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Copyright and licensing

Read our handy guide to learn more about copyright and licensing - what you can and can’t do with materials from the programme and where to go to find out more!

Sing Up Guide to Copyright and Licensing

Copyright protects creative works and enables composers, literary authors and other creators to be paid for their work. Copyright is the means by which those who create and own works (eg. music and lyrics) can control who makes use of each work and the circumstances in which it is used, to ensure that the integrity and value of the work is respected.

By obtaining copyright music materials from a legitimate licensed site such as Sing Up, you are supporting creators and the music industry that brings their music to the ears and eyes of the public, and ensures they are paid.

Sing Up is supported by UK Music, the Music Publishers Association and PRS for Music as an exciting initiative promoting the use of music within schools.


GENERAL COPYRIGHT QUESTIONS

  • What is copyright?

  • What does ‘PD’ mean?

  • Who are PRS for Music and what do they do?

  • Who are UK Music and what do they do?

  • What is the MPA and what does it do?

  • Where can I find out more about copyright and licensing?


GENERAL SONG BANK QUESTIONS ABOUT COPYRIGHT AND LICENSING

  • How can I tell if a song is copyright or PD?

  • Once I’ve downloaded the music and/or activities and lesson plans, can I photocopy them?

  • Can I photocopy pages from the Sing Up magazine?

  • Can I burn the Song Bank audio tracks onto CD?

  • What can and can’t I do with the resulting CD?


PERFORMANCE

  • Are there any performance restrictions on the songs in the Song Bank?

  • We would like to include some of the Song Bank songs in our concert/singing festival – do we need permission or a licence to do this?

  • Can I record (audio or audio-visual) my children performing any of the songs in the Song Bank?

  • We are putting on a musical. Do we need permission or a licence?


AUDIO & AUDIO-VISUAL RECORDINGS

  • Do I need a licence to record (audio or audio-visual) my children performing the songs from the Song Bank?

  • I am making a CD/DVD. Can I include any existing audio from the Sing Up website?

  • I am making a CD/DVD. Can I include any recordings of my children performing songs from the Song Bank?

  • What if I want to sell these CDs or DVDs eg. to parents at Christmas or to the public?

  • What if I intend to use the recordings for promotional purposes, or give copies away for free?


ADAPTING SONG BANK MATERIAL

  • Can I make my own arrangements of songs in the Song Bank?

  • Are we allowed to change the lyrics of any of the Song Bank songs, or write our own lyrics to fit the backing tracks?

  • Can we record or perform our own versions?


CREATING MY OWN MATERIAL

  • I have written my own song. How can I claim copyright?

  • How do I register my work with PRS for Music?

  • Is it compulsory to do so?

  • What will happen if I do/don’t?


SING UP SUBMISSIONS POLICY

  • I know a song that I think should be included in the Sing Up resource. How can I get this added to the Song Bank?

  • I have written my own song that I would like considered for the Song Bank. What do I do?

 

GENERAL COPYRIGHT QUESTIONS

What is copyright?

Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and the typographical arrangement of a published edition (i.e. how it looks on the page). The legal framework for copyright (one type of intellectual property) is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Every song comprises two copyright works – the music itself (a musical work) and the lyrics (a literary work). If you own the copyright in either type of work, you have the sole right to do any of the following, or to authorise (e.g. by way of a licence) another to do so:

  • Copy the work

  • Issue, lend or rent copies of the work to the public

  • Perform, show or play the work in public

  • Communicate the work to the public (i.e. broadcast it via television, radio, online etc.)

  • Adapt the work

If you are the composer of the music or the author of the lyrics, copyright legislation also provides you with a number of important moral rights:

  • To be identified as the creator of the work
    (Right of Paternity)

  • Not to have the work falsely credited to anyone else
    (Right of Attribution)

  • To object to derogatory treatment of the work
    (Right of Integrity)

If your work is subsequently recorded, the sound recording will also have separate copyright protection. The producer of the recording or the record company will own the copyright in the sound recording.

In the UK, copyright in a musical or literary work lasts for a period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the composer or author dies. A sound recording is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is made and a typographical edition is protected for 25 years from the end of the year of publication.

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What does ‘PD’ mean?

PD means public domain. The public domain is most often discussed in contrast to works still protected by copyright. Under modern law, most original works of art, literature, music, etc. are covered by copyright from the time of their creation and for a limited period of time relating to the date of their creator’s death (which varies by country). When the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain.

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Who are PRS for Music and what do they do?

