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Are you committing copyright infringement when playing music?

26 July 2018

With music licences costing as little as $1 per staff member each year, it’s a wonder that any agency would risk committing copyright infringement.

Although many New South Wales real estate agencies are correctly licensed for their music use, according to music rights management organisation APRA AMCOS[1], a minority exist who are not.

Targeting copyright

To protect real estate agencies from potential legal action, APRA AMCOS is launching a campaign targeting the industry for copyright music use.

The campaign will assess whether real estate agents are using copyright music and ensure correct licences are in place.
Integral part of business

Real estate is no different to other industries in which music is an integral part of business. 

Agents use music in offices, at social events and awards ceremonies, via telephone systems and in promotional videos.[2] 

It is important to ensure your agency has the correct licence in place, so you can continue to use the music for the benefit of your vendors, buyers and staff.


What is copyright?

Copyright protects the expression of an idea. It is granted to the creator of the idea and gives them exclusive rights to the use of the work. In Australia, copyright protection is automatic – work is protected once it is put in material form.

Who owns a piece of music?

The composer, lyricist, artist (performer) and recording company (or maker) can all own copyright.

Is it ok to use music if I am not making money from it?

No. You cannot use, copy or distribute music without the permission of the copyright owners. 

What penalties could I face for copyright infringement?

The Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act outline severe penalties for copyright infringement. You may face injunction, be ordered to pay damages and even face imprisonment. 

Want more?

1. APRA AMCOS stands for the Australasian Performing Rights Association Limited and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited, respectively.

2. Using music as a backing track in promotional videos may not be covered by all licences and is subject to clearances direct with the music publisher. Please check with your provider.