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Copyright and Internet Radio

Internet radio providers (more popularly known as webcasters) like traditional broadcast media providers must ensure that they are abiding by the Copyright Act 1968. Webcasters are responsible for ensuring that they have licences in place that allow them to legally exploit songwriters and composers musical works.

Webcasting of music involves, in most instances, the exploitation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights under the Copyright Act, being the reproduction and communication of their musical works. The reproduction right is the right to make a copy of the work such as using clips of music in broadcasts over the internet. The communication right includes the right to make music accessible over the internet.

The Australiasian Performing Right Association (‘APRA’) and the Australiasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society (‘AMCOS’) (which is administered by APRA) collectively administer the reproduction and communication rights on behalf of the majority of Australian and overseas copyright owners. Licence fees are paid to APRA and AMCOS by the webcaster. The licence fees are then paid as royalties to APRA’s and AMCOS’s members.

APRA is responsible for licensing the communication right and AMCOS is responsible for licensing the reproduction right. APRA and AMCOS effectively remove the need for webcasters to directly approach each artist for their permission to broadcast their work.

APRA has reciprocal collection arrangements for performers and composers with a number of other countries under the umbrella of the Societies of Authors and Composers (‘CISAC’). As a result, APRA is also responsible for collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of the members of other societies around the world.

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