AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND – copyright concerns

Publishers of choral music really want to be of excellent service to all choirs everywhere – while being honest and accountable to their composers. Composers expect to be compensated for every person performing their creations and they truly deserve it. On the other hand, most choirs have budget constraints – so publishers are cognizant of the wider picture.

“Do you come from the land down-under, where women glow and men plunder?” Hey, don’t blame the Canucks! – a very popular Australian band wrote the lyrics!”  “PLUNDER!” – ha ha ha! – quite apropos in this case.

Short fiction
: A choir goes on tour. The bus stops at an ice-cream shop; the choir director and four chaperones disembark, walk into the shop, and purchase ice-cream cones. Then they tell the vendor to provide all the singers on the bus with an ice-cream cone because “We have One-Cone-Licensing; 5 free ice creams for each item purchased”. The ice-cream vendor chokes and exclaims “What the Halifax!?!” (that’s a place in Canada)

Short non-fiction: A short while back a choir from Australia ordered 12 copies of a Cypress Choral Music publication. Upon investigation, Cypress discovered that the choir had over 60 singers.  The choir director said that she was a member of OneMusicLicensing – giving her choir permission to make 5 copies of each item.

Cypress replied, “Our choral sheet music clearly states that making photocopies of copyrighted material is not legal. Copies purchased must correlate with the number of individuals in the choir – including the conductor and the piano player.” The choir graciously changed the order to 60 copies – much to our relief.

This wasn’t the first time we had experienced this arguement.  Please read the definitions of APRA, AMCOS and PPCA below.

The dilemma was recently discussed by executives at JW Pepper, Hal Leonard, Fred Bock Music Groups, Pavane Publishing, Cypress Choral Music, Musical Resources, and Banks Music Publications (all major players in the choral music publishing service).

As one prominent publisher put it, “This is a misuse of the fair use clause which permits a portion of a copyright to be used for educational purposes.  That does not grant a user the right to duplicate an entire piece.  I’m not sure who should be the advocate that informs OneMusicLicensing, but they are assisting their constituents in flagrant copyright abuse.”

A choir director from New Zealand did some research and wrote this; “I’ve just spoken with an executive at the NZ Choral Federation. Things have changed and the “old” arrangement with APRA no longer applies.”

In short, dear choral comrade, a choir needs to buy a copy for each member of the team.


This information is offered with respect and empathy to all choral advocates,

Dr. Larry Nickel
Dr. Larry Nickel;  CEO, editor
1702- 1408 Strathmore Mews
Vancouver, B.C., V6Z 3A9

our motto: “Choral music – truth wrapped in beauty.  We sing community into existence and peace into the turmoil.”

APRA AMCOS is the trading name of APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) and AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society). PPCA (Recorded Master) is about audio. APRA AMCOS grants licences for the live performance, broadcast, communication, public playing and reproduction of its members’ musical works. APRA AMCOS then distributes the net licence fees collected to over 100,000 songwriters, composers and music publisher members and affiliated societies worldwide. None of these organizations are Print Right companies.