Fact Sheets

Using Music In Jukeboxes

What’s copyright?

When someone creates a piece of music (or a piece of text, a graphic, a photo, a film or anything else that is protected under copyright laws), a whole system of legal rights and obligations comes into play. These rights and obligations outline what someone can and can't do with the material.


Who owns the copyright in a piece of music?

There is generally more than one owner of copyright in any given musical track. The composer who wrote the music owns copyright in the musical works. The lyricist who wrote the lyrics owns copyright in the literary works. The artist who performed the music owns copyright in a sound recording of their live performance. Finally, the maker of the recording (typically a record company) owns copyright in the sound recording.


What rights do copyright owners have?

The copyright owners (i.e. the owner of the work and the owner of the recording respectively) have a number of exclusive rights, including the right to:

  • Make copies of the tracks;
  • Perform music in public; and
  • Communicate the tracks to the public.


Can I copy legitimate CDs I own onto my jukebox to play at pubs or hotels?

The purchase of a CD only gives you the right to own the physical disc, to play it privately, and to pass on the same physical disc to another person. This means that copying music from a CD, without the permission of all relevant copyright owners, is an infringement of copyright except in limited circumstances. The Copyright Act allows you to copy music legitimately obtained for your private and domestic use on another device that you own eg. from CD to iPod. However, this does not extend to copying to play on a jukebox which is used in a commercial setting.

If you want to copy your legitimate CDs onto your jukebox you must get:

  1. Permission or a licence from the record company that controls the copyright in the sound recordings (contact ARIA or the Licensing Department of the relevant record company); and
  2. A licence from AMCOS for the reproduction of the music. Generally AMCOS will offer a “blanket” licence which allows you to be covered for all reproduction of musical and literary works for certain purposes.


What about if a friend lends me a copy of a CD or gives me a burnt CD to put on my jukebox?

You cannot copy a friend’s music, or accept a burnt CD, either for your own personal use or for use in your jukebox. If you legitimately buy music from iTunes or other legal online distributors you should check their relevant terms and conditions to make sure that you are licensed for the relevant purpose, including for using the music in a jukebox. If you want to copy music onto your jukebox you must obtain the music legally (for example by buying a legitimate CD) and hold the appropriate licenses to copy as outlined above.


Can I copy music from the internet onto my jukebox? 

The basic principle is that you cannot copy or distribute music including from the internet without the permission of all relevant copyright owners. There are a number of legitimate download sites in Australia which are listed at www.pro-music.org.


What about using music sourced through file sharing?

Unless authorised, the vast bulk of P2P 'file sharing' is considered unauthorised copying and transmission of copyright material. This activity hurts sales of music and the livelihoods of people in the business.


What if I download music from a site overseas where the law might be different?

Internet activities of this sort typically involve acts of copying, transmission, or distribution in both the ‘receiving and sending’ countries and the laws of each will apply. Be aware that if you download music files to your PC located in Australia, without the copyright owners' permission, you are committing an infringement of copyright under Australian law.


What are the consequences?

Under the Copyright Act, infringement of copyright by unauthorised copying (including over the internet), selling, distributing, importing, performing or having in your possession illegal discs, attracts maximum penalties of up to $60,500 or 5 years imprisonment for each infringement.


Do I need any licences to play music from a jukebox at a club or other venue?

Yes, generally the venue (for example, the club, hotel, nightclub or restaurant) needs a public performance licence from OneMusic Australia in order to allow legitimately obtained music to be played in public. However, in circumstances where your jukebox is being used at a venue that would not ordinarily require a licence, you may need to get a OneMusic Australia licence in your own right.


I own a bar.  Can I be responsible if the jukebox plays pirate music or illegal MP3s?

As the owner or operator of premises you may be held liable for authorizing copyright infringement at your premises by allowing the jukebox operator to use pirate music or illegal MP3 files.


Need more information?

Music Rights Australia



(02) 8569 1177




(02) 9935 7900

OneMusic Australia




1300 162 162

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