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STM Studio Supplies by Professionals for Professionals

Unit 3, 33 Lower Gibbes St, Chatswood, NSW 2067 T: 02 9417 3000 F: 02 9417 3111 E: sales@stmstudiosupplies.com


Congratulations! You have set up your studio; floors perfect, barres brand new, mirrors sparkling, and you are ready to fling open the doors to realise your dream! But have you thought about the music you need to teach your classes and perform your pieces?

This is not simply an exercise in buying CD’s or downloading music, or if you are lucky enough, organizing a pianist. Preparation for opening day will also include investigating copyright laws and regulations in regard to the music content of your business.
We have set out below some basic information to ensure that you have the knowledge required with links to the specific bodies you will need to contact.

Dance and Performance Schools tend to use music in two main ways, performance and class music. As a studio owner/manager, the music you play to accompany your teaching, music used for performances & competitions, even music played in the waiting room is subject to copyright laws and requires some form of licence.

Most recordings have two areas of concern for copyright;

  1. The copyright in the song (lyrics, composition etc.) – licences available from APRA;

  2. The copyright in the recording and/or music video of the song (a particular recorded performance) – 'blanket' licences available from us, or individual licences available from the copyright holders - licences available from PPCA

In Australia & New Zealand, there are 3 entities that package, licence and disperse funds to composers, songwriters, performers and publishers. These licences safeguard the rights of the artists by ensuring that they receive a fair return for their work. Each entity looks after a different area of licencing so it is important to know who does what, how it affects you, and how to go about applying for a licence.

APRA - The Australasian Performing Right Association – this entity collects and distributes

licence fees for the public performance and communication of their members' musical works. http://www.apraamcos.com.au/MusicConsumers/MusicinBusiness/DanceSchools.aspx

AMCOS - The Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society – this entity collects and distributes mechanical royalties for the reproduction of their members' musical works.
A mechanical license is a license that grants certain limited permissions to work with, study, improve upon, reinterpret, re-record (etc.) something that is neither a free/open-source item nor in the public domain.

PPCA – The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited – this entity grants licences for the broadcast, communication or public playing of Australian recorded music or music videos


Generally, copyright in music and lyrics lasts for the life of the author or creator, plus 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the author dies. If the work was not published, broadcast, performed or records of the work had not been offered or exposed for sale to the public until after the creator’s death, copyright will last for 70 years from the end of the calendar year of first publication, broadcast, performance or when records of the work were offered or exposed for sale to the public.

  • Print music translations, arrangements and published editions: Where music is arranged or lyrics are translated, there is likely to be a separate copyright in the arrangement or translation. Copyright in these will last for 70 years after the end of the calendar year in which the translator or arranger dies.

  • Published editions: Another copyright exists in what is known as the published edition. Published edition copyright protects a publisher’s investment in the typesetting and typographical arrangement of the music and lyrics. Copyright in published editions lasts for 25 years after the date of publication. This copyright may still subsist even when the copyright in the music and lyrics have expired.


What are the consequences for infringements of copyright?

Penalties for copyright infringement range from injunctions, damages and costs through to fines of up to $60,500 for individuals and up to $302,500 for corporations for each infringement and/or up-to 5 years imprisonment per offence. Police can also issue on-the-spot fines of $1320 per offence and seize any pirate product.

Our thanks to the good people at APRA/AMCOS & the PPCA for permission to include links and distribute this information

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