PRS for Music (formerly the MCPS-PRS Alliance) is home to the world’s best music writers, composers and publishers. Formed in 1997 between two royalty collection societies (MCPS and PRS),

it exists to collect and pay royalties to its members when their music is recorded and made available to the public (MCPS); and when their music is performed, broadcast or otherwise made publicly available (PRS).

  • Where does MCPS collect its money? Money is generated (through licence fees) from the recording of its members’ music on many different formats, including CDs, DVDs, television, broadcast and online.

  • Where does PRS collect its money? Money is due for any public performance of music, whether live or recorded, that takes place outside the home and from radio and television broadcasts and online.

  • What do PRS for Music do with the money collected? PRS for Music pays money collected to their writer, composer and music publisher members. The organisation is ‘not for profit’ and only deduct a small admin/commission fee to cover operating costs.

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Who are UK Music and what do they do?

UK Music is an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial industry, from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, managers, music publishers, studio producers and collecting societies.

 

Their members include the Association of Independent Music (AIM),

the Bristish Academy of Composers & Songwriters (BAC&S),

BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited, the PRS for Music, the Music Managers Forum (MMF),

the Music Publishers Association Limited (MPA),

the Musicians Union (MU) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).

 

UK Music’s core goals are to promote awareness and understanding of:

  • The interests of the UK music industry at all levels

  • The value of music to society, culture and the economy

  • Intellectual property rights and how they protect and promote creativity

  • The opportunities and challenges for music creators in the digital age

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What is the MPA and what does it do?

The Music Publishers Association is a member of UK Music and the trade association for music publishers in the UK. It is a non-profit making body that works to safeguard and improve the educational, creative, business and legal environment within which its members are operating. The MPA has several specialist committees including the Education and Training Group, the Printed Music Publishers Committee, the Pop Publishers Committee, the Classical Publishers Committee and the Library Publishers Committee.

The MPA liaises with many users on behalf of its member publishers – including the BBC, the Association of British Orchestras, Making Music (the national federation of music societies) and other music users.

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Where can I find out more about copyright and licensing?

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GENERAL SONG BANK QUESTIONS ABOUT COPYRIGHT AND LICENSING

How can I tell if a song is copyright or PD?

You can tell the difference between copyright and PD material in the Song Bank by checking the icon on the song’s pages. PD songs can be identified by the letters ‘PD’, copyright songs will display the symbol ‘©’. You can also search for public domain or copyright songs using the Search function.

More generally, for songs not in the Song Bank, you can sometimes (but not always) tell from the printed music publication – if the song is protected by copyright, a copyright line with the © symbol should be displayed (usually inside the front cover or at the bottom of the first page of the music),

along with the name of the copyright owner. If you are in any doubt you can contact the MPA, who will be able to advise you. You can e-mail them here

If the composer, author, arranger or editor died more than 70 years ago, the song will probably not be in copyright, unless it is a new arrangement of a classical piece, in which case the arranger will own the copyright. If you are in any doubt about whether a piece of music is in copyright, contact the MPA for advice.

If the sound recording was made more than 50 years ago, it will probably not be in copyright.

If the typographical edition was produced more than 25 years ago, it will probably not be in copyright.

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Once I’ve downloaded the music and/or activities and lesson plans, can I photocopy them?

If you are a registered Sing Up user, you are welcome to download and photocopy music, activities and lesson plans from the Sing Up website, provided they are for your teaching purposes only – you cannot pass this material on to others.

This only applies to materials available on www.singup.org – where using other resources, you must check with the individual copyright owner/publisher whether their materials are photocopiable. Generally, it is illegal to photocopy copyright material without permission.

For permission to photocopy printed music, the MPA can help to direct you to the copyright owner. You should provide as much information about the music as possible, including the title, composer, any arranger or editor and the date of publication or copyright line (usually inside the front cover or at the bottom of the first page of the music),

together with the name of any publisher that you have for the work. You can e-mail the MPA here

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Can I photocopy pages of the Sing Up magazine?

If you are a registered Sing Up user, you are welcome to photocopy pages of the magazine, provided they are for your teaching purposes only – you cannot pass this material on to others.

This only applies to the Sing Up magazine – where using other resources, you must check with the individual publication/publishers whether their materials are photocopiable, or whether you will need a licence to copy. Generally, it is illegal to photocopy copyright material without permission.

