Important changes to the licensing of music in a dramatic context from 1 July 2017

Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017

You may be aware that APRA AMCOS and its membership of songwriters, composers and music publishers is currently reviewing the scope of APRA AMCOS' agency to license performances of music in a dramatic context.

The intention of the review is to deliver a licensing process that is less burdensome for all parties.

Definition of music in a dramatic context

It is likely that the current definition of dramatic context will be revised so that the overall context of a performance will be taken into account, rather than the strict application of the current criteria. This new definition will be more consistent with definitions used in other major territories. This will mean that if a performance has been classified in, for example, the UK as not being dramatic context, it will likely be regarded the same in Australia and New Zealand. The proposed change to the definition will also mean that there will be performances that do not currently fall within the dramatic context definition that in future, may fall within the dramatic context definition - and be licensed as such.

What happens next?

APRA AMCOS is still in the early stages of consultation with members, overseas affiliates, and licensee bodies including Live Performance Australia on these proposed changes, to become effective 1 July 2017.

The purpose of this news piece is to put current clients on notice that performances of APRA works in a dramatic context after 1 July 2017 are likely to be categorised under different criteria than those currently used.

We will inform the marketplace of the precise changes as soon as they become available.

What happens to the performances you have scheduled after 1 July 2017 that are licensed under the current definitions?

For performances of musical works that are scheduled to take place after 1 July 2017, where the works are performed in a theatrical setting, or where the performance contains narrative elements (such as biopics of particular artists or eras), you should contact APRA AMCOS regarding your music licensing as soon as possible.

We are aware that some performances have already been scheduled to take place after 1 July 2017 on the belief that they will not require a dramatic context licence, but for which a licence has not yet been obtained.

As a gesture of good faith, APRA AMCOS is willing to license those productions under the current definition, provided that the performances take place before 31 December 2017 and satisfactory evidence is given to APRA AMCOS that the performances were booked before 20 December 2016 and the performances cannot be cancelled without incurring a financial loss.

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