It may seem ridiculous, but there’s an extra cost involved in playing music you’ve already purchased, especially if you choose to do so in a public place like a hotel or bar. Even if you’ve already legally purchased a physical CD, or downloaded music legally from sites such as iTunes, you will legally require a PPCA public performance licence to play protected sound recordings and an APRA public performance licence to play the musical and literary works.
If you don’t have the licence, you may be fined. For each offence, individuals can legally be fined up to $60,500 and given up to five years’ imprisonment. Companies playing recorded music without the requisite licence can face fines of more than $300,000.
Also, police may issue an on-the-spot fine and seize pirated music in certain circumstances. How that could be enforced in reality is anyone’s guess – especially since a person is legally entitled to burn a copy for personal use, or to use music on their MP3 player, and, by extension, play that music at their venue, assuming they have the correct licensing arrangement.
Complying public performance licence requirements
Let’s look at how you can properly comply with the law, and ensure you avoid legal worries when it comes to playing recorded music at your public venue.
A PPCA public performance licence will allow your venue to play as much music as you want, assuming, of course, that the recorded music you play is covered by that licence. If you want to take every precaution possible to ensure you’re acting within the law, research into which labels and recordings are covered should be available online. However, paying the PPCA public performance licence fee should be enough of a reasonable step to protect you in most instances.
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