The Copyright Licensing Agency licenses organisations to copy articles and extracts from books, journals, magazines and digital publications. Under copyright law, such copying usually requires the permission of the copyright owner in advance. This applies whether you are a business, public body, government department, school, college or charity. Licences from the CLA permit the photocopying, scanning and emailing of articles from these publications without having to seek permission from the copyright owner each time. The CLA license all schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via blanket licence arrangements with Local Authorities. For more details on what the licences do and do not allow, see Schools section on the CLA website.

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Can I burn the Song Bank audio tracks to CD or my mp3 player?

If you are a registered Sing Up user, you are welcome to download and burn to CD or mp3 player any of the audio tracks found in the Sing Up Song Bank, provided they are for your teaching purposes only – you cannot pass this material on to others.

This only applies to the Sing Up website. Generally, it is illegal to download and burn copies of music found on the Internet unless you already have the appropriate permissions or licence.

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What can and can’t I do with the resulting CD?

  • You can use the CD to help you prepare for leading singing with your children.

  • You can use the CD during singing with your children.

  • You cannot give copies of the CD away to other people, without an appropriate licence from the MCPS.

  • You cannot sell copies of the CD, without an appropriate licence from the MCPS.

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PERFORMANCE

Are there any performance restrictions on the songs in the Song Bank?

By law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988),

a PRS licence is required whenever copyrighted music is used in schools in a non-curricular manner. This licence is required for public performances of music on the school premises. Examples of such performances are: concerts, discos, dances etc. at which parents or third parties are present. If any of these activities take place, your school requires a PRS licence. You do not need a PRS licence for school assemblies, unless any visitors are present when it will then constitute a public performance.

Your Local Authority has probably already obtained a licence for your school – you should check whether your school is covered, either by contacting your LA directly or by contacting the Centre for Education and Finance Management.

You can perform any of the songs in the Song Bank, provided the venue you are performing in has an appropriate PRS licence.

If you are a freelance singing leader arranging a performance, you must make sure that your intended venue is covered with an appropriate licence in advance.

If you are organising an open-air event, you will still need a licence for this.

For any performance in a PRS registered venue (including school halls and public theatres),

you must keep details of your programme so that the venue can submit this information to the PRS.

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We would like to include some of the Song Bank songs in our concert/singing festival – do we need permission or a licence to do this?

See above. You are free to perform any songs from the Song Bank, providing you are covered by the necessary licence from the PRS. By law (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988),

a PRS licence is required whenever copyrighted music is used in public performance.

If you are organising an open-air event, you will still need a licence for this.

For any performance in a PRS registered venue (including school halls and public theatres),

you must keep details of your programme so that the venue can submit this information to the PRS.

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Can I record (audio or audio-visual) my children performing any of the songs?

See the Audio & Audio-Visual Recordings section of the FAQs.

You are free to use the public domain material on www.singup.org as you wish.

If you intend to make a recording that includes copyright material, you will need to apply for a mechanical licence from PRS for Music. You should apply for this before you do any recording. This is true for all copyright material, not just the songs in the Song Bank.

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We are putting on a musical. Do we need permission or a licence?

Yes, if you are intending to stage a musical you will need to get a grand rights licence in advance. You can obtain this directly from the publishers/copyright holder. Most published resources will usually contain details of how you can apply for a licence. It does not normally take long to obtain a licence but the amount of time will vary from publisher to publisher. You should allow as much time as possible and apply before you start any work on the musical.

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AUDIO & AUDIO-VISUAL RECORDINGS

Do I need a licence to record (audio or audio-visual) my children performing the songs from the Song Bank?

I am making a CD/DVD. Can I include any existing audio from the Sing Up website?

I am making a CD/DVD. Can I include any recordings of my children performing songs from the Song Bank?

What if I want to sell these CDs or DVDs e.g. to parents at Christmas or to the public?

You are free to use the public domain material on www.singup.org as you wish.

You will need a licence for all recordings you intend to make that include copyright material, whether they are of songs from the Song Bank or from elsewhere. This includes (but is not limited to) making CDs, DVDs, Podcasts and Webcasts. You will need to contact PRS for Music to arrange a licence.

PRS for Music will advise how long it will take for your licence to come. You must make sure you have received your licence before you make your recording.

You may have to pay a fee for your licence. PRS for Music has a range of tariffs depending on what you would like to record and what you intend to do with the recording.

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What if I intend to use the recordings for promotional purposes, or give copies away for free?

You will still need a licence and should contact PRS for Music for more information.

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ADAPTING SONG BANK MATERIAL

Can I make my own arrangements of songs in the Song Bank?

