Copyright (with APRA)

Copyright-  (thanks to APRA for this)

Copyright is the means by which creators such as composers and songwriters make a living from their work. The law gives copyright owners a number of exclusive rights to control how and when their work is used, and to negotiate payment for this use.

Collecting societies such as APRA and AMCOS administer a certain number of these rights on behalf of their members. We exist because it is often impossible or impractical to license the copyright on an individual basis. By acting as a link between the users and creators of copyright material, we provide a simple means of helping users comply with their copyright obligations and ensuring copyright owners (songwriters, composers and publishers) are paid for the use of their work.


APRA and AMCOS each administer different aspects of the copyright that exists in the musical work:

The Performing Right

APRA administers the Performing Right and the Communication Right. These come into play whenever music is performed, broadcast or communicated.

The Mechanical Right

AMCOS administers the Mechanical Right, also known as the Reproduction Right. This exists whenever the musical work is reproduced. A type of reproduction is for instance ‘Synchronisation’, where the reproduction of the music involves ‘synching’ it to image.

Some music uses involve both the Performing and Reproduction Right, for example downloading a ringtone or MP3 music file, where the song is ‘communicated’ to the music user, as well as ‘reproduced’ onto their MP3 device. Both rights can apply to the musical work if it is used in a television programme – where the producer of the programme will need to obtain a synchronisation licence from AMCOS for using the work within the programme, and the TV broadcaster will be licensed by APRA for its broadcast, or ‘communication’ of the musical work.

Note that if a songwriter or composer has entered into a relationship with a publisher, then the publisher will own a percentage of the musical work and thus be entitled to receive royalties from the use of the works.

It is important to remember that these rights also exist in the sound recording. PPNZ administers the licensing and collection of performing and mechanical royalties in the sound recording, while APRA and AMCOS administer the licensing and collection of royalties in the musical work.