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What are sound recordings?

A sound recording is a recording of sounds from which the sound may be reproduced (including recordings of the sound of musical and dramatic works).

Sound recordings may be made in audio format, such as CDs, tapes, and MP3, as well as in audio/visual formats, such as films, DVDs, and videos. Sound recordings exclude material broadcast over radio, television or cable, which is covered under Radio and television broadcasts.

Sound recordings typically incorporate a number of other types of copyright. These may include the lyrics (a literary work) the music score (a musical work), the mechanical recording itself (a sound recording), and the performers' rights.

Under the Copyright Act:

  • a sound recording may be copied by a teacher or student for research or private study
  • a sound recording may be copied by or on behalf of a person giving a lesson for instructional purposes relating to a lesson about how to make films or film sound-tracks, provided that no charge is made for the supply of the copy
  • a sound recording may be copied by or on behalf of a person giving a lesson for instructional purposes relating to a lesson about learning a language or a lesson conducted by correspondence, provided that that no charge is made for the supply of the copy.

The Copyright Act does not allow you to change a sound recording without the author's permission. For a discussion of moral rights, see What rights do authors have?

Copying

Copying a sound recording for the purpose of research or private study

This exception allows fair dealing with a sound recording for a person's own research or private study. When considering whether a particular instance of copying amounts to fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, the following considerations must be taken into account:

  • the purpose of the copying
  • the nature of the work copied
  • whether the work could have been obtained within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price
  • the effect of the copying on the potential market for, or value of, the work
  • the amount and substantiality of the part of the work copied in relation to the whole work.

This exception does not permit the making of multiple copies of a work (that is, more than one copy of the same work or part of the work on the same occasion). Accordingly, you cannot direct your students to each make a copy of the same material, as that is equivalent to authorising the making of multiple copies.

Copying sound recordings for lessons about films and film sound-tracks

This exception allows a copy of a sound recording to be made by or on behalf of a person giving or receiving a lesson about how to make films or film sound-tracks. The copy may be made in the course of preparation for instruction, for use in the course of instruction, in the course of instruction or after the course of instruction, by or on behalf of the person giving or receiving the lesson. No charge may be made for the supply of the copy.

Copying sound recordings for language lessons or by correspondence

This includes copying sound recordings for lessons about learning a language or for lessons conducted by correspondence. This exception allows a copy of a sound recording to be made by or on behalf of a person giving or receiving a lesson about learning a foreign language or for lessons conducted by correspondence.

The copy may be made in the course of preparation for instruction, for use in the course of instruction, in the course of instruction, or after the course of instruction, by or on behalf of the person giving or receiving the lesson. No charge may be made for the supply of the copy.

In relation to lessons conducted by correspondence, the exception does not apply if a licensing scheme is established to permit such copies to be made under a licence, and the person making the copies knew this fact. So if there is a specific licensing scheme available, the licensing scheme should apply. However if there isn't one in place, the fall back provision stated above applies.

Playing sound recordings for instructional purposes

This exception allows a student or teacher to play a sound recording in a school for instructional purposes, provided that the audience consists only of teachers, students, and others directly associated with the activities of the school. This means that you may not play sound recordings (such as a CDs) in any public event at the school (and note that parents/guardians, siblings, and whānau are members of the public), nor play a purchased CD in your school, simply for entertainment purposes.

Licences

There is no licence that allows the use in a restricted manner of commercial sound recordings, except when the sound recording is contained within a broadcast. (See Radio and television broadcasts.) Remember sound recordings available on the Internet are not covered by the Screenrights radio and television broadcast licence.

The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) may be able to help you seek permission to play sound recordings in some cases.


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