Compiled by the MOLA Publisher Joint European Committee, with approval from Universal Edition, Breitkopf & Härtel, Bärenreiter, Wise Music, LMEdition and Fennica Gehrman.
How long do musical works remain in copyright in Europe?
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that copyright in all European territories lasts for 70 years after the death of the last surviving creator. This may apply to most European countries, but not all. For instance, take a look at France:
- 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 1.01.1948
- 70 years + 30 years of all works if the author died in active service
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:
- Performance rights
- Hire fees (if applicable i.e. if the music is hired)
For the streaming:
- Performance rights – known as ‘Electronic Communication to the Public Right’
- Supplementary Hire fee (if hired music)
- Mechanical rights (to make the recording)
- Sync rights (only if audio+visual - not needed for audio-only)
How do we obtain these required permissions/licences?
The above permissions and licences are to be obtained from the publisher/copyright holder and your local Performing Rights Society.
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?
You will need permission from the publisher as per the terms of your rental agreement
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.
What do we mean by Sync Rights?
Sync Rights is the right to synchronise moving images with copyright music.
What copyrighted elements should be considered?
All copyright needs to be considered: composer, arranger, librettist, translator and where applicable, editor (critical editions).
Worldwide streaming issues?
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).