The aim of this post is to somewhat clarify the situation following the establishment of PPCA and APRA AMCOS joint venture, OneMusic and the impact on Disc Jockeys.
First some basics, Copyright is a federal law governed by the Copyright Act (1968). The Act exists to ensure that people who make creative content (musical, literary or dramatic works, and sound recordings and films) are able to protect their content. When someone creates a piece of music (or a piece of text, a graphic, a photo, a film or anything else that is protected under copyright laws), a whole system of legal rights and obligations comes into play. These rights and obligations outline what someone can and can’t do with the material.
There is generally more than one owner of copyright in any given musical track. The composer who wrote the music owns copyright in the musical works. The lyricist who wrote the lyrics owns copyright in the literary works. The artist who performed the music owns copyright in a sound recording of their live performance. Finally, the maker of the recording (typically a record company) owns copyright in the sound recording.
The different types of rights in any given musical track are referred to as Mechanical & Performance Rights.
In Australia there are a number of organisations which manages and licences the Mechanical and Performance rights;
APRA (Australian Performing Rights Association Limited) administers the “performance rights” and is the collecting society which collects and distributes licence fees for the public performance and communication to the public of musical works (including their lyrics) on behalf of its members (composers, songwriters, music publishers) and other copyright owners, including overseas affiliated societies.
AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) only grants licences to reproduce the musical work, and the copyright in the recorded version of the musical work, i.e. the “mechanical rights”.
Prior to 1997, APRA & AMCOS were two separate organisations. In 1997, they formed an alliance and became APRA AMCOS and now is a music rights organisation representing its members plus grants licenses to play, perform, copy, record or make available their members’ music, and then distribute the royalties back to those members.
ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) grants licences for the reproduction of the sound recording (“mechanical rights”), where it is authorised to do so, and distributes the fees it collects among individual sound recording copyright holders (usually the record company/label).
PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) grants licences for the broadcast, communication or public playing of recorded music (such as CDs, records and digital downloads or streams) and music videos (“performance rights”).
OneMusic is an APRA AMCOS and PPCA joint licensing initiative launched in 2019 and offers joint public performance licences so there is no longer any need for separate licence agreements and invoices from PPCA and APRA AMCOS (“performance rights”).
Songwriters, Composers and their Publishers
Recording Artists and their Record Labels
What does the OneMusic initiative mean for Disc Jockeys?
With the introduction of OneMusic, the onus to have a public performance licence to play recorded music in public has been shifted to venues (clubs, pubs, restaurants, community halls, councils, cruise ships, function, convention & conference centres, places of interest, activity & amusement, cinemas, schools, live adult entertainment and much more). The only time a DJ would require a separate public performance licence is if they are also the promoter of an event.
- If a DJ uses music on original, legally purchased CD’s or Vinyl i.e. no digital music, they do not require any other licence to comply with the Copyright Act.
- If a DJ uses digital music whether purchased in digital format or by “ripping” from legally acquired CD’s or Vinyl, then a reproduction licence is required. This was also the case prior to the introduction of the OneMusic initiative and nothing has changed here.
In short, OneMusic simplifies public performance requirements only (“performance rights”).
But doesn’t every DJ use some form of digital music?
Unless all your music is in the format mentioned in 1. above, then to be completely legal, you require a licence to cover the mechanical rights in your music. As mentioned above AMCOS administers the copyright of the musical work and ARIA administers the copyright of the musical recording – a licence covering the mechanical rights is available from AMCOS and information and rates for a Casual Blanket Licence can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. For the mechanical rights administered by ARIA – Application Form Licence for Reproduction of Sound Recordings, can be found at https://aria.azureedge.net/documents/Reproduction-Licence-Application-Form-Updated-11.03.14.pdf.
I hope that you now have a better understanding of the copyright requirements and clarifies what is required in regards to the music you use at your events.
The DJAA has negotiated a Licence Agreement to cover both the “mechanical rights” of AMCOS and ARIA at a far more favourable rate and additional inclusions, however whilst the intent was to negotiate a licence which would be available for all DJs, APRA AMCOS have restricted the availability of this licence to DJAA Members only.
The DJAA wishes all DJs who desire peace of mind in regards to complying with copyright requirements and protecting their business, the opportunity to also be able to obtain the negotiated licence. Accordingly, the Committee held a Special General Meeting in early 2019 and Members voted on amending the Constitution and removing the requirements that many had stated, were a barrier to becoming a member and created a General Level membership. There are no requirements for this level of membership other than abiding with the Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and any Guidelines set.
Not only have the requirements been removed from the General Level, but becoming a General Member could not be easier, just click on the following link “Join DJAA as a General Member“, select whether you wish to pay monthly or annually, complete the form to create your account and process payment – that’s it!! Simple. You are then officially a DJAA Member and as a member eligible for the special priced DJAA negotiated Licence ?
This post was contributed by Serge Olivieri. Serge is an Accredited Member of the Alliance and currently serves on the DJAA Committee, is based in Sydney, New South Wales and runs DJ:Plus! Entertainment.
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