Fact Sheets

Music On Your Mobile Phone

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 the 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.


Where can I get music for my mobile?
You can get music for your mobile from a variety of sources.  Check out www.pro-music.org or you may want to head to a specialised mobile music online store as a first port of call, such as:

If you have purchased CDs (or otherwise got them legitimately) then you can also copy these onto your mobile for your own private and domestic use.  Though it’s important to keep the original CDs!


What about getting music through file sharing networks?

The vast bulk of P2P 'file sharing' of music is unauthorised. Just like sharing music with your friends without permission, getting music through file sharing networks hurts your favourite artists and the livelihoods of people in the business. 


Can I record concerts on my mobile phone?

Recording live performances without the permission of all of the relevant copyright owners and the performers is prohibited and unfair - artists and copyright owners have a right to say how their music and performance is used by others.


Can I sell my old mobile phone that contains music?

It’s fine to sell your old mobile phone, however you should delete your music before doing so.  Selling a mobile pre-loaded with music is basically like copying your music collection for someone else. 


Need more information?

Music Rights Australia



(02) 8569 1177


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