Search this website:
Home Copyright Owners Copyright Users Library NZ Copyright Links Membership Intellectual Property Site Map
Case Studies
News Items
Information Sheets
Related Links
Glossary of Terms
  Home . Content Library . Case Studies . Copyright music issues for business owners

Copyright music issues for business owners


I’m a business owner. What copyright issues do I need to be aware of if I want to play recorded music on my premises?
Any business that plays music to enhance its customers’ experience, including restaurants, bars, clubs, shops and gyms, should be aware of its copyright responsibilities.

There are at least two copyrights in any music or video recording. One is for the composer or songwriter, and this is administered by Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). The other is for the recording artist and the owner of the sound recording (which is often a record label), and this is administered by Recorded Music NZ.

OneMusic is a joint initiative between APRA and Recorded Music NZ. Combining the membership and repertoire of each organisation, OneMusic provides efficient blanket music licences to music users, providing legal access to use music in all its forms.

What is a Public Performance?
A public performance is the playing in public of music or a sound recording, or the exhibition of a music video in public (i.e. a non-domestic environment). Just because a performance is given for free, or the audience is small, or there is no admission fee, or the performance is confined to members of a club, or a limited area, it does not mean it is not a public performance.ic

What is the legal position?
Copyright exists in the original music and sound recording regardless of the physical form in which it is issued - i.e. whether as a record, compact disc, cassette, tape, DVD, VCD, MP3 or otherwise. The Copyright Act of New Zealand 1994 protects music and sound recordings against unauthorised copying, public performance and broadcasting. The public performance and broadcasting rights are assigned to APRA and Recorded Music NZ by their respective members and these organisations protect and exercise these rights on their member’s behalf.

I have already purchased my CDs – why do I have to pay again?
The possession of sound recordings does not carry any automatic right to use them publicly. The record industry's primary business is to produce and sell recordings for private domestic use. Any further use in public can only be authorised where it is not detrimental to the industry and to those who contribute to the production of sound recordings, such as artists and musicians.

I already pay a licenced music supplier. Doesn’t this cover my licence obligations?
Companies which provide commercial music installations & services to businesses (CSPs) are licensed only for the reproduction and supply of that music. Their fees do not cover or authorise the public performance of the music on the premises. Obtaining a licence for the public performance is the responsibility of the premises. This needs to be obtained directly with OneMusic.

Do I need a licence to cover live performance?
Yes. Live performance royalties are collected by OneMusic.

What are the penalties for not being copyright compliant?
The Copyright Act 1994 provides for a maximum $150,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment for breaches of the law. Penalties may vary depending on the type and circumstances of the offending.

For more information
OneMusic - or call 0800 800 663 or email
Recorded Music NZ –

< back to previous page
Home | Copyright in New Zealand | Owners | Users | Links | Intellectual Property | Membership | Site Map