Copyright is free and automatic

That's right - you don’t have to do anything to ‘get’ copyright; it is there from the moment you write down the song. So as soon as you create a new song or piece of music, you have copyright in it. 

Here are some common misconceptions about what's needed to copyright your songs and compositions:

Myth: You need to register your songs with APRA AMCOS for copyright

Fact: Copyright law protects your songs as soon as you’ve recorded them in some way. So if you've written them down, recorded them onto a CD or mp3, they are protected, even if they’re not registered with APRA AMCOS. 

Myth: Creators need to have a copyright notice © on their work for it to be protected by copyright law.

Fact: The copyright notice © only shows who owns the song, not whether or not it is copyright. If the song has been recorded somehow it is protected by copyright even without the © mark.

Myth:  You need to mail your songs to yourself for copyright.

Fact: Sending yourself a recording of your song in the post doesn’t prove who wrote the song and it can’t be used as evidence in an ownership dispute. It only provides evidence that a song existed at the time it was mailed.

 Copyright law enables creators to make a living from their work. 

The Australian Copyright Act gives songwriters and composers the right to control how their music is used. So whenever music is played in public, the songwriter or composer who wrote it might be entitled to royalties. This is where APRA AMCOS can help you.

We look after the performing, communication and mechanical copyright of songwriters, composers and music publishers in Australia. We act as a link between those who create and own this copyright material, and those who want to use it.

What is a performing right?

Songwriters and composers own the right to have their original music performed in public. So they control the right to:

·  play their songs/compositions live at a venue or an event

·  play a recording of their songs/compositions in a business, venue or workplace

·  have their songs/compositions used in a film or advertisement

What is a communication right?

Songwriters and composers own the right to have their original music communicated to the public. So they control the right to:

·  have their song/composition broadcast by television and radio stations

·  have their song communicated to the public online

·  have their song used via an on-hold telephone system 

What is a mechanical right?

Songwriters and composers own the right to have their songs and compositions reproduced or copied. So they control the right to:

·  have their music used for a film’s soundtrack

·  have their music copied onto a CD, DVD or reproduced online for sale 

·  have their lyrics and music reproduced as sheet music

If you write and own songs that are performed, broadcast or recorded in some way AND you join APRA AMCOS, we can: 

  • Give permission for your music to be used commercially by radio and TV stations, film makers, record companies, advertisements, websites, ringtones, pubs, clubs, restaurants, schools, TAFEs, universities and at festivals and concerts.
  • Collect payments from these businesses for using your music
  • Pay you the royalties you are due
Join us now!

Digital Content Guide - helping music makers get paid

The Digital Content Guide is a new website that helps consumers find music, movies and other creative content, from licensed sources in Australia. This in turn, supports the songwriters, artists and labels that created this content. And makes sure they can continue to make music fans love. The website directs users to licensed online entertainment services including TV and movies, music, eBooks, games and sport. The service is free and is available for desktop and portable devices.

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APRA AMCOS has joined ARIA, the Australian Screen Association, Copyright Agency Ltd, Foxtel, News Corp Australia and Village Roadshow in funding the new site. The guide is an important tool to help consumers make an educated choice when they look for creative content online. The aim is to offer an easy alternative to illegal methods of downloading and streaming which denies creators their rightful revenue. 

Looking for more info on copyright?

Read our FAQs on copyright here

Or check out these organisations:

APRA AMCOS vs. PPCA – what’s the difference?

While APRA AMCOS administers the copyright of songs and compositions, the PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited) administers the ‘sound recording’ copyrights of music for record companies and their recording artists.

Take the song ‘Friday On My Mind’ by The Easybeats as an example. Harry Vanda and George Young wrote ‘Friday On My Mind’ in 1966. However, in 2008, Ben Lee released a cover version of the song ‘Friday On My Mind,’ as part of a tribute album. So we collected royalties for Harry Vanda and George Young because they wrote the song, while the PPCA collected royalties for Ben Lee’s record label because they released the recording.

For more information on the PPCA visit

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Important changes to uploading and registering jingles

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Songwriter Speaks with Milan Ring and 18YOMAN

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Here you'll find details on a whole bunch of events to help you on your way - songwriting competitions, music marketing workshops, professional development events and more!

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