WHAT IS A REMIX?

Remixes are sound recordings that have been altered, edited or otherwise reworked to sound different from the original song. They typically feature some parts or samples of the original recording (even if these samples are altered in any way) together with new material composed by the remixer.

Remixes are commissioned for a number of different reasons. This may be to target a different market e.g. a club remix of a commercial release for DJs to play in nightclubs, a radio friendly remix of a club track for commercial airplay, or even as a launch tool for an up-and-coming artist.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REMIX AND A COVER?

A cover is a performance or new recording of a song that was previously written by someone else. It does not involve any significant changes to the underlying musical work. 

A remix is a new song that uses parts or samples of a previously written song. It may also contain new material composed by the remix artist.

CAN I CLAIM ROYALTIES FOR A REMIX?

You may have been given permission to create and release a remix but this does not necessarily entitle you to register the remix with APRA AMCOS and claim royalties.

It is quite common for the owner of the original song to provide permission for your remix to be commercially released so long as they retain the copyright in the remix. In this instance, the royalties for the remix will be paid to the songwriter and music publisher of the original song. 

If you wish to claim a share of royalties for your remix, you will always need to obtain the written permission from the owners of the original song. The original owners may be songwriters, music publishers or both. If permission is granted for you to claim a percentage of royalties for your remix, you should forward a copy of this permission to worksreg@apra.com.au along with your remix registration details.

WHEN CAN I REGISTER A REMIX WITH APRA AMCOS?

A remix can only be registered with APRA AMCOS after you have obtained written permission from the owners of the original song and if the remix is sufficiently original to constitute a new musical work. The original owners may be songwriters, music publishers or both.

Before registering the remix, you should ensure that all owners involved in the remix (including original songwriters, music publishers and remixers) are aware of and agree to the remix ownership details to be supplied to APRA AMCOS. If the copyright owner of the original song does not grant permission for you to claim royalties for your remix, you will not be able to register your remix with APRA AMCOS.

Once you have obtained the permission and all copyright owners agree on the ownership details, you can then register your remix with APRA AMCOS via the Music Creators login. Just tick 'Yes' when asked 'Is this work a remix?' You will be prompted to provide the original title as well as the remix title.

Please be aware that you cannot register or claim APRA AMCOS royalties for cover songs. The royalties for cover songs are paid to the original songwriter(s) and music publisher(s).

In all cases you should provide the original copyright owner(s) with details of the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) and any new performers associated with your remix so that this can be added to the existing APRA AMCOS work registration.

HOW DO I OBTAIN PERMISSION TO RELEASE A REMIX COMMERCIALLY?

You usually need to clear both of the following copyrights to commercially release a remix:

  1.        the copyright in the composition (i.e. the musical work – music and lyrics); and
  2.        the copyright in the sound recording (sometimes referred to as the master)

APRA AMCOS can help you contact the copyright owners of the musical work. These will be songwriters and/or music publishers. Simply complete our Copyright Ownership Information Request form and we will provide you with contact details.

Sound recording copyrights are usually owned by record companies/labels. To determine the sound recording copyright ownership details, please contact ARIA for more information.


HOW DOES COPYRIGHT WORK WITH REMIXES?

Copyright on remixes can get complicated. Here's a snapshot of what you need to consider:

  • Anyone can create a remix on a work at any time however, if you wish to claim a royalty on your remix or you plan to release your remix commercially, then you must always gain written permission from the original copyright owners of the composition and the sound recording.
  • Prior to commencing work on your remix you and the owner of the original song should agree on who will own copyright in the remix composition and recording (along with other key commercial terms).
  • The creation of a remix always involves the creation of a new sound recording and that sound recording will be protected by a new copyright separate to the original recording.
  • If a remix does not include additional original composition, and the song has had a previous commercial release, it may be that the making of the remix is covered by the statutory mechanical licence provisions of the Copyright Act. In this case, separate additional clearances from the owners of the musical work are not required to create the remix so long as the manufacture of the recording or any digital exploitation is licensed by the copyright owner(s) and you have obtained permission from the owner of the original sound recording(s).
  • If you have not been granted permission to claim copyright in your remix but you intend to release your own CDs, provide digital downloads or stream your remix online you should contact APRA AMCOS by emailing rbenoit@apra.co.nz to seek the necessary licences for the reproduction (and communication where applicable) of the original song.
  • If in doubt whether the statutory mechanical licence provisions apply to your remix, you should seek independent legal advice.
I’M STILL CONFUSED ABOUT COPYRIGHT AND REMIXES

If you need clarity, please contact us or read this New Zealand Copyright Council Guide. 

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