The following FAQs were developed by the European MOLA/Publisher Joint Committee
How long do musical works remain in copyright in Europe?
Be aware that copyright terms vary between territories and the USA uses a very different basis for calculating duration to most other territories for works in existence prior to 1978. Even within Europe the copyright term is not fully harmonized and there can still be variations (e.g. due to posthumous publication rules and war extensions). Particular care should be taken in France and Spain.
By way of example, France applies “war extensions” to certain works:
- 70 years + 14 years and 272 days or musical works published before 31.12.1920
- 70 years + 8 years 120 days for musical works published before 31.12.1948
- 70 years + 30 years of all works if the author died in active service for France
Please always remember to check! As a starting point, these two links might help:
What permissions/licences are required for the streaming of a concert (both live and deferred)?
For the live concert:
1. Performance rights
2. Hire fees (if applicable i.e. if the music is hired)
For the streaming:
3. Performance rights – known as ‘Electronic Communication to the Public Right’
- For Small Rights – if hosted on a 3rd party service which is licensed (as would be the case for most major digital service providers) the service will handle this element; when hosted on one’s own website a licence for your own territory can be obtained via your local Performing Right Organisation (PRO) (which may be available online)
- For Grand Rights - to be negotiated with the publisher
4. Supplementary Hire fee (if hired music) via the publisher
5. Mechanical rights:
- As with the communication to the public element, when hosted on one’s own website, a licence can be obtained via local mechanical right society (for a domestic or local licence), or contact the Publisher for information about how to obtain a global or multi-territory licence. If hosted via a 3rd party digital service which is licensed, the service will handle this element. Depending on your geographical location, please check if additional licensing via the local PRO is necessary in order to be able to leave the material available viewable on any platform after the live event
6. Synchronisation rights for audio+visual content:
- If you are streaming a concert in audio-visual form, a synchronisation licence is required to reproduce the musical composition with the visual element. This needs to be negotiated with the publisher, or where the publisher advises, a local copyright society. This applies to both “grand right” and “small right” performances.
If a concert is transmitted live online only, and not recorded, are all of the above still required?
The publisher’s position in Europe is that when a concert is transmitted live, but not recorded, there are still acts of reproduction occurring at various points in the streaming process. Therefore, the above will apply as regards the performing, mechanical and synchronisation rights.
Are the above licences and permissions required if music has been purchased, but is still copyrighted?
YES!!! No hire fees, but everything else the same.
What about non-copyright music that has been hired?
As with copyright music which you have hired, you will need permission from the Publisher as per the terms of your rental agreement and supplementary hire fees may be payable for streaming.
Do we need permissions to make archive recordings?
Yes, you must inform the publisher. Some publishers will be happy to give blanket permission for archive copies to be made or may want to be informed in each instance, and others may want to licence these. An archive copy is for archive purposes only. If at a later date, you want to use it for streaming, you will need to inform the publisher and then obtain the necessary licences. Also note that if you would like to use an archive recording for any other commercial usage (not streaming) such as producing CDs, DVDs etc., you would also require permission and would incur a fee.
Do we need to obtain permissions /licences to use live recordings on our websites for promotional purposes?
Yes. When using copyright music (hired or purchased), permission must be obtained from the publisher/copyright holder for both the making of the recording and its use.
Does the hosting site of the recording matter?
You should inform the publisher where the stream is being hosted (e.g.YouTube) and we strongly recommend that you inform the publishers where you are embedding it (e.g. your website).
What do we mean by Sync Rights?
Sync (short for synchronisation) is the reproduction of copyright music in combination with visual images to create and produce Audio-Visual Material.
What copyrighted elements should be considered?
All copyright needs to be considered: composer, arranger, librettist, translator and where applicable, editor (critical editions).
What about the use of subtitles?
The use of subtitles will require a reproduction licence from the publisher.
Are there issues for worldwide streaming?
As copyright status varies throughout Europe, remember to check the copyright status of the countries in which you will be streaming.
Can we stream small amounts of copyright music under ‘Fair Use’ ?
The simple answer is no! To see what is allowed under ‘Fair Use’ please refer to your local Music Publisher Association or publishers who should have a Code of Fair Practice.
Are there any further considerations?
Remember to ensure that all artists (including conductor!) have given permission (often included in their contracts).