Publishing and APRA AMCOS – how does it work?

How we process royalties for publishers

Publisher members register their publishing deals with us
STEP 2: We update our ownership records to credit you as the publisher for all songs/compositions you represent
STEP 3: We distribute a share of the royalties generated to the appropriate publishers. Usually this is 100% of mechanical right royalties and 50% of performing right royalties. Please note: These percentages do not include what you have agreed to on-pay to the writer from the royalties you receive. 

The rights in music copyright – what publishers need to know

According to copyright law, a songwriter or composer who creates an original piece of music owns all the rights to it. 

As a publisher, you are required to pay your writers a percentage of the royalties you receive, for each of the following rights:

  • Performance and Communication to the public

This refers to music communicated or performed publicly e.g. on radio, television, online, live in pubs, clubs and concerts. APRA licenses these rights. So publishing contracts signed by APRA writer members should state that the writer’s assignment of rights to the publisher is subject to their agreement with APRA.

  • Mechanical/Reproduction rights

When songs and compositions are copied by a record label to sell via CD, DVD, online etc, they must pay a licence fee to AMCOS.

  • Print

This refers to selling and reproducing sheet music of songs and compositions.

  • Synchronisation

To synchronise music with a visual image, the film or television production company needs to obtain a licence. This is one reason why publishers are so attractive to songwriters and composers – publishers promote their music to film and TV production companies.

  • Covers

When an artist, other than your writer, records and releases one of your writer’s compositions.

  • Sundry

This refers to all other miscellaneous uses of your writer’s work e.g. printing the lyrics of a song on a t-shirt.

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