The Law

Music in your business is different to listening to music at home. The change in scenery means a change in the rights.

When you play or purchase music, the rights to use that music are for a domestic setting - at home, in your car, and at your private parties. 

As soon as music is taken out of a domestic context and played in a business or other public setting, this is a considered a public performance under the Copyright Act (1994), and you require permission from the people that created the music you use. The act clearly establishes public performance rights, protecting the rights of music creators and enabling them to earn a living when their work is used. The Copyright Act also outlines the penalties for anyone in breach of the act. You can access the Copyright Act (1994) here.

Who is OneMusic?

OneMusic is a joint licensing initiative between APRA AMCOS and Recorded Music NZ. Many music creators around the world earn an income by granting organisations, like ours, the right to collect and pay their royalties.

OneMusic simplifies the licensing process and allows music users to meet their copyright obligations to play our music in their business.

Who can verify that I need a music licence?

Click here to find out more about why you need a licence and the authenticity of our rights from other industry and government bodies and New Zealand associations.

What is a Public Performance?

A public performance is the playing of music in a business, commercial environment, or any other non-domestic setting. In these settings, even if a performance is given for free, the audience is small or you are playing music to the members of a club or society, this does not exclude it from being a public performance under the Copyright Act.

What happens if I don't hold a licence?

To be fair to the businesses that hold a OneMusic licence, and to the music creators who own the music being played, OneMusic runs a compliance programme. This involves visiting businesses to confirm whether they play our members’ music and if so, follow up to ensure an appropriate licence is taken out. Our licensing team provides those using music with all the information they need and are happy to talk through any issues or questions. If a business using our members’ music simply refuses to hold the appropriate licence, legal proceedings are issued to reach a resolution.

Where can I get independent advice?

Most industry associations, councils, citizens advice bureaus and business associations are aware of Copyright law and the requirement to hold a licence when using music in a business. You can also view our helpful links. For specific advice regarding how copyright law applies to your business we would recommend speaking with a lawyer.