The Copyright Act (98 of 1978), music licensing and your institution.

Why would my school or institution need a music license?

The answer is actually simple. When any works (in this case music in audio or other format or a live show in front of an audience), which are protected by copyright, are broadcasted, performed or used in public, the user of such works must pay a license to the organisation(s) or person(s) who owns the copyright of the works or manage it on behalf of the copyright owner.

  • The school is the user of the works protected by the Copyright Act. 
  • The works' rights are (in many cases) managed by music publishers.
  • Royalties are fees that users pay to be allowed to use these works in public.
  • Music rights organisations must pay the applicable royalties to the original composer and author of the music and lyrics, master rights owners, or publishers who administer the rights on behalf of the original owner
  • Some copyright owners do not necessarily have a publishing contract but receive royalties directly from the music rights organisations.
  • Different rights exist that require different royalty payments.

School Music Licensing™ (SML) is an affiliate of Traxtudio®. SML negotiates on behalf of the schools or institutions and negotiates the best possible rates with the various music rights organisations. Different organisations administer different rights. SML makes sure your institution has the correct licenses in place.

How does it work? Before your institution undertakes a project where music will be used (whether during a sporting event or music concert), in audio or any other format, your institution's representative completes an online form from SML. SML handles all the negotiations and makes sure that your institution obtains a legal license to use the music.

In this way, SML ensures that your institution is protected from heavy fines that can be imposed for the illegal use of the works. At the same time, this process ensures that the rightful owner of the works receives their royalties accordingly.

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