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The 2011 AMPAL Event in Melbourne - AMPAL Presents BEHIND THE MUSIC

Ben O'Hara - Tuesday, May 10, 2011




May 23rd, AMPAL (the Australian Music Publisher's Association) will be hosting a panel and music night at the Evelyn Hotel on Brunswick St, Fitzroy. The aim of the night is to provide local musicians, songwriters and music enthusiasts with some insight into the future of music through an expert panel discussion, made up of musicians and industry players. The panel will be answering questions and musing about the changing state of the music industry. If you are an aspiring musician wanting to get a break, or a hopeful industry professional seeking inside information you can't miss this exclusive event.


Panelists include Adalita (of Magic Dirt fame), Ian James (Mushroom Music Publishing), David Vodicka (Media Arts Lawyers/Rubber Records), Natalie Bell (Milefire Management), and Marianna Annas (ABC Music Publishing).


Adalita, currently touring nationally with her debut self-titled album, will be performing exclusively at the end of the evening's panel.


Tickets available from, $10 presale, $12 at the door. Seating is very limited. Book now.

How to: Copyright Symbol

Mark Beard - Friday, December 03, 2010

How to use the Copyright Symbol in music

The symbols © and (P)

The © symbol that you may find on most CDs is not required by the Australian Copyright Act for copyright protection to be applied. It simply serves as a warning to others that the work is copyright-protected.

The symbol ( P) is required by the Rome Convention to indicate the owner of the copyright in the sound recording. (the ‘p’ stands for ‘phonograph’, an old word for a sound recording). So what is the most acceptable way in which to use these symbols?

ARIA, the Australian Record Industry Association, suggests the following standards; however, on close inspection of CD covers you will see that a variety of applications are used. The use of these symbols on many records is purely the result of guesswork.
As a guide, ARIA suggests that the owners of the copyright in the music and lyrics be identified with the symbol © .

This will usually be the songwriter(s) who wrote the music and lyrics or the current owner of the copyright (such as a music publisher) if the original owner(s) have assigned or licensed the works to the new owner or controller of the copyright.
ARIA suggests the (P) appears with the name of the owner of the sound recording followed by the year that the sound recording was first published.


The owner of the copyright in the sound recording will generally be the person who paid for the sound recording.

Down Under vs Kookaburra

Info Info - Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Down Under vs Kookaburra

There has been a lot of discussion in recent months around the ‘Down Under’ vs ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’ case.  See: for the latest.


As the parties are back in court this week, I thought it timely to conduct a closer inspection of what is happening in this case.


It really comes do to an example of the significant portion rule.


Substantial portion

An infringement is seen to have taken place when a ‘substantial portion’ of the copyright-protected work is being used without the permission of the copyright owner or the payment of the correct royalty. So what exactly is a ‘substantial portion’?


It can be a question of quality and or quantity.  The question turns to the particular essence or quality of the part that is taken, not how many words or how much of the melody of the original work are used.  A snippet of a song (like ‘Kookaburra’) can still be an infringement


There is no hard and fast rule — it is different in every case. Generally, however, if the part of the copyright-protected music that you are using is recognisable as having come from somewhere else, you will need to obtain permission or pay a royalty — or provide a defence as to why you did not.


û    I can use any music I want, as long as I change a note or two.

û    I can use up to 13 seconds of a song without gaining permission.

û    As long as I’m not making a profit from using a song, I can use any part of it I want.

û    I didn’t know the part of the song I was using was ‘recognisable’, so I didn’t need to get permission.

û    I’ll just use it. No-one will ever know.



In the current case the authors of ‘Down Under’ are saying that the reference to Kookaburra is an insignificant portion.  It is important to note that their defence did not include a suggestion that there were no similarities between ‘Down Under’ and Kookaburra.  The last phrase of the flute riff in ‘Down Under’ is exactly the same as the opening melody line in Kookaburra.  The court agrees with this assessment and it is now up to the courts to decide what that substantial portion is worth in dollar terms.


Watch this space for a discussion of the courts ruling.

The PPCA and increased gym class fees: The PPCA and its fees explained

Ben O'Hara - Friday, May 28, 2010

In recent weeks there has been a lot of discussion regarding the copyright tribunal’s decision to massively increase the fees paid by gyms to the PPCA for the right to play recorded music. It is perhaps a good opportunity to consider the role of the PPCA and the fees that they collect.


Performance and broadcast royalties (sound recording)

In much the same way that royalties are payable for the use of copyright-protected materials such as music and lyrics, they are also payable to the owners of the copyright in the sound recording. Radio stations, television networks and other users of music need to pay the owners of the copyright in the sound recording for the use of the sounds embodied in the master recording.


In fact, most users of music are required to pay both fees.


It can get quite expensive exploiting music written by others. It is a good thing that music is such a powerful force influencing what people buy, where they shop and even what kind of lifestyle they choose to have. Just remember that every time you hear music, it is being exploited for some purpose and the users must therefore compensate the copyright owners. Songwriters, performers and the owners of the sound recording must be able to profit considering the high risk and cost of making the recordings in the first place.


The owner of the copyright in the sound recording is generally the record company — remember, they paid for it, and have the right to collect income generated by the its use. This is a point of contention with many artists. The artist Prince, for example, was so horrified to learn that his old record company, Warner Bros, was making money from his master recordings that he went back into the studio and rerecorded many of his hits — the same as the original, note for note — so that he could own the sound recordings and license their uses.


Artists, however, should get paid a portion of the public performance and broadcast royalties generated by the use of their master recordings


The role of the PPCA

The record companies are, of course, busy being record companies rather than collection societies. The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) is a private company whose shareholders are the major record companies and whose members are Australia’s major and independent record companies. In order to become a member of the PPCA, you must be the owner of copyright in sound recordings or music videos in Australia. Anyone who owns these can and should be a member of the PPCA.



