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Caitlin Hadlee
September 25, 2019

Dangers of using music in a business without a licence

On 27 November 2018, the High Court granted injunctive relief and awarded compensatory and substantial additional damages under s121(2) Copyright Act 1994 against a restaurant and bar owner, and also its director personally, for using music in their business without the appropriate licence. 

APRA is a not-for-profit royalty collecting society comprised of its music-creating members, which (due to reciprocal agreements with its international affiliates) holds copyright for the New Zealand public performance of virtually all music in which copyright still exists today. 

 APRA administers the licensing brand, OneMusic, which is a joint initiative with Recorded Music NZ. OneMusic exists to simplify music licensing and to ensure that businesses have the relevant permissions to use music in a business.

The owners of Rocksalt Bar &Restaurant were found to have acted flagrantly in using APRA’s music in order to attract customers to their business, and ignored APRA’s many attempts to provide them with the necessary licence.  In addition to granting a permanent injunction, compensatory damages and legal costs, additional damages of $18,000 were awarded against both the restaurant owner and also its director personally, for authorising the infringing performances.   

Decision: Australasian Performing Right Association Limited v 3228 Business Limited & Anor [2018] NZHC 3088

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