Performing right societies, such as APRA, date back to 1850 when the first copyright collecting society was set up in France. Such societies have now been established in most countries of the world.
Each society is responsible for documenting the ownership of its members' works and for issuing licences to music users within its territory. Through reciprocal agreements between societies, each society effectively represents the world's repertoire and collects and distributes for its own members and sister societies alike.
Most countries have copyright laws similar to those in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific. If your work is protected here, it will also be protected in most other territories under the local laws.
Both APRA and AMCOS have reciprocal representation agreements with similar societies around the world. These operate under the principal of "national treatment" - meaning foreign socieites administer the rights in their territories in the same way as they treat their own members' works.
Use of your work overseas is however subject to the laws, distribution rules and policies of the society in question. Societies are members of the international umbrella organisation CISAC (www.cisac.org), and BIEM for mechanical societies (www.biem.org), which have certain binding rules and resolutions for the operations of its members.
CISAC has also developed agreed standards and international ‘tools” for distribution rules and practices - the international exchange of society membership, musical work, cue sheets and agreement information, distribution statement data and society financial information.
APRA monitors particular oveseas uses of your repertoire, such as TV and cable broadcasts and chart information, in certain major territories. If you are aware that your work has been used in a foreign territory, you should let APRA|AMCOS know as soon as possible by completeing the relevant form (see Forms & Guidelines). Members should advise us of oveseas tours, the use of your music in film, TV, jingles and other broadcasts or of record releases. This will ensure we can make claims on your behalf to the relevant society and check the incoming royalties, if they are payable.
APRA distributes foreign earnings together with the domestic distributions in May and November. However, most overseas royalties are usually paid at the beginning of the month following our processing of them in special oveseas "mini" distributions.
View Foreign Royalty Distribution Schedule>>
Please note: sometimes there can be a significant delay between the performance and the distribution to APRA.
If you think your works are being performed or reproduced in a foreign country, let us know! Contact APRA|AMCOS Member Services for further information: or 0800 69 2772.
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