[LINK] Some Data On Performing Rights

Chris Gilbey chris at perceptric.com
Thu Nov 27 07:44:44 AEDT 2008

I started a new thread on this since it is a bit off the topic of the iiNet

Btw this is obviously not a definitive overview of performing rights. There
is a lot more out there to consider, but here are some of the practical

First live venues:
Venues pay a licensing fee to APRA. This includes shops and restaurants like
the place you buy sandwiches that has the radio on, or Woolies that plays
canned music. It includes discos where there is music played by a DJ and it
includes pubs where there is a juke box or a live band.

There is a formula for the calculation of what the license fee is for a
particular venue, not sure what that is, but if it is important I can find
out. (By the way in full disclosure, I served as a publisher director of
APRA for about 6 or 7 years).

So while a performer may play at a venue and may even hypothetically promote
his or her own concert and take money at the door, it is really the venue¹s
responsibility to pay APRA. There is an exception to this, which is in the
case of so-called Grand Rights. These are the rights associated with musical
literary/works as defined in the Act which include Opera and Musicals (but
strictly speaking musicals where the first performance of the song was as
part of the performance of a full libretto rather than where songs have been
coupled subsequent to their first release to form part of a ³musical². In
this case there is a gate fee that is payable by the producers of the
musical which is a percentage of the ticket price. I am not sure what
happens with major pop/rock concerts. I think that the venues normally
strike a deal with promoters where the promoters assume the responsibility
of paying APRA. 

Movie theatres also pay a percentage of their gate fee, I believe. I am a
bit hazy about that one.

Private householders do not pay because they are not in control of a public
space. So if you put your TV in the back yard and show a movie that the
neighbours can see, or have a band playing at a party, or you have an
outdoor party with music, it is still not considered to be a ³public²
performance. So no fee is due.

The way it works with radio and TV is that they pay a percentage of their
advertising revenues to APRA for the use of music.

The Internet is in a kind of grey area. While on the one hand there is a lot
of music disseminated via the Internet, the point of consumption is
generally in the home, so strictly speaking there is no public performance.
However there is a reproduction of the music that takes place along the way,
and that falls into the realms of AMCOS (representing the Copyright Owners).
There is definitely an obligation to pay here. The problem to date appears
to be the cost benefit of collecting and remitting.

So the next issue is how the money gets apportioned.

The big money that comes in is from radio and TV. There are logs that are
remitted by the radio stations that show the music played, including
advertising jingles, station id¹s etc. Jingles and station id¹s are valued
at a lower level than records. Same applies in TV where jingles are paid at
a lower level than music in a soap etc. However, music inside films and
soaps etc are a real doozy of complexity in terms of the distribution of the
funds. Music that is in the foreground is paid at a higher level to music in
the background and music that is part of the main title theme is at a
different level again.

The funds that come from venues is a very small part of the pie. The one
obligation that performers have is to fill in a log of the songs that they
have performed during their performance and to submit it to APRA. And by the
way, APRA also sends monitors to pretty much every big concert to ensure
that they get correct logs of the performances.

There are anomalies along the way, such as ³Music On Hold². Music that is
played over the phone while you are waiting is strangely enough considered
to be a public performance and so has to be paid for.

Hopefully this helps cover some of the questions...


Chris Gilbey

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