Music Copyright by Steve Wille from CEFM
In music there are 2 sets of copyright
- One to the composer/writer of the music governed by the Performing Right Society known as PRS
- One to the Singer/maker of records, tapes or CDs (pre-recorded music) governed by the Phonographic Performance Ltd known as PPL
The licenses held by your school are for the Public Performance of music. This is essentially singing or playing of pre-recorded music out loud.
Some activities covered by these 2 licenses are:
- Discos/end of term parties
- Carol concerts
- Concerts (NOT INCLUDING MUSICALS)
- Playing a radio/tape/CD player
- School fetes (where music is being played)
- Dance/Aerobics classes
- Telephone systems' music on hold
Some activities that are NOT covered by these 2 licenses are:
- Plays or Musicals i.e. Pirates Of The Curry Bean, Oliver, The Rocky Monster Show, Grease, Shakespeare Rocks!, Wind in the Willows are owned by individual publishing houses like Musicline, Out of the Ark, Really Useful Company etc., and schools will need to contact them directly and negotiate a fee under what is called "Grand Rights"
Some activities that could be covered with additional licensing:
- Recording music i.e. recording a carol concert and giving away or selling copies
- School radio station
- Music on website or intranet
- Non-school or 3rd parties hiring the school's premises
The public performance of Films for entertainment requires a Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL).
The licence allows the unlimited public performance of films purchased or rented films from legitimate UK outlets. This means under the licence you could show films owned by students/staff or even rented from video renting shops.
This licence only allows the showing of films to students and staff of the school. Parents are not members of the school even if their children are pupils there.
PVSL represents film distributors and allows the showing of any films from their repertoire.
The following is a current list of film distributors involved in the PVSL but it is worth regularly checking on www.cefn.co.uk as more distributors are still joining.
- Warner Bros
- Sony Pictures
- Universal Pictures
- Entertainment Film Distributors
- Buena Vista International (Disney, Pixar)
- United Artists
- Optimum Releasing
- Granada Rank Catalogue
- 20th Century Fox
The licence allows the showing of films within schools as:
- End of term treats.
- Wet weather alternative.
- Before and after school clubs.
- Film Clubs.
- General screenings to entertain students.
The licence does NOT allow:
- Charging for viewing of the film.
- Allowing anyone but students and staff (or adults in a supervisory role) to watch the film e.g. parents or siblings of pupils or children not from the licensed school.
- The showing of any DVD or video cassette that is not a film from the participating film distributors e.g. Television programmes that have come onto general release.
If you wish to show films for fundraising or for people that are not part of the licensed premises you can obtain a "Single Title licence" direct from Filmbank on 0207 984 5923.
Legal Background to Copyright licences operated by CEFM
All use of music or films on schools' premises constitutes public performance but certain activities are exempt under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) section 34.
Performing, playing or showing work in the course of activities of educational establishment
- (1) The performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work before an audience consisting of teachers and pupils at an educational establishment and other persons directly connected with the activities of the establishment:
- (a) by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the establishment, or
- (b) at the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction, is not a public performance for the purposes of infringement of copyright.
Charging is never an issue
Contrary to popular belief the fee for the use of copyrighted material is NOT negated by the fact that the audience does not pay for listening/viewing of the music or film.
Overview of public performance
When you purchase a CD, DVD or digital file, you purchase a certain amount of copyright with it and that is the right to listen or watch them in your own domestic circle. When you take this into a school and allow a group of people/students to watch/listen to the recording, then this is a public performance. Pupils at a school are members of the public outside of the exemption above.
CEFM operate a helpline service for schools offering guidance on all music and film copyright issues. Please contact us if you require any guidance on the scope and coverage of the three licensing schemes we manage.
PRS Helpline 01494 473014 or email email@example.com
PPL Helpline 01494 836233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PVSL Helpline 01494 836231 or email email@example.com
A helpful guide to copyright can be found at www.licensing-copyright.org and provides a good overview of licensing requirements