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Recording live performances

When you make a video or sound recording of a performance of a work, you are reproducing the work. This particular form of reproduction is called a ‘mechanical reproduction’ of the work and requires permission from the copyright owner. If you intend to record student compositions, you need to obtain permission from the student composers or writers.

Even if you have a licence for a live public performance of the work, the performance licence does not give you the right to make a recording.

If you want to make recordings for commercial or promotional purposes or for broadcast, you will have to obtain specific licences from the copyright owners. Most music publishers and composers license mechanical reproduction of their works through the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society (AMCOS). AMCOS shares administration with APRA. For information on obtaining a reproduction licence, go to the APRA-AMCOS website and find the section on licensing. See 5.2 Obtaining licences for public performance.

If you are interested in recording a live drama performance, you will need to obtain the permission of the copyright owner of the play directly.

Performers' rights

Australian law also gives protection to performers whose performances are captured in film, video or sound recording. A performer can consent to certain acts which would otherwise breach their moral rights, i.e. to waive their right to attribution and to waive any rights in controlling what can be done with the recording.

If you are recording a performance, it is advised to obtain permission from the performers, whether students, staff, or guest artists. The consent should detail what are the intended uses of the recording.