Policies & Procedures

Operating policies for selling commercial music from composer to customer, online

Rights as a musician in Australia - The main legal issues are copyright and moral rights. This applies to me as a composer and musician and sound engineer. Other categories are:

  • singer

  • songwriter

  • DJ

  • producer

 

Copyright for musicians - Copyright is about important rights - Musicians have three:

 

1. Reproduction rights allow a musician to record songs on a CD, for a film, or to put music on the internet.

2. Performance and communication rights to:

  • broadcast music on TV or radio

  • play a song live or in a recorded form

  • put your music on the internet

 

Performance and communication rights are important if a radio station wants to broadcast my music, or if I want to do a live cover of someone else’s song.

 

But these do not apply to the Blue Bee Theme Music business model.

The music is sent directly from the composer to the customer without streaming.

 

3. Adaptation rights -  Adaptation rights are used when someone re-writes a song so that the tune is played with different instruments, or, when someone else changes a song by adding new parts.

Other people need the composer’s permission or license to do these things. Copyright protects original work and allows the composer to get money for their work. Every piece of music is protected by copyright, and can be broken down into three important parts:

  • copyright in the music itself

  • copyright in the lyrics of a song

  • copyright in any sound recording of the music.

 

Moral rights for musicians are personal rights that connect the creator of a work to their work. As the composer of music or writer of the lyrics of a song, the moral right must:

  • be acknowledged by mentioning the composer’s name with the work

  • stop anyone else from being named as the creator of the composer’s work

  • protect yourself as composer if your music or song is treated in any way that hurts your reputation.

 

Contracts

Whether you are a composer, songwriter or performing musician, contracts can help to protect you, and your work.

 

Before publishing music, or recording songs, make sure that all contracts are in writing. Two common contracts used by musicians are:

  • Music publishing contracts are used when someone wants to make your music available to be played by others, such as a recording or a live concert.

  • Recording contracts are used when musicians or songwriters want to record their work with a record company. When someone talks about ‘a record deal’, this is the contract they are talking about.

 

Music sampling is about using a part of another musician’s work, such as:

  • lyrics

  • melodies

  • rhythms

  • the recording itself

 

Sampling is only legal with permission from:

  • the owner of the copyright in the music

  • the owner of the copyright in any lyrics

  • the owner of the copyright in the sound recording

 

The test of sampled work, is if it is still noticeable as the original work, even after any changes.

Digital music and piracy Making your work available on the internet has a negative side - internet piracy.  

Someone may download and use that work without asking. This is illegal.

Many people believe they can use materials available online in any way. This is not true.

Permission of the copyright owner to use material protected by copyright must be gained.

On the internet there are ways to protect works such as using low-quality recordings.

Music collecting societies and royalties Music collecting societies look after and manage the copyright of musicians for published uses.

For example, if you want to sample someone else’s song in your music, you first ask permission from a collecting society.

If you register yourself with a collecting society, they will monitor your copyright and give permission to people who want to pay money to use your songs.

These are called royalties.

Australia has two main collecting societies for musicians:

Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA)

If you have registered your songs with APRA and someone wants to play your songs live, they must ask APRA for permission.

 

APRA will charge them a fee and will pay you part of that fee.

At the outset, Blue Bee Theme Music does not require membership.

But when and if the business model changes, then APRA and AMCOS membership will be necessary.

This decision depends on the business being profitable under the current model.

Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) 

If you have registered your songs with AMCOS and someone wants to make their own recording of your songs, they will ask AMCOS for permission.

 

AMCOS will charge them a fee and will pay you part of that fee.

Summary  - A single piece of music can have up to three layers of copyright:

  • copyright in the music

  • copyright in the lyrics

  • copyright in the recording

  • You own copyright in the music you compose and songs you write.

  • Use the copyright notice to show that you are the owner of your work. For example: © Name Surname 2021.

  • You always have moral rights in relation to your music.

  • You own copyright, with the maker of the sound recording, in the sound recording of any song you record.

  • No one should use your work without your permission or license. If you give permission for someone to use your work, you can ask for payment.

  • Collecting societies can help you to manage musical copyrights and collect royalties.

  • Before sampling someone else’s music or using it in a recording, you must get their permission.

  • Be aware of the risk of piracy when you upload your music on the internet.

Legal procedures for company growth

  • Even without owning the copyright, remember that you still have moral rights. You must be credited when your music is performed.

  • Any contract you make with music publishers and record companies should be in writing.

  • Do not sign or agree to anything you do not understand.

  • Get legal advice on any contract.