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Copyright exists in music in a number of ways. There is copyright in the notation and lyrics (i.e. sheet music), the sound recording, and the performance of the music.

The University pays a licence fee which allows staff to copy and communicate music for educational purposes without seeking permission from the copyright owner. Copying limits and requirements for music are discussed below.

In course materials

You can:

  • copy commercial sound recordings (such as creating compilation CDs) of music if it is for educational purposes and related to a course of study or research.
  • make commercial sound recordings available online to students via a password protected system (e.g. Moodle) - in a streaming only format (ie. cannot be downloaded). Sound recordings made available online are subject to survey under the licence and must be arranged through the Copyright Office.
  • Include labelling containing full details of the title, composer, lyricist, arranger, artist/group and record company.

Playing commercial sound recordings in a lecture for educational purposes

You can play commercially available CDs, DVDs and tape recordings in a lecture for teaching purposes. You cannot charge an admission or entry fee. See the audio-visual (DVDs/CDs/podcasts) page for more information.

At a university event

Staff or students can perform music or play commercial sound recordings at university events such as graduations, exhibitions and open days. You can also copy commercial sound recordings to be played at university events where an entrance fee is charged not exceeding $40.

You can also make an audio or audio-visual recording of a university event which includes commercial sound recordings. The recordings of university events containing sound recordings can be sold to students (and their families) and staff members on a cost recovery basis only.

In student work

Students can copy commercial sound recordings into the work they produce as part of their course of study. For example a student may wish to include a commercial sound recording as part of a sound track to a film they produce as part of their course. The work created can be distributed to university staff or students and their families for private listening or viewing.

When copying sound recordings you must have a notice and labelling attached containing full details of the title, composer, lyricist, arranger, artist/group and record company.

Limitations on using music

Commercial use of music

Music must be used for educational purposes and not for commercial purposes under the collective music licence. This means no entry fee can be charged for university events which make use of music unless a separate licence has been arranged.

Performing or recording music in theatrical productions

A separate licence is required to perform or make recordings of performances of musical theatre productions. If students or staff wish to perform musical theatre pieces (e.g. Cats) or operas they will need to obtain permission from the publisher or copyright owner. A separate licence from APRA is also required to perform music in a dramatic context.

Copying sheet music

Sheet music is covered by s.113P of the Copyright Act and you can therefore copy a limited amount for educational purposes. See the texts page for more information.