WHAT IS ONLINE TABLATURE?

Online tablature is a kind of notation which is usually used to denote fingerings for fretted instruments such as guitar, banjo and ukulele. Tablature indicates the strings of the instrument and uses numbers to indicate where the fingers should be placed along the fret board on each string. Tablature doesn’t indicate the pitch of a note, just where it should sit on the instrument. Many websites exist where tablature is uploaded either by the website proprietors, by website users or by both. 

WHAT ARE ONLINE CHORD CHARTS?

Chord charts are usually a box indicating where the fingers should be placed on the fret board, as well as a letter denoting the chord name. While tablature usually denotes a melody line, chord charts indicate the harmonic structure in the work and are used mainly for the musician to replicate a strumming pattern. A chord chart will usually involve associated lyrics to allow the user to determine when they should change their finger pattern, or chord.

WHAT DOES ‘ASSOCIATED LYRICS’ MEAN?

Associated lyrics are written together with the tablature and chord charts. Many online tablature and chord chart websites will make available the tablature and/or chord chart for a work and include the lyrics alongside.

WHAT KIND OF RIGHTS IS APRA AMCOS SEEKING?

APRA AMCOS is seeking an extension to our print rights mandate. This will allow us to license the reproduction and communication of copyright works, and associated lyrics on online tablature and chord chart websites. 

WILL AMCOS REPRESENT THE TABLATURE AND CHORD CHART RIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY OR NON-EXCLUSIVELY?

APRA AMCOS is seeking a licence to represent these rights on a non-exclusive basis. You may still enter into direct deals with the online tablature and chord chart licensees yourself if you wish.

WHAT LICENSING ACTIVITIES WILL BE COVERED?

The licensing deal APRA AMCOS will pursue will be limited to online tablature and chord chart providers such as websites, apps and streaming services. The use of the tablature, chord charts and associated lyrics would include search, display, download and synchronisation to streaming.

HOW MANY LICENSEES WILL THERE BE UNDER THIS AGREEMENT?

There are a large number of online tablature and chord chart providers who will require licensing in this territory.

HOW WILL IT BE DECIDED ON WHICH POTENTIAL LICENSEES TO PURSUE?

Management will raise potential licensees with the AMCOS Board. Only once the AMCOS Board approves each potential licensee will licence negotiations commence.

WHAT IF MY PARENT COMPANY OR SUB-PUBLISHER ALREADY HAS AN ONLINE TABLATURE OR CHORD CHART LICENCE WITH ONE OF THESE SERVICES?

Overseas parent companies or companies that you sub-publish may have existing deals with online tablature or chord chart operators. These deals do not necessarily cover all repertoire represented by the local publisher.

APRA AMCOS will negotiate deals covering all repertoire other than what is already licensed. This way:

  • Existing deals will carry on without interruption.
  • Works not covered by existing deals will be picked-up.
WHEN CAN REVENUE BE EXPECTED TO GENERATE FROM THIS LICENCE?

APRA AMCOS is aiming to open negotiations with these websites without delay. Payments will then follow through subject to AMCOS’ distribution practices and any necessary approvals.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BE INCLUDED IN ONLINE TABLATURE AND CHORD CHART LICENSING?

Please send a pre-populated response via the link provided in our email indicating your intention to opt in to AMCOS’s tablature and chord chart licensing scheme. 

Closing date and further information

We ask you to notify us as soon as possible your intention to opt in, and no later than COB Friday 29 May 2015. 

Gillian Dunn | Deputy Director Publisher Services | (02) 9935 7755 | gdunn@apra.com.au

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