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4 July 2019

Facing the music...

Are you playing music in your business? Do you need a licence?

Whether you are streaming a Spotify playlist in a café, playing a CD in the reception area of an office, or blasting the radio on a building site; your business needs permission from the music creator to use their music and a licence to play music in public.

Playing music or the radio in a business or public setting is a ‘public performance’.  Without a licence you could be contravening the Copyright Act 1994.

A recent High Court decision (Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd v 3228 Business Ltd) reminds business owners to reassess their legal rights to play music.  In this case a restaurant in Kerikeri was found in breach of copyright for not having a licence to play music.  The High Court ordered the restaurant to pay more than $22,000 in damages.  The Court awarded additional damages because the restaurant was notified of the breach by the Australian Performing Right Association (APRA) multiple times but ignored the requests to obtain a licence.

Business owners should identify whether they have a right to use music (as these are third party intellectual property rights) in their business.  Ignorance could expose a business to unnecessary legal action and financial risk.

To talk to us about any business related issues, please contact a member of our Commercial team.

Rebecca Mao

About Rebecca Mao

Rebecca joined Saunders Robinson Brown in 2016. She is a member of our Commercial Team.

View all posts by Rebecca Mao