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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.

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. 

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 free University events
  • 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.  Copies can be distributed to their families for private personal use only. No charges can be made (or cost recovery only).

Using music and music performances at free university events

University events are any event that is organised and authorised by the University. The event can be held at the University or off campus, and it can be open to the public or to the University community only. It does not apply to events where admission or entry fee is charged or events that are held at a University venue which has been hired by a third party. This would require the third party to obtain permission for the use and to apply for appropriate licences. To find out how to get permission, see the Australian copyright council’s music: concerts, musicals and plays information sheet.

Staff and students can:

  • Play or perform music at free university run events, such as opens days, graduation ceremonies and exhibitions
  • Copy sound recordings in a physical format to be played at free University events (i.e. create a compilation CD)
  • Make audio or video recordings of a University event that features music at free University events and make it available to staff, students and their families on a cost recovery basis only

What is not allowed or included in the music licence

  • Copy and communicate music for purposes other than education, or for free University events (i.e. not to be used for marketing purposes)
  • Make copies of music and make it available to the general public
  • Copy printed sheet music. This is covered by the Copyright Agency Agreement. More information can be found on Managing copyright materials for text works
  • Using illegally sourced music
  • Perform music in public at an event where an entry fee is charged.  For events where admission is charged, a separate licence is required. 
  • Perform music where the University’s premises have been let for hire to a third party. A separate licence is required.
  • Copying or performance of music in a dramatic context where music was not specially written for the production (e.g. a play); a Grand Rights Work (e.g. musical play, opera), choral works or more than 20 minutes, or ballet. A Separate licence would be required. 

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, AMCOS and ARIA 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.

Using music for non educational purposes

The music licence also covers the playing of background music (from CDs or radio) in the workplace (i.e.) administration and staff offices.

Need help?

For general copyright queries submit an Ask a question form, visit a Help Zone or contact us

For other queries, please contact your Outreach Librarian.

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