You are free to make new arrangements of any public domain song that appears in the Song Bank.

If you wish to make an arrangement of any copyright song, you must obtain permission in advance directly from the copyright owner. This is true for all copyright songs, not just for those in the Song Bank.

For permission to arrange music the MPA can help to direct you to the copyright owner. You should provide as much information about the music as possible, including the title, composer, any arranger or editor and the date of publication or copyright line (usually inside the front cover or at the bottom of the first page of the music),

together with the name of any publisher that you have for the work.

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Are we allowed to change the lyrics of any of the Song Bank songs, or write our own lyrics to fit the backing tracks?

You are free to make any alterations you wish to public domain songs from the Song Bank.

If you intend to change the lyrics of a copyright song for (but not limited to) public performance or recording you must obtain permission from the copyright holder in advance of changing the lyrics.

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Can we record or perform our own versions?

You are free to perform and record adapted public domain material from the Song Bank as you wish without obtaining any permissions.

You can perform or record your own versions of adapted copyright Song Bank songs but you must make sure you have the correct permissions and licences (as applicable) beforehand. See the sections on Performance and Audio & Audio-Visual Recordings for more details on permissions and licences for performing and recording copyrighted material.

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CREATING MY OWN MATERIAL

I have written my own song. How can I claim the copyright?

In the UK, all original works are protected by copyright from the moment they are created. It is important to be able to prove authorship of a work and ownership of copyright. To do this, you should write down your song and:

Send a copy to yourself by Special Delivery. Clearly mark the envelope so that you know what it contains but do not open it.

And/or

Store a sealed and dated copy with your solicitor or bank manager. Make sure that you keep a receipt. Please be aware that your solicitor or bank will probably charge you for this service.

Registering your music with PRS for Music does not create copyright but you may have a better chance of proving you own the copyright if any of your music is disputed.

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How do I register my work with PRS for Music?

In order to register your work with PRS for Music, you will first need to become a member. There are certain criteria you must fulfil for membership. Find out more here.

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Is it compulsory to do so?

No, it is not compulsory to register your work with PRS for Music. You can find out more about the benefits of membership here.

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What will happen if I do/don’t?

If you register your work, PRS for Music will collect royalties due from performance, broadcast or recording on your behalf. They will pass on these royalties to you, minus a small fee to cover their costs. If you do not register your work , they will not be able to collect any royalties on your behalf.

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SING UP SUBMISSIONS POLICY

I know a song that I think should be included in the Sing Up resource. How can I get this added to the Song Bank?

We would love to hear your suggestions about songs you think should be included in the Song Bank! You can email your thoughts to us here.

Please include as much information as possible regarding the song, including the songwriter(s),

publisher and publication (where applicable),

along with your reasons for suggesting it.

We cannot guarantee to include all suggestions made to us but will endeavour to follow up your ideas wherever possible and appropriate.

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I have written my own song that I would like considered for the Song Bank. What do I do?

Sing Up will accept unsolicited submissions for inclusion in the Song Bank. These can be submitted by post or email (you can find details in the Contact Us section) and should include the following:

  • A manuscript (either full with accompaniment, or top line only)

  • An audio recording of the work (where available and appropriate)

  • Any other supporting material (e.g. your qualifications/CV; reviews; references/recommendations; details of previous performances/publication; etc.)

In a covering letter (or body of your email), you should explain your reasons for sending your submission and identify how you think it might complement the existing Song Bank material.

Please allow us plenty of time to consider your submission.

If you would like your work returned, please include a stamped, addressed envelope. In any case, please always keep a copy of your own work.

Some useful links:

British Academy of Composers and Songwriters (BAC&S)

Represents songwriters, media composers and classical composers.

Musicians Union (MU)

The Musicians’ Union represents over thirty thousand musicians working in all sectors of the music business. As well as negotiating on behalf of its members with all the major employers in the industry, it offers a range of services for professional and student musicians of all ages.

NuMu

NUMU is a dedicated safe space for young people to showcase their music, meet others and learn new skills.

This guide has been created and developed with help and advice from UK Music, the MPA and PRS for Music.

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Comments about Copyright and licensing

Mrs Coata Report this comment

Posted 25th Jan 2012 06:30

Singing is a great choice in life. I hope that this website will encourage kids.

Emilie Siassia Report this comment

Posted 17th Dec 2011 08:40

wicked

Thomas Sing Up Edmead Report this comment

Posted 22nd Oct 2011 09:16

I love Sing Up, it is great.

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