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Education Licence D: AMCOS Licence

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AMCOS Licence for the Photocopying of Printed Musical Works by Schools for Educational Purposes

The Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (AMCOS) administers the AMCOS Schools Photocopying Licence.  This licence allows hard copy copying of whole printed musical works (sheet music) by or on behalf of schools.  All government schools and most non government schools are covered by this licence.

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

Conditions of licence

All copying under the AMCOS licence must be:

Any copying of whole printed musical works outside the AMCOS licence will require permission from the copyright owner.


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

Choral Sheet  means a separately published Choral Work of less than 20 minutes duration, usually in octavo format, including a part song, madrigal, anthem or motet;

Educational purpose  includes a reproduction of a musical print work that is:

  • made for teaching purposes
  • made and used as a part of a course of study
  • made and retained in the library for use as a teaching resource
  • made by a band, choir, orchestra or instrumental ensemble of that particular school.

Grand Right Work   means an opera, operetta, musical play, musical, review or pantomime to the entent that it consists of words and music written expressly for it.

Vocal Score means a Work (other than a Choral Sheet) comprising the musical notation (and accompanying lyrics or text) of a Choral Work of more than 20 minutes' duration or any Grand Right Work with choral or vocal lines and accompaniment.

Transcribing and Transposing Music under the AMCOS Licence

The AMCOS Licence also permits the:

  • transcription of the lyrics or melody line from the score of a work
  • transposition from the score of the work.

This can be done through the use of computer programs such as Sibelius or Finale.  Copies can be made of such transcriptions or transposition up to the permitted limit of copies under the AMCOS licence.

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What the AMCOS Licence does not cover

The AMCOS licence does not cover copying:

  • for private tuition, even if it takes place on the educational institution's premises
  • for external examinations
  • into a digital format or scanning of musical works
  • of music textbooks
  • of music tutorials
  • of librettos
  • of Grand Right Works (except copies of vocal scores consisting of a maximum of three songs provided that the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work)
  • of music with changed lyrics. 

Even if the copies were originally made for a permitted purpose, they cannot then be used for the purposes listed above.

Copying Limits

How many copies can we make?

Limits apply to the:

  • amount of copying
  • types of works that can be copied

by primary and secondary schools under the AMCOS Licence.

The copying limits are linked to the number of originals of each musical work owned by the school or the teacher.

Unlike the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence, there is no requirement that the work not be commercially available.

Primary Schools

Type of musical work Permitted no. of copies per original
Separately published works 30 copies in total
Vocal score 30 copies each of a maximum of three songs from the vocal score (provided that the copies are not made or used in the rehearsal or performance of a Grand Right Work)
Choral Sheet copies in total
Music Collection 30 copies in total with a maximum of 3 from the collection
Transcription by hand of melody and/or lyrics of a song 30 copies in total
Transcription by hand of musical work into a different key
30 copies in total
Orchestral/ band set Copies of up to 30 instrumental parts
Chamber Music Work Up to the number of players, provided not more than 10 parts are copied

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