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Copyright Guidelines

UniSA copyright guidelines


The right to make a work available to the public is one of the exclusive rights of copyright owners of literary, dramatic and musical works. A work is deemed to have been made available to the public when it is:

  • Published;
  • Performed, seen or heard in public; or
  • Broadcast—or otherwise communicated—to the public.

This means that just about every situation that is not private and domestic is considered public. Permission is generally required for any public performance; a fee may also be payable, regardless of whether a fee is charged for the public performance.

Film screenings

Screening of films—other than as part of a course of instruction—is generally considered to be a public performance.

Under the Copyright Act, the University is only permitted to show films on its campuses if all the following criteria are met:

  • The audience is limited to currently enrolled UniSA students
  • The film is shown in class, in connection with a particular course of instruction
  • The film is not screened for profit.

To screen a film for any other purpose (e.g. at a UniSA Open Day, or if you are providing instruction for profit), you will need to do one of the following:

  • Seek permission from the copyright owner for your intended use.
  • Purchase a copy licensed for non-theatrical use. This may involve a fee depending on how many people will view the film and how many times it will be played.

The following organisations licence films and documentaries for non-theatrical use:

  • Amalgamated Movies rents films from Sony Pictures (including Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures) and Madman Entertainment.
  • The Ronin Films catalogue includes Australian documentaries, a selection of feature films of educational interest, and high quality documentaries from other countries—especially from independent filmmakers in the USA. Copies need to be purchased.
  • The National Film and Sound Archive has a catalogue of over 19,000 titles (mainly in 16mm, VHS and DVD format) which can be borrowed by educational, cultural, social and religious institutions, as well as community groups, churches, film societies, government bodies, hospitals, libraries, museums and galleries.
  • Roadshow Public Performance Licensing (PPL) is Australia's largest non-theatrical distributor, representing many of the leading Hollywood studios in addition to international and local independent studios and distributors of film for use outside the cinema and home.

Using music

UniSA is signatory to a commercial music licence, which covers rights that are controlled by the Australian Music Collecting Societies, APRA/AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA. The licence permits the University to use music in certain ways without seeking separate licences or permissions each time. There are no limits on how much of a work may be copied—only the circumstances in which music may be copied or performed.

Search the APRA/AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA websites for musical works and licensors covered by the Tertiary Music Licence repertoire.

Music Licence definitions.

Live music and sound recordings: permitted uses

  • Perform live music and sound recordings at University events which are organised and authorised by UniSA, on- or off-campus. Ticket price for the event must not exceed $40 (plus GST).
  • Perform live music and sound recordings at ticketed graduation ceremonies which are organised and authorised by UniSA, on- or off-campus. 
  • Perform live music and sound recordings at events which are organised and authorised by UniSA, on- or off-campus, for University purposes. This includes educational services, showcasing student work and in-house research, and engagement with the University community, but not promotional use.
  • Play music on University music-on-hold systems.
  • Play music in the workplace for the benefit of employees (e.g. in staff rooms, staff tea rooms, and at staff-only events such as Christmas parties).
  • Play or perform music for educational purposes (e.g. analysis or review, or student performances, as part of course requirements). Excludes recording or performing Grand Right (e.g. ballets, operettas), Dramatic (e.g. plays), or choral works.
  • Play or perform music in University spaces and businesses which are 100% owned and operated by UniSA. This includes retail spaces, dining spaces, student areas, administration areas, art spaces, and health centres, but not the University's gyms, as they are open to the public.
  • Supply recordings made for educational or University purposes to students, staff and their immediate families, either at no cost or at a price that is for reasonable cost recovery only.

Videos containing music: permitted uses

Videos of graduation ceremonies

  • Stream online for up to 30 days after the graduation ceremony date. (After 30 days, videos must only be available via a password-protected University platform.)
  • Supply in a physical format (e.g. DVD) to the University community, charging a fee only for cost-recovery purposes.
  • Store on a password-protected University platform (e.g. a learning management system).

Videos that capture sound recordings in context

These are recordings in which music is incidentally captured.

  • For AMCOS works, provide access as a stream on University social media channels and University websites. 
  • For ARIA works, provide access on University websites.
  • Supply in a physical format (e.g. DVD) to the University community, charging a fee only for cost-recovery purposes.
  • Store on a password-protected University platform (e.g. a learning management system).

Videos that use sound recordings in post-production

These are recordings to which music is added in post-production.

  • Supply in a physical format (e.g. DVD) to the University community, charging a fee only for cost-recovery purposes.
  • Store on a password-protected University platform (e.g. a learning management system).
  • Note: Videos using sound recordings added in post-production are not permitted to be shared online.

Videos that capture live performances of music

These must not include any sound recordings, either in the recorded footage or added in post-production.

  • Provide streaming access via University webpages.
  • Provide streaming access via University social media channels 
  • Supply in a physical format (e.g. DVD) to the University community, charging a fee only for cost-recovery purposes.
  • Store on a password-protected University platform (e.g. a learning management system).

What am I not permitted to do under the Music Licence?

