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Copyright at UNSW

Using music for teaching

UNSW holds a music licence that allows staff and students to copy and communicate music for educational purposes and at University events.

There are no copying limits under the music licence, but best practice is to only copy what you need for educational purposes. Music can be streamed to students as long as access is restricted.


  • The source recordings must be a legitimate copy. Even if you source your music from a platform that limits use to personal listening, such as iTunes or Spotify, UNSW’s music licence can sit on top of the platform licence, allowing the music to be used for educational purposes
  • The copying and/or communication must be for educational purposes associated with a course of study or research or for University events (where ticket price does not exceed $40) 
  • All copies made must be in the repertoire of the music collecting societies.  To check if a sound recording is included, search the APRA/AMCOS website. 
  • All sound recordings created or copied under the music licence must have appropriate labelling/statement (see below)

What can you do with music and sound recordings?

In the classroom, academics can:

  • Play sound recordings in physical and digital classroom for educational purposes
  • Capture sound recordings using Lecture Recording+ (as long as it can not be downloaded)
  • Record student performances of musical works and make them available via a learning management system (i.e. Moodle)

Using music as course materials

Academics can copy sound recordings for educational purposes and if it is related to a course of study or research. Sound recordings can also be made available online to students via password protected system, such as Moodle. Access must be restricted to UNSW staff and students.

Student use of music

Students can include sound recordings in their assignments as part of their course of study. For example, they can create a video that includes music as part of their assignment.  The work can be placed on a secure server (i.e. Moodle), but cannot be made available to the public.  

Permitted use of live music and sound recordings

The Tertiary Music Licence permits UNSW to:

  • Perform live music and sound recordings as featured or background music at UNSW events (on or off campus) where admission is either free or ticket price does not exceed $40 (plus GST).
  • Perform live music and sound recordings as featured or background music at ticketed graduation ceremonies (no threshold for ticket price) that are organised and authorised by the University on or off campus
  • Perform live music or sound recordings as background music at UNSW owned and operated University spaces.  
    This includes retail spaces, dining spaces, student areas, administration areas and galleries and exhibition spaces.  (Note: this does not include the University gym)
  • Perform live music and play sound recordings for educational purposes. 
    This includes using music in connection with a course of instruction, course of study and research of the University.
  • Play music on hold for UNSW phone system
  • Play music in the workplace for the benefit of University staff
    This includes playing music at staff events such as Christmas parties.
  • Play background music in a foyer of a University building during a third-party event in areas such as the Library or faculty building foyers. 
    (A separate licence is required to play background music in the foyer of Performing Arts Centre, Concert Hall and Function Conference Centres during a third party event.) 

Videos containing music

University performances can be lived streamed if the performances are given at a University event, a graduation ceremony or for educational purposes.  As a live stream is a synchronisation (i.e. where you put music together with video footage), there are conditions that apply to how you make those videos available.

The Tertiary Music Licence permits UNSW to make use of music captured in videos for as follows:

Videos that capture sound recordings

If UNSW makes a video that captures commercial sound records in context (i.e. capturing the sound recording at the same time of recording the video) you can:

  • Store it on a password protected University platform (i.e. Moodle)
  • Stream it on the UNSW website (i.e. website must end with '')
  • Provide a copy to staff and students in a physical format either for free or at a cost recovery price

If UNSW makes a video that adds commercial sound recordings after the video is taken (postproduction) you can:

  • Store it on a password protected University platform (i.e. Moodle)
  • Provide a copy to staff as students in a physical format either for free or at a cost recovery price

Videos that capture live performance of music (not sound recordings)

If UNSW makes a video of a live performance and the video does not contain sound recordings, then you can:

  • Store it on a password protected University platform (i.e. Moodle)
  • Stream it on the UNSW website (i.e. website must end with '')
  • Stream it UNSW official social media channels
  • Provide a copy to staff and students in a physical format either for free or at a cost recovery price

Streaming of videos containing music must not be used for the commercial or promotional purposes of the University. For example, showcasing student work to illustrate that your university has a world-class performing arts unit would be considered non-commercial in nature. Creating an advertisement that showcases that student work and has a tagline ‘come and study with us, we are taking enrolments now’ would be considered commercial and would not be covered by Tertiary Music Licence. 

What is not allowed or included in the music licence

  • Perform live music or sound recordings at a University event where the ticket price exceeds $40 (plus GST), or where the University premises have been let for hire or otherwise to a third party (including a student, unless that student has hired the venue for a University activity).
  • Perform Grand right Works in their entirety (Grand Right Works are usually musicals for which the music has been specifically written)
  • Perform works in a Dramatic Context (this means that if you want to use music in a live stage production that uses a storyline and has one or more narrators or characters then you will need to seek further licensing from APRA)
  • Perform in whole or in part music or words composed for a ballet accompanied by visual of the ballet
  • Perform any choral works of more than 20 minutes in duration
  • Perform any copyright work to which they have changed the lyrics or turned into burlesque
  • Reproduce, download, forward or otherwise convey a musical work or sound recording via the Internet.
  • Copy and communicate infringing copy of music
  • Broadcast any musical works or sound recordings
  • Make unauthorised recordings of performances
  • Include any advertising or promotional material in any recordings other than the relevant University name, University brand and logos.
  • Copy printed sheet music.
  • Limited amount of sheet music can be copied for educational purposes under our Copyright Agency Agreement.   More information can be found on Managing copyright materials for text works
  • Adapt, arrange, alter, debase, remix or otherwise affect the integrity of any musical work or sound recording or make any recordings of, or synchronise such adaptations.

Copyright notice and labelling requirement

All copied sound recordings (physical or digital) must contain the following copyright statement (either as a label or as metadata):

This recording has been made by the University of New South Wales under the express terms of an educational licence between it, ARIA, AMCOS / APRA and PPCA and may only be used as authorised by the University pursuant to the terms of that licence.

With the following information:

  • the title of each musical work
  • the name of each composer, lyricist and arranger of the musical work
  • if the recording contains an ARIA Sound Recording, the artist/group name, and the record company label

FreePlay Music

If your intended use of music sits outside what is allowed under the Music Licence, then try using FreePlay Music Library. To access the music library, you need to create a UNSW Freeplay music account: 

  1. Go to Freeplay Music homepage.
  2. Then select the Sign Up option on the top right hand corner of the screen, register your account using your UNSW email address. (Please Note: You do not have to enter your credit card details, you can skip this section)
  3. Once you have completed the initial sign up for your general Freeplay Music account, send your UNSW email address directly to Tyler Davis at and then instruct and request for 'blanket download access to be permitted' for full access to UNSW download functionality.

Need help?

UNSW staff and students can contact for assistance with a copyright query or to arrange a copyright information session.

Quick guides


Download a quick guide to copyright and teaching at UNSW (576KB PDF).