The PPCA collected $11.9 million in revenue in 2004, of which $8.9 million was distributed to its members.

Calculating performance and broadcast royalties (sound recordings)

The PPCA calculates its licence fees using a variety of methods. Visit the PPCA’s website at for a detailed list of current fees.


Below are a few examples:


As with APRA, the PPCA are constantly reviewing and updating their licence fees, the figures below should only be used as a guide.

  • Jukeboxes: Annual fee of $97.90 per machine.

  • General licences:  Annual fee of $107.80 to cover the use of protected sound recordings at:

    open-air events (including carnivals, fêtes, garden parties and similar events)

    school or church concerts

    dance academy concerts

    motivational speaking events.

  • Single event licence/permit: Annual fee of $46.86 per event (dependent upon usage and audience).

  • Cinemas (including drive-ins and outdoor screens): Annual fee of $222.75 per screen.

  • Nightclubs, fixed discotheques and discotheque promoters: Where protected sound recordings are used as musical entertainment, which includes breaks in live performances, the fee is calculated at $0.0726 (i.e. 7.26 cents) per person per night of operation. The minimum annual fee is $125.40.

  • Concert venues: Where protected sound recordings are used as a means of entertaining patrons, including breaks in live performances, the fee is calculated at $2.64 per event (i.e. number of days/nights of operation) for each 1000 people (or part thereof, up to the next 1000) for the room or venue’s capacity. The minimum fee is $46.86.

  • Radio and television: Broadcasters pay a licence fee of about 0.025% of the station’s gross income.


Music in gym classes are just another example of this fee.  A couple of years ago exactly the same thing happened with the PPCA increasing fees for night clubs. 


You can be certain that as record company income continues to fall, the PPCA will continue to look for other areas where they can generate more revenue.  The record companies successfully hide behind the PPCA even though much of the profits of the company eventually find there way back to the record companies coffers.


My prediction…in the next 12 months we will see another massive in increase in fees for a different type of recorded music user. 


Watch this space.

The Biz to support 2010 AMPAL Industry Forum

Ben O'Hara - Monday, May 10, 2010


For immediate release: 21 April 2010 

The Backstage Pass is a forum evening for young people interested in developing careers in the music industry. An expert panel will feature Ian James (Mushroom Music Publishing), Rae Harvey (Crucial Music), Tim Janes (Shock Records), Charlie Thorpe (Dash & Will) and Catherine Gerard (AMPAL). The evening will begin from 8pm at The Toff in Town on Tuesday, 18 May. Entry is $15 through MoshTix and at the door until sold out.

All young people interested in developing careers within the music industry are invited to a forum night featuring an array of industry panellists from all sectors of 'the biz'. The Backstage Pass information night, is presented by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) and organised by the Music Industry Business Office (MiBO

The Toff in Town will play host to The Backstage Pass on Tuesday May 18th with the evening’s proceedings beginning from 8pm. The expert panellists include Ian James (Mushroom Publishing), Rae Harvey (Crucial Music), Tim Janes (Shock), Charlie Thorpe (Dash & Will) and Catherine Gerrard (AMPAL).

Ian James
has been with Mushroom Music Publishing for over 22 years however has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. In this time Ian has also worked as a Licensing Manager at APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association). Being the Deputy Chairman of APRA and Chairman of AMCOS, he has been closely involved in setting new standards in the music industry. Some of the tasks he entails are: collecting royalties from record labels, television licences, and the most important new revenue, digital downloads.

Rae Harvey
began as a show promoter at the age of 18 when she coordinated 9 bands to play at a party for her birthday. Though only 50 people were invited, a crowd of over 600 showed up. She was soon organising and promoting shows at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne. In 1996 Harvey established her own management company, Crucial Music and became the long term manager of the successful Australian band, The Living End. Harvey has worked with bands Bodyjar, NoFX, Blink 182, Lagwagon and Millencolin. After a breakup scare with The Living End, Harvey began to manage other Australian bands including Children Collide and Gyroscope. Harvey is considered an expert in her field, focusing on managing and preparing tours.

Tim Janes
is the marketing manager of Shock Records. Shock is Australia's leading independent record distributor and music exporter. This involves licensing, marketing and distributing CDs from over 100 international record labels within Australia as well as commercial releases of its Australian artists in overseas markets.  Prior to his work with Shock, Janes started his career in the Melbourne street press magazines Beat and Inpress before moving onto Shock in the late 90s as Local Product Manager.

Charlie Thorpe
, also known as ‘Dash’ one half of the Australian Pop duo, Dash & Will have been performing from a very young age, first performing with ‘Will’ at the age of twelve. The two have performed at many festivals such as: Falls Festival, Push Over, Southbound, Homebake and the prestigious South by South West in Austin, Texas. Dash & Will have also supported such acts as The Kooks, The Ting Tings, The Futureheads, Ben Lee and Van She. The Duo’s first single, " Pick You Up ", was released in May 2008. Their debut album ‘Up in Something’ was released in August 2009.

Catherine Gerrard
is the Executive Director, of publishing and copyright at All Music Publishing and Distribution, also known as AMPD. In her role at AMPD, Catherine has worked with such artists as Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Silverchair. She has also worked with many catalogues such as Mushroom, Albert Music and Native Tongue. Prior to being at AMPD, Catherine worked in a senior management position at AMEB federal office. Catherine is also the director of AMCOS, the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Association and the chairperson of AMPAL, the Australasian Music Publishers’Association.

Entry into the evening is $15 with tickets available from MoshTix and at the door, until sold out. People interested in attending are encouraged to submit their questions for the panellists prior to the event by emailing

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