Tuesday, 7 August 2012
We spoke with APRA|AMCOS Writer Services Representatives to find out the top five most frequently asked questions members have about APRA|AMCOS.
1. Can APRA|AMCOS copyright songs?
No - APRA|AMCOS doesn’t need to because copyright is free and automatic in Australia.
As soon as an artist writes a song down on paper, saves it digitally as an MP3 or records it onto disk such as a CD or DVD, the song is automatically protected under copyright law.
For more detailed information on copyright in Australia, read the 'Music & Copyright' fact sheet on the Australian Copyright Council’s website here.
2. If APRA|AMCOS doesn’t copyright songs, what does it do?
APRA|AMCOS is a ‘collecting society.’ It tracks where, when and how music is used by organisations and collects payments from these organisations as a result of them using music in the course of their business. These payments are then distributed by APRA|AMCOS to its members as royalties.
APRA stands for the Australasian Performing Right Association. APRA collects fees from businesses and organisations that use music in public. This can include live performances, radio or television broadcasts, music played in pubs and clubs or even music used while you are on hold on the telephone.
AMCOS looks after ‘mechanical rights’ for songwriters. Mechanical royalties are legally payable when your music is reproduced in some way. AMCOS collects fees and distributes payments to AMCOS members for the use of their work in reproductions such as music videos, DVDs, production music for radio and television programs, the sale of mobile phone ringtones and the manufacture of CDs.
Both APRA and AMCOS exist for songwriters and are free to join.
3. What information do I need to provide to APRA|AMCOS as a member?
Members of APRA|AMCOS need to register their songs, provide administrative details and up-to-date bank details to ensure they are paid when their songs are played, performed or reproduced in public.
4. How do I change the ownership percentage split of a co-written song?
Sometimes songs are written by a few different people. The ownership of this song is therefore shared. However, the proportion that each co-writer owns of each song needs to be decided and agreed upon before the song is registered with APRA.
The song’s ownership should not need to be changed (even if a band member leaves) unless the song itself has changed significantly since it was first registered.
On the rare occasion that a song needs its ownership details changed, each co-writer must agree on the percentage division of ownership and then provide written signed documentation of this to APRA.
5. What are ISRCs and how can I get them?
ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. A unique code is embedded into a sound recording on a CD or an iTunes track, so that it can be easily tracked and identified.
APRA|AMCOS does not allocate or administer ISRCs.
ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) is responsible for ISRCs in Australia.
To get an ISRC, or to find out more about ISRCs, visit www.aria.com.au/pages/isrc.htm.
Answers to more frequently asked questions can be found on the Music Creators section of the APRA|AMCOS website.
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