Skip to Main Content

Performing in public

This section is addressed to all members of the University community, both students and staff. If you perform, or organise events, or hire out University facilities for public performances, you need to be aware of the copyright issues.

What is performing in public?

One of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner of literary, dramatic or musical works is to perform the work in public. The corresponding right for owners of films is to cause the film to be seen or heard in public. For owners of sound recordings, it is to cause the recording to be heard in public. There is no corresponding right for owners of broadcast signals.

The consequence of this public performance right is that you have to obtain permission from the copyright owners, and pay a licence fee, for public performances of copyright works, sound recordings, or films. This is the case even if you do not charge an entry fee.

Is a Classroom considered 'in public'?

Unfortunately, as a private university, TUA is not able to take advantage of the exception offered to most educational institutions under section 28 of the Copyright Act, which deems performance ‘in class’ not to be a performance in public, so long as the audience is limited to those taking part in the instruction (i.e. University staff and students only - no parents or other guests). This exception is only available to not-for-profit institutions.

This means that TUA staff and students cannot play any musical recordings or sound recordings, or show any films or videos in class without the permission of the copyright owner or having the relevant licence in place. Contact the Copyright Officer if you need assistance in seeking permissions.

Students putting together presentations or short films are strongly encouraged to only use music and other resources available for use under a ‘free to use’ licence, e.g. Creative Commons.