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Copyright - Payment of Remuneration for Copyright Material Used in the Services of the State

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​Issue Date:17/11/2009
​Review Date:30/10/2017

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Copyright - Payment of Remuneration for Copyright Material Use for the Services of the State


Under s183 of the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968 (the Act), State Government departments and agencies may do any of the acts comprised in copyright (reproduce, perform in public, communicate to the public, etc) without infringing copyright if the act is done for the services of the State. However, the State Government is required to pay remuneration for that use. Most statutory obligations of State Government agencies for remuneration for copying works and public performance of music are met through centrally funded whole of government agreements with the following copyright collecting societies:

  • Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)1 for the photocopying and electronic copying of works (literary, dramatic, musical and artistic, excluding computer programs) and published editions of works, other than works that are included in a sound recording, film or television or sound broadcast;

  • Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA)2 for the public performance of music through the use of radio and television receivers in public and work areas, background music in lifts and waiting rooms, etc; and

  • Audio-Visual Copyright Society Limited (trading as Screenrights)3 for the copying of sound and television broadcasts.

Payment of remuneration to these designated collecting societies is arranged centrally by the Department of the Attorney General.


  1. 'Communication' means to make available online or electronically transmit (whether over a path, or a combination of paths, provided by a material substance or otherwise) a work or other subject-matter, including a performance or live performance within the meaning of the Act. Therefore, emailing a third party copyright material and placing a third party copyright material on an intranet (eg, being accessible by staff within the agency or in other agencies) or on the internet (where it is publicly accessible) are each a communication of the copyright material.

    Payments for the communication of copyright material are not included in the agreements being negotiated with copyright collecting societies. Under the Act [s183 (4) (5)], agencies are responsible for notifying copyright owners that their material has been used and agreeing terms, and, if required, paying for that use.  In default of the agreement, the Copyright Tribunal can set the terms.

  2. 'Commercial' performances of music in public and music on hold, ie telephone 'waiting' music, are not covered under any agreement between the State and any collecting society. For music on hold, agencies should ascertain from their telecommunications carrier whether the service includes all applicable copyright licence fees. If not, then agencies may need to enter into a separate licensing arrangement with individual copyright owners or with APRA and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited (PPCA)4, depending on who owns the copyright in the composition and recording. Further details can be found at and

  3. State Government educational institutions do not come under s183 of the Act. They are usually covered under separate agreements with copyright collecting societies under Part VB of the Act.

  4. All entities listed in Schedule 1 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 are excluded from whole of government copyright agreements, except for items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11 and 18, as at the review of this circular on 04/02/2013.

Further details regarding the State's statutory obligations under the Act and whole of government agreements are contained in the attachment, Copyright - Payment of Remuneration for Copyright Material used for the Services of the State.

Colin Barnett MLA



For enquiries contact:

Irene Kempa 9264 6129
Principal Policy Officer
Department of the Attorney General

Other relevant Circular/s:


Circular/s replaced by this Circular:



1 CAL's members are authors, journalists, visual artists, surveyors, photographers and newspaper, magazine and book publishers as their non-exclusive agent to license the copying of their works to the general community. Under the Act, CAL is entitled to collect on behalf of every copyright owner in the world whose works are reproduced by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments for the services of that Government.

2 APRA represents composers, song writers and lyricists and collects and distributes licence fees for the public performance and communication (including broadcast) of its members' musical works. The Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited collects and distributes ‘mechanical' royalties for the reproduction of its members' musical works for many different purposes, including the manufacture of CDs, music videos and DVDs, the sale of mobile phone ringtones and digital downloads, the use of production music and the making of radio and television programs.

3 Screenrights is a copyright collecting society for producers, distributors, script writers, music copyright owners, rights owners in artistic works, television broadcasts and sound recordings and other rights owners in film.

4 PPCA represents the interests of record labels and Australian recording artists for the broadcast, communication or public playing of recorded music, (eg CDs, tapes, records) or music videos.


Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.