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Parodies & royalties: No laughing matter

Tip Published Wednesday 6 July 2016
The Copyright Act states that the people that write the songs have the right to control how their music is used.

The original creator of a musical work is entitled to the performance royalties of a parody, not the creator of the parody

If you have created a parody, you should not register the new version with APRA AMCOS

Make sure you have permission to re-arrange, re-record or change the lyrics of an existing work, if you plan to use it an advertisement


We love a good parody as much as the next person, but with music recognition technology now used to identify music in advertisements, it’s a good time for a little refresher on what you can rightfully claim.

As we hope you probably know by now, the Australian Copyright Act gives songwriters and composers the right to control how their music is used.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of copyright and parodies (read up here), the one thing to note is that as a general rule, unless otherwise agreed in writing, the original creator/s of a musical work that has been parodied in an advertisement are entitled to performance royalties, not the creator of the parody.

So even if you’ve been given permission to re-arrange, re-record or change the lyrics of an existing work for use in an advertisement, you should not register the new version with APRA AMCOS. Unless they have agreed otherwise, the original creator/s still own the copyright in that underlying musical work, and will be entitled to performance royalties when the advertisement is broadcast.

The upshot? There’s no need for you to submit your parody track to our Online Portal for Uploading Songs (OPUS)… which frees you up to spend time uploading your own original works!