APRA AMCOS - Provides licences covering the copyright in the song (lyrics, composition etc) and represents the interests of composers and publishers
PPCA - Provides licences covering the recording and/or music video of the song (a particular recorded performance), and represents the interests of recording artists and record labels.
When a business wants to broadcast, communicate or publicly perform your recording, they usually require two licences – one from APRA AMCOS and one from PPCA or each copyright owner (usually the record company).
If you perform on recordings you should register with PPCA. If you write songs you should register with APRA. As there are two separate rights (one for the song / composition and a separate one for the sound recording) if you are both a songwriter AND a recording artist you can and should register with both organisations, in order to access both income streams.
Instead of going through PPCA, direct licensing means an individual or business seeking a license goes directly to the owner of the copyright and negotiates terms of the license. As a result of the ACCC’s re-authorisation of PPCA’s activities in 2007 a requirement was introduced obliging each PPCA licensor, large and small, to develop its own policy on direct licensing. All PPCA licensors must develop directly licensing policies and make them available to the public.
There is a free sample guideline available from the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law). PPCA has arranged for Arts Law to independently develop a sample guideline and provide basic legal advice on the guidelines free of charge. Alternatively licensors can develop their own guidelines and may wish to approach their lawyer to assist them.
The Arts Law free sample guidelines and an information sheet about direct licensing for public performance and transmission rights is available online, so visit their website at www.artslaw.com.au and follow the links to the direct licensing information. Once your policy is completed, please provide PPCA with a copy.
PPCA was founded in 1969 by the major record companies. The current shareholders are Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music and Warner Music. These companies hold shares but are not entitled to any dividends.
The board of PPCA is currently made up of eight directors comprised of the nominated representatives of the three shareholders, three directors representing registered artists (including an artist manager) and two representing the non-shareholding licensors.
All eligible PPCA licensors and registered artists are able to participate in regular elections to determine their board representatives.
The day to day management of PPCA is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer who is appointed by the Board.
PPCA established the PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation for the purpose of encouraging the performing arts. The Trust makes grants for such purposes as:
- Prizes for music examinations
- Music workshops and seminars
- Encouragement of music and the performing arts
For further information, see the PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation.
At the end of each financial year, PPCA undertakes the process of calculating the amount available to be distributed to licensors and registered Australian artists (after the deduction of administration costs). This process takes some months and these amounts are distributed in December of each year. The funds available for distribution are allocated on a track-by-track basis and distributed in one of two ways:
- For Australian recordings, after the deduction of 2.5% for allocation to grants for charitable, educational and similar purposes (e.g., PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation), the balance is shared between registered artists and the relevant label. Featured artists who register can access their share of 50% of the income allocated to each track. Should an artist (or artists) fail to register, their share - together with the 50% label share - goes directly to the relevant label.
- For all other recordings (i.e., recordings that do not feature an Australian recording artist(s)), the net funds payable in respect of the relevant track are sent to the controlling record label for distribution to artists in accordance with their individual record company agreements.
The Code was an initiative of PPCA and other major Australian collecting societies, and it was developed with the support of the Federal Government. It aims to promote awareness of copyright and collecting societies, to set service standards for our dealings with copyright holders and licensees, and to ensure that accessible and fair procedures are available for the handling of complaints and the resolution of disputes.
The Code reflects the standards of service PPCA offers in its dealings with copyright holders and licensees. In particular:
- We aim to be fair, honest, courteous and transparent;
- We make available information about the benefits of and responsibilities involved in obtaining a PPCA licence, and generally about the types of licences we offer to users of sound recordings and music videos; and
- We maintain a Complaints Handling and Dispute Resolution Policy, which explains how we will handle any complaints about our standards of service.
As the number of licensors had grown considerably over recent years, in 2005 the PPCA board and shareholders moved to broaden board representation and provide an opportunity for increased participation by that group.
As a result, since 2006, the PPCA board has included an elected licensor representative. In 2014, the PPCA Board and shareholders made a further change, extending the Board to include two Licensor Directors.
Licensor Directors are appointed on the following terms:
- The Licensor Director must be (and remain during their term) a Managing Director or equivalent of a Financial Licensor, AND an Australian citizen or resident for tax purposes who has not been found liable for copyright infringement or admitted to such an infringement for at least five years prior to the date of the nomination;
- A ‘Financial Licensor’ is a PPCA licensor (excluding a shareholder) that has been allocated at least $1,000 in the most recently completed PPCA distribution, excluding amounts available for payment to featured Australian artists under the Artist Direct Distribution Scheme;
- The term of the appointment will be two years (commencing 1 July), and will be determined by an annual election;
- At each election one Licensee representative will be appointed (ie. staggered two-year terms to ensure the Board always includes an elected Licensor representative with at least one year’s experience at Board level); and
- Each Financial Licensor (excluding shareholders) will be entitled to nominate a candidate from the pool of Financial Licensors, and then lodge a vote for their preferred nominee.
Nomination forms are issued to licensors on or around April 1 each year. All nominees are offered the opportunity to provide biographical details, and the list of participating nominees, together with the data provided is available on our website. Ballot papers are then issued to all Financial Licensors.
Be part of the process – lodge a nomination and don’t forget to vote for your board representatives!
To help protect copyright in your recordings, please see the PPCA Guide to the Proper Use of the P Notice.