The Law

The Law

When you buy music, you buy the rights to use that music in a domestic setting - at home, in your car, and at your private parties. 

As soon as music is taken out of a domestic context and played in a business or other public setting, this is a considered a 'public performance' under the Copyright Act (1994), and you require permission from the people that created the music you use. The act clearly establishes public performance rights, protecting the rights of music creators and enabling them to earn a living from their art. The Copyright Act also outlines the penalties for anyone in breach of the act. You can access the Copyright Act (1994) here.

Who can verify that I need a music licence?

Most councils, Citizens Advice Bureaus and industry trade organisations are familiar with the requirement to hold a music licence when using music in a business. The following organisations also host information regarding music licensing on their websites.

                       

What is a Public Performance?

A public performance is the playing of music in a business, commercial environment, or any other non-domestic setting. In these settings, even if a performance is given for free, the audience is small or you are playing music to the members of a club or society, this does not exclude it from being a public performance under the Copyright Act.

What happens if I don't hold a licence?

To be fair to the businesses that hold a OneMusic licence, and to the music creators who own the music being played, OneMusic runs a compliance programme. This involves visiting businesses to confirm whether they play our members’ music and if so, follow up to ensure an appropriate licence is taken out. Our licensing team provides those using music with all the information they need and are happy to talk through any issues or questions. If a business using our members’ music simply refuses to hold the appropriate licence, legal proceedings are issued to reach a resolution.

Where can I get independent advice?

Most industry associations, councils, citizens advice bureaus and business associations are aware of Copyright law and the requirement to hold a licence when using music in a business setting. For specific advice regarding how copyright law applies to your business we would recommend speaking with a lawyer.