by APRA and the mechanical royalty is collected by either AMCOS, the publisher or the songwriter.

Please see our copyright FAQs for further information on sound recording and musical work copyrights>>

What is an ISRC code and where can I get one? expand

The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. APRA does not issue ISRCs. ARIA is the Australian International Standard Recording Code national agency, and it administers ISRCs. For more information about the ISRC system, or to apply for an ISRC for your recordings, please email

isrc@aria.com.au

or visit the ARIA web site:

www.aria.com.au/pages/isrc.htm

.

Do I need to join an international society as well if my songs are getting played overseas? expand

No. APRA|AMCOS have reciprocal agreements with societies in most territories around the world. If your music is performed publicly or communicated in a foreign territory, the society in that country or territory will collect those royalties and forward them to APRA to pay our members. Please note that the royalties collected and distributed will depend on the distribution practices and procedures of the society in that territory. If your works have been performed live or broadcast in a foreign country, please follow this link to complete the appropriate form which will enable us to follow up these claims for you.

What is the best way of registering songs in a band? expand

To begin with, all songwriters within the band must agree on the percentage splits for each work with each writer before registering the work with APRA|AMCOS. Once the percentage splits have been agreed upon, only one of the writers then needs to register these songs with APRA|AMCOS via the membership login on the website. Only the musical work copyright owners (ie the songwriters and music publisher if applicable) should be credited in the APRA|AMCOS registration.

For more information, see Working With Co-Writers>>

How do I join my band up to APRA|AMCOS? expand

The copyright in your songs is owned by the songwriters; it is not possible for a band entity to own copyright. For this reason, only individual songwriters can join APRA|AMCOS, not a band. If all people in the band write the songs, then all band members can join APRA|AMCOS. It's helpful if you can provide your band/performer name when completing your APRA|AMCOS writer membership application. Once you start registering your works with us, you will be asked to provide the songwriter information and the percentage ownership splits for each of the writers, and you will also need to list the performer/band name. This assists APRA|AMCOS in correctly tracking uses of your music.

Can I earn royalties from airplay on online radio and digital radio stations? expand

Yes. The majority of Australian and New Zealand online and digital radio stations are simulcasts of their analogue versions, and this additional use is licensed under their standard APRA|AMCOS agreements.
 

Can I earn royalties if my work is played by a webcaster? expand

Unlike digital radio or online radio stations, a webcaster is specific to the internet, i.e. they do not have an analogue equivalent.

For webcasters, it's still early days.  Given the small amount of advertising revenue currently being generated by these services– their licence fees are a fraction of those paid by commercial radio broadcasters. This means that royalty distributions for streams by webcasters are incredibly small; keeping in mind the vast number of hours of music programming and the significantly lower licence fees we collect.
 

Can I earn royalties if my music is broadcast on YouTube? expand

APRA|AMCOS has a licensing agreement in place with YouTube and we have made two distributions since its implementation. APRA|AMCOS’ licence agreement with YouTube covers the streaming of all music videos including music embedded in user generated content (UGC).  However, because of problems in identifying music in UGC, distributions are only made on official music videos.

You may find that your works have been being reproduced or synchronised as part of other users’ uploaded content to YouTube. It is important to understand that the reproduction/synchronisation rights of a work are owned by the original copyright owner/music publisher. Therefore, a work cannot be used without gaining permission from the original creator (that means you!).

If you discover that your musical work has been used without your consent, there are two options available:

  1. Contact the user who has used your work and license them directly.
  2. Contact us and we will endeavour to have the video taken down from YouTube on your behalf.
     
Can I earn royalties if my music is broadcast on MySpace? expand

APRA has a licence agreement in place with MySpace which is based on a flat fee agreement. Given the significant number of music creators using the service, royalty distributions from MySpace have been relatively small.
 

What’s the deal with covers of songs broadcast on YouTube or Myspace? expand

For any covers put on a User Generated Content site (UGC), all reproduction/synchronisation rights need to be cleared with the music publishers/original copyright owners. However, if you do find yourself in a situation where your work has been used without your consent you can either, contact the person who has used your work and license them directly or contact us and we will endeavour to have the video taken down from YouTube on your behalf.
 

Are there any royalties for broadcast performances of my music from the triple j Unearthed website? expand

Musical works broadcast on the triple j radio network are paid royalties by APRA. We are currently working with the ABC to obtain data for streams from their websites.
 

Can I earn mechanical royalties if my music is downloaded from the triple j website? expand

Uploading your songs to a website can be a great way of getting your music heard, but before uploading your work, it’s important that you read and understand all the terms and conditions. In the case of triple j, APRA members should be aware that the upload agreement states that there will not be any royalties received from promotional downloads.
 

Which online services are licensed by APRA|AMCOS? expand

Licence agreements are in place for many digital service providers including: NineMSN, ABC Online, SBS website, Yahoo!7, MCM websites (Take 40 and Hot Hits), News Digital Media sites, Fairfax Digital - to name a few. Please contact your local APRA|AMCOS Writer Services Representative to inquire about a specific service.
 

What if the website is Australian based? USA based? expand

In some cases we license overseas entities who have made their service available in APRA|AMCOS territories and in other cases we rely on our reciprocal agreements with our sister societies around the work to report back to us music use on various online services.

 

Can I earn royalties for digital downloads? expand

APRA|AMCOS has a licence agreement in place with most Digital Service Providers (DSPs) in Australia. We distribute royalties for any of our members’ works sold over a licensed service within our territory (Australia/ New Zealand). Our digital download tariff has been recently ratified by the Copyright Tribunal with a combined APRA|AMCOS royalty for digital downloads being set at 9% of the retail price, subject to minimum fees. If your songs are available on a download service, please make sure that you provide the ‘performer name’ at the time of registering your works.
 

What obligations/permission/licensing does an artist need to record a cover version of a song and make it available on iTunes (USA) and/or iTunes (Australia)? expand

USA

If you are recording a cover version of a work and wish to sell it as a digital download on a US-based download service, you are required to take out a licence with the Harry Fox Agency (AMCOS equivalent in the USA). Go to www.harryfox.com and head to their Songfile Mechanical Licensing tool.  In cases where the Harry Fox Agency do not represent the work, you may be able to obtain a compulsory licence via RightsFlow – see www.rightsflow.com and head to the Limelight licensing area.

Australia

In Australia, you need to obtain a manufacturing licence from AMCOS, before you can supply your recording to a DSP. APRA|AMCOS licenses DSPs directly, and so royalties for downloads will be collected by APRA|AMCOS on behalf of the rights holders.

 

Who is the best aggregator to work with? expand

There are many aggregators acting on behalf of songwriters and artists so it’s not possible for APRA AMCOS to advise who is the best as services vary from service to service.  Click here for some facts on a few of the aggregators currently in the market.

Can I register and claim royalties with APRA AMCOS for remixes? expand

It depends. Please read our information sheet on remixes for further information - Remixers and Remixes FAQ (pdf)