Music: Copyright

Selected resources for students of music

Music and copyright

This information only applies if the music or sound recordings you are using is still within the period of copyright protection – for music life of the composer/arranger plus 70 years and for sound recordings 70 years after date of first publication. There is also separate copyright in the layout and printing of sheet music which lasts for 25 years from publication. See duration of copyright.

Information for composers/arrangers of music

Copyright protection arises automatically on the creation or significant new arrangement of music. You do not need to register but © name of composer and year may remind others the work is protected by copyright.

There is separate copyright for lyrics and music and for sound recordings of music.

Co-composers share copyright.

There is also separate copyright in arrangements of music that display sufficient originality eg transposing music into a different key may not be considered a ‘new arrangement’.

You, as a composer, control the rights to copy, perform and record the music you create. You can join APRA/AMCOS and they collect royalties on your behalf including where work is performed/recorded overseas and they have arrangements with an overseas collecting society.

You also have the right to be attributed as the composer or lyricist of your music under Moral Rights.

Consult the Copyright Adviser for further advice and refer to the general information on Copyright and music: students and staff.

Information for performers of music

If performing works of others that are in copyright you generally need permission from the copyright owner (usually the composer or the music publisher) or have a licence from APRA/AMCOS to perform the work in public.

Some venues may already have licences to cover performance but you would need to check with the venue.

Students and staff may be able to perform music without permission in limited circumstances, where it is for their research or study or teaching purposes. Consult the Copyright Adviser for further advice.

All music performed should be properly attributed. See Moral Rights.

 Performers rights

As a performer you have the right to control the recording of your performance. You should not be recorded without your permission. In some cases you may have part ownership of the recording of your performance. You also have the right to be properly attributed as the performer of the work. See Moral Rights.

More information is at Copyright and music: students and staff.

Using music in teaching

Limited amounts of sheet music (10% of the musical score) can be copied under the Part VB CAL Licence. Permission must be granted from the copyright owner (usually the music publisher) before more can be copied. If the work is out of print or not available for purchase more can be copied

The Universities Music Licence permits the copying and online streaming of certain types of music and sound recordings for educational purposes.

See the databases tab in this guide for information about the library’s licensed audio and audiovisual music databases that can be linked to in moodle or from lecture slides.

Youtube has legitimate music channels such as Vevo that contain music placed there by the rightsholder. This can be played in class or you can Embed a YouTube video in your presentation or moodle site. Ensure the content you are showing is authorised as Youtube includes much potentially infringing material. Please contact the Copyright Adviser if you are unsure of the status of the material.

Another source of music is radio broadcasts. These can be used under the Screenrights Licence. Music recorded from radio can also be downloaded and edited (unlike music under the Music Licence) and may allow for more flexible uses.

All music and sound recordings used should be properly attributed. See Moral Rights.

Copying sheet music

You may rely on a special 'Fair Dealing' allowance for copying limited amounts of sheet music you use in your research and study. For the amount to be considered fair, you can usually only copy 10% of the number of bars in a work or song from a score. However, if the sheet music is unavailable for purchase or out of print, you may copy the entire work.

However, You can't rely on fair dealing for making multiple copies, emailing music, performing music in public or putting music online. These activities would require permission from the copyright owners (usually the music publishers and the record labels). Consult the Copyright Adviser for further advice and refer to the general information on Fair Dealing and on Copyright and music: students and staff.

Using music in research

You may rely on a special 'Fair Dealing' allowance for copying limited amounts of sheet music and/or music recordings you use in your research. For the amount to be considered fair, you can usually only copy 10% of the number of bars in a work or song from a score. However, if the sheet music is unavailable for purchase or out of print, you may copy the entire work. It is not clear from the Copyright Act how much of a sound recording could be copied under Fair Dealing.

You can't rely on fair dealing for making multiple copies, emailing music, performing music in public or putting music online. These activities would require permission from the copyright owners (usually the music publishers and the record labels). Consult the Copyright Adviser for further advice and refer to the general information on Fair Dealing and on Copyright and music: students and staff

All music and sound recordings used should be properly attributed. See Moral Rights.