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Education Licence C: APRA Licence

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APRA Licence for the Public Performance and Communication of Musical Works by Schools

The Australasian Performing Right Association ( APRA ) is a non-profit organisation of composers, authors and music publishers, which administers the public performance, communication rights on behalf of its members.

See 1.11: Statutory and Voluntary Licences for further information on Collecting Societies

Copyright owners have exclusive rights over the public performance of their work which includes the:

All public performances of copyright musical works by schools - ie performances outside the classroom - require a licence.  This includes performances at concerts, speech nights, fetes, Christmas carol nights, and at other venues outside the school premises such as shopping malls, town halls etc.  The APRA Licence grants each participating school a licence to perform in public any work within the APRA repertoire.

Most government and non-government schools are covered by the APRA Licence.


Schools include all government primary and secondary schools and most non-government primary and secondary schools.

Dramatic context   means in conjunction with acting, costumes, scenic accessories, and scripted dialogue or other dramatic effects, or as a ballet.

Grand Right Work   means an operetta, musical play, revue or pantomime to the extent that it consists of musical works and associated lyrics written espressly for it.

Choral work means a work written to be sung by a choir or other group of singers, with or without any instrumental accompaniment.

What does the APRA Licence cover?

The APRA Licence covers the public performance rights in music and accompanying lyrics.  Under the APRA licence, a school and its students may perform musical works at the school or at a function connected with the school's activities.

The performances may be given:

The following uses of music are covered by the APRA licence:

  • School concerts and performance evenings (choirs, singing groups, school bands, orchestra or rock bands); school sports days; dance and fitness classes; school formals and dances.
  • School award nights or graduations; school performances at music festivals, including music eisteddfods and the NSW Schools Spectacular or equivalent events in other States and Territories.
  • Use of music on hold.
  • Playing films to students which contain music where that school has a Co-Curricular Licence (including films containing the performance of entire Grand Right Works and Choral Works of more than 20 minutes in duration)
  • Performances by professional musicians
  • Performance of musical works in a dramatic context by:
    • primary schools
    • secondary schools, only if no fee is charged and the performance is not publicised beyond the school community (see ''Performances requiring APRA's prior approval') 
  • Performance of a Grand Rights Work, provided the work is not performed in its entirety
  • Performance of a Choral Work of less than 20 minutes duration.

Admission Fees

Schools can charge admission fees for performances under the APRA Licence provided the majority of the proceeds made go back to the school or to a charity. 

Performances requiring APRA's prior approval

A secondary school must seek APRA's written approval, which must not be unreasonably withheld, if it wishes to perform a musical work in a dramatic context, charge an admission fee and advertise or promote the performance outside the school community (students, teachers, staff and parents of the school).

What does the APRA licence not cover?

  • Performance of a Grand Right Work in its entirety (unless performed in a film played under the Co-Curricular Licence)
  • Rock Eisteddfod Challenge
  • Performance of a Choral Work of more than 20 mins duration (unless performed in a film played under the Co-Curricular Licence)
  • Performances produced by a third party not associated or connected with the school, unless APRA's prior written approval has been obtained
  • Performances where admission fees are charged and the majority of the proceeds do not go back to the school or a charity
  • Transmission of a performance beyond the school.

See 2.3: Musical Works for further information

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