  • Adapt, arrange, alter, debase, remix or undertake any other action which prejudices the integrity of any musical work or sound recording, or make an audio or audio-visual recording of—or synchronise—such an adaption. 
  • Broadcast any musical work or sound recording.
  • Communicate any musical work or sound recording on any online platform other than:
    • a University website; or
    • a password-protected University platform for which the University has control over the content and which is not publicly available.
  • Copy print (sheet) music.
  • Copy and communicate musical works not covered by the Music Collecting Societies' repertoire. 
  • Include any advertising or promotional material on any recording other than relevant University names, University brands and University logos.
  • Make available for download any audio or audio-visual recordings.
  • Perform music where the University's premises have been let to a third party for hire or otherwise. Third parties include staff members and students, unless the venue has been hired for a University activity.
  • Perform or play music at a University event for which the ticket price exceeds $40 (plus GST).
  • Perform or play music in public.
  • Reproduce cinematographic films or videos, including music videos. You may be able to do this under the Educational Licence.
  • Record or perform Grand Right (e.g. ballets, operettas), Dramatic (e.g. plays), or choral works.
  • Reproduce, communicate or perform infringing copies (e.g. copies which have been downloaded or obtained illegally and are in breach of copyright).
  • Reproduce, download, forward or otherwise convey a musical work or sound recording via the internet.
  • Stream a graduation ceremony online for more than 30 days from the date of the ceremony.
  • Substitute lyrics with alternative words, or perform the music and associated lyrics as a form of parody or satire.

Prescribed notice: labelling requirements

If you provide students with either teaching materials or recordings of University events containing excerpts of copyright music, the teaching resource/recording or its packaging must carry the following Notice:

This recording has been made by the University of South Australia under the express terms of an educational licence between it, ARIA, AMCOS, APRA and PPCA and may only be used as authorized by the University of South Australia pursuant to the terms of that licence.

The following information must also be included:

  • The title of each musical work.
  • The composer, lyricist and arranger of the musical work.
  • For ARIA sound recordings, the artist/group name, and the record company label.

Your questions answered

Are film screenings covered by the Tertiary Music Agreement?

Under the agreement, the music that forms the soundtrack to the film is treated in the same way as a performance of a sound recording. Therefore, as long as the University is able to secure a licence to screen the film then the Music Agreement will cover the University for the public performance of the music contained in that film, provided that the event is within the terms of the agreement (i.e. it is a University event that is free or has a ticket price not exceeding $40 plus GST).

What do I do if the ticket price for our event is more than $40 (plus GST)? 

Such events require additional licensing from OneMusic Australia. Contact OneMusic Australia at least two weeks before the event, to ensure you can get a licence in time.

Why can’t we put videos containing sound recordings on our official social media channels, but we can put them on our University website?

ARIA has a limited mandate on behalf of their members to provide Universities with synchronisation rights, and this is one of the limitations of their mandate. This means we can only share commercial sound recordings on our University website and only if those sound recordings are captured in-context.

How do I get permission to use a video containing a sound recording on our University social media channel? Is this the same process as getting permission to use a sound recording added in post-production instead of captured in-context?

 You need to seek further permission directly from the rights holder (usually the record label) to obtain the requisite rights. ARIA can help you identify who to contact to obtain permission.

Note: obtaining the required permissions can take time and will attract an additional licence fee. Make sure you leave plenty of lead time to seek the permission.

What does "organised and authorised" mean, and what do I have to do for events at our venues which are run by third parties?

"Organised and authorised" means that the University takes responsibility for the event. The event is for a University purpose and for the University community.

If you use a third-party event-planning team to organise an event for the University, the University still needs to take responsibility for the organisation and authorisation of the event for it to be able to rely on the licence. Any events promoted or managed by a third party are not covered by the Music Licence. 

If a third party hires a University space to run their own event (i.e. UniSA is just providing the venue), then this event is not organised and authorised by the University for a University purpose, and is not covered by the Music Licence. In this scenario, the third-party needs to seek the appropriate licenses from OneMusic Australia.

Other ways to use music

Copying sheet music for inclusion in an examination paper

Under Section 200(1) of the Copyright Act, you may copy up to the whole of a piece of sheet music for inclusion in an examination paper. For more information about copying for exams, please refer to Course Materials.

Performing music in class

Section 28 of the Copyright Act allows UniSA staff and students to perform or play musical works or sound recordings in class, provided that:

  • only a legitimately-purchased recording of the music is used,
  • the performance forms part of the class, and
  • the performance is restricted to students enrolled in that class.

If you wish to make a recording of the performance, you may do so only as permitted under the University's Music Licence.

Copying sheet music for teaching purposes

Under the University's Educational Licence, you may copy limited amounts of printed sheet music for inclusion in course readings, or to hand out to students in class. As a general rule, you may copy within the following limits:

  • Printed sheet music: 10% of the number of pages.
  • Sheet music published in electronic form: 10% of the number of bars.

Making a single copy by hand

Under Section 200(1)(a) of the Copyright Act, you may make a single copy by hand of up to the whole of a piece of sheet music, for use in class. You must not subsequently reproduce the hand copy, either by photocopying or any other means.

Research and study

Staff and students may copy limited amounts of print (sheet) music for their research or study. For more information, please refer to Getting Started.