Te Kotahitanga
Manu Reo o Aotearoa

Copyright / APRA Licence

Copyright / APRA Licence

The term ‘copyright’ refers to the exclusive rights given to owners of original works under the Copyright Act 1994.  Copyright for literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works lasts for 50 year from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.

APRA Performing Rights Licence

The NZCF has a special arrangement with the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) for member choirs for an annual licence to perform copyrighted music in public. Note that this licence does not cover the photocopying of music - only the performance.

The APRA fee is included in the NZCF membership subscription and no further charges are made by APRA unless the performance is classed as Music in Dramatic Context or the work is a ‘grand right’ composition (a major choral work in excess of 20 minutes’ duration). If the performance is classed as Dramatic Context then APRA can assist in facilitating. In the case of a ‘grand right’ work, a separate licence must be obtained directly from the relevant music publisher.

Non-NZCF member choirs are obliged to pay an annual APRA licence fee of $113.69 and, in addition, must remit 2% plus GST of box-office income (minimum fee of $75 + GST) where copyrighted material is performed or rehearsed. This does not apply to NZCF members. The NZCF/APRA licence can therefore save NZCF member choirs a substantial sum of money – in some cases, more than the cost of their NZCF membership subscription – and also administration time.

What you need to do after each performance

Unless member choirs let APRA know what they have performed, APRA does not know which composers are entitled to a share of the royalty payment made each year.

APRA requires a list of songs performed by choirs after each concert (preferably in Excel or Word) or a copy of the programme, to ensure that the licence fee is distributed to composers of songs that are performed.

If the composer has been deceased for more than 50 years, there is no need to send in the information unless the work has been re-arranged by somebody who now holds the copyright. The information can be posted to APRA/AMCOS, Unit 113, 23 Edwin Street, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024 or emailed to events@apra.co.nz.

Copyright / Photocopying

Copyright is the means by which creators such as composers, songwriters and publishers make a living from their work. The law gives copyright owners a number of exclusive rights to control how and when their work is used. Choirs must understand and respect this. Two important rights that composers and publishers control are the rights to publicly perform and to reproduce or copy their work.

Photocopying of copyright music is not permitted unless a licence has been obtained or permission has been granted by the publisher.

Schools and educational institutions

A OneMusic schools licence grants schools the right to both publicly perform music (playing music to an audience other than students and staff) and to copy music. While in the past there have been restrictions placed on the number of copies of sheet music schools are allowed to make under the OneMusic licence, in early 2019 APRA/AMCOS removed copying restrictions, meaning schools are now free to make as many copies of an original as they need for each member of a class, ensemble or congregation.


A Manufacture Licence for CDs must be obtained through APRA. It is only required for works that remain in copyright and there is a licence fee payable of 5.6% of the retail price of the CD.

Should you have any queries regarding the any of the above, please visit the APRA website.


Should you have any queries regarding the any of the above, please visit the APRA website or email kiaora@apra.co.nz

APRA New Zealand
T: (09) 623 2173
Freephone: 0800 692 772
Unit 113, Zone 23, 21-23 Edwin St, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024
PO Box 6315, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142