Performing music & teaching

Musical works - uses for educational purposes allowed under the Copyright Act

Under the Copyright Act you can perform all or part of a musical work in a class, as long as only University of Sydney staff and students are present, but you cannot record the performance.

Musical works – uses for educational purposes permitted under the Music Licence

Provided the musical works are included in the societies’ repertoires, the Music Licence allows University staff and students to:

  • perform music for educational purposes including performances for assessment and examination purposes
  • perform musical works at University events
  • make audio or video recordings of performances and University events
  • play sound recordings in class for educational purposes and at University events

What is a University Event?

An event at the University, or some other venue, organised or authorised by the University including live musical performances by students or staff.
This definition includes graduations, open days or exhibition openings as long as an admission fee is not charged.

The Music Licence does not cover the following types of events:

  • box office events where an entry fee is charged
  • occasions when University premises are hired to external organisations or individuals
  • occasions when University premises are hired to students
  • performances or use of sound recordings by student clubs or societies including the University of Sydney Union

These groups would need to obtain licences from APRA and PPCA to play or perform music and play recordings. For more information, see Obtaining licences for public performances.

Performances excluded from the Music Licence

The Music Licence does not include performing or making of a video or audio recording of performances of the following types works:

  • Grand Right Works or excerpts from these works such as operas, operettas, musical plays, ballets, reviews or pantomimes
  • dramatic context musical works such as the use of music in a play
  • music and associated words composed for a ballet if accompanied by a visual representation of that ballet
  • choral works of more than 20 minutes duration in its entirety
  • any music and associated words which parody the work
  • new or substituted lyrics or any lyrics which APRA has prohibited.

For more information on performances outside the scope of the Music Licence see Performances outside the Music Licence.

Recording University events and performances

Apart from the exclusions listed above, the Music Licence allows University staff and students to make video recordings of the following events:

  • performances of works from the societies’ repertoires as part of a course of study
  • University events at which music from the societies’ repertoires has been performed or sound recordings played
  • copies must be made the following approved formats - videocassette (VDS or Betamax), DVD Recordable, CD Recordable and formats suitable for loading on IT system drives
  • copies can be distributed to staff, students and their immediate family for private and domestic purposes. The recordings must be supplied free of charge or on a cost-recovery basis
  • recordings or their packaging must carry the Music Licence Notice as well as a Contents List of the individual works included in the recording
  • no advertising or promotional material can be included on any recording made under the Music Licence