MUSIC COPYRIGHT (SYNCHRONISATION RIGHTS)
If you have used, or plan to use, music that is not your own (and that you have not already obtained permission to use), you will need to seek synchronisation rights. Synchronisation rights refer to the right to use a piece of music as soundtrack with visual images. It is the right to use music in timed relations with other visual elements in a film, video, television show, commercial, or other audio visual production. This licensing will be done directly by the copyright holders, rather than by a central organisation.
Two kinds of copyright can be involved:
- The copyright on the musical composition. This copyright is connected to the writer(s) of the music and is usually administered by a publishing company (in other words, you will usually be dealing with a publisher rather than with composers/songwriters themselves). Rights attached to musical compositions are often referred to as the publishing rights.
- The copyright on the sound recording (if an existing sound recording is being used). This copyright is connected to the recording artist(s) and is usually administered by the record company that releases the recording. Rights connected with sound recordings are often referred to as the master rights.
There are usually contacts in Australia, even if the music is not Australian. Any decisions about fees or any other aspect of the project will need to be negotiated between you and the copyright holder.
There is no central listing of copyright owners, but there are various ways to look for the information. If you have enquiries about specific pieces of music, you may use the research facility provided by APRA AMCOS. You can find this on the APRA AMCOS website.
OTHER ORGANISATIONS AND RESOURCES
Australian Copyright Council for information on copyright law
Arts Law Centre of Australia for information on laws affecting all areas of the arts
Copyright Agency for information on literary copyright
Screenrights for information on copyright of audiovisual content
Viscopy for information on copyright of visual images
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) for information on copyright of sound recordings
Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for information about record companies and available sound recordings
APRA AMCOS for further information about the work of APRA AMCOS