Music (Including Performers)
Agency agreements

Actors, musicians and bands often appoint agents or managers to act on their behalf. Visual artists often have a dealer who represents them. The manager or agent can enter into contracts that are binding on the person who appointed them (the principal). There are specific legal rules which apply to these agency relationships.

This information sheet explains what an agency is, how it is created, the authority granted to an agent, an agent's obligations, and the important terms of agency agreements. It also deals with any state legislation that applies to agents, managers and venue consultants in the entertainment industry. Bands and visual artists should also read the “Music management checklist” and “Artist-gallery checklist”.

Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Arts Law Mediation Service

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR are processes to resolve disputes without going to court, including by mediation and expert determination. This information sheet discusses different types of ADR and how the Arts Law mediation service works.

Business names, Trade Marks and Domain Names

This information sheet provides an overview on professional names, including the steps you can take to protect your Business names, Trade Marks and Domain Names.

Children in the creative process (ACT)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in the Australian Capital Territory should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises ACT laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (NSW)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in New South Wales should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises NSW laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (NT)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in the Northern Territory should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises NT laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (QLD)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Queensland should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises QLD laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (SA)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in South Australia should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises SA laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. This information sheet must be read in conjunction with the general information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia since that fact sheet explains how the various federal laws operate. This information sheet explains how the South Australia laws relate to you as an artist working with children. It includes information about the employment of children, background checks, pornography and obscenity offences and the application of classification legislation in South Australia.

Children in the creative process (TAS)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Tasmania should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises TAS laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (VIC)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Victoria should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises VIC laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (WA)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Western Australia should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises WA laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process - Australia

Federal, State and Territory laws all impact on how an artist works with children as part of the creative or artistic process. This information sheet looks at Australia’s national laws relevant to working with children including the censorship regime related to the classification of films, computer games and other publications.

This information sheet must be read together with the information sheet that is specific to the state or territory in which the artist is working.

Classification and censorship

Artists should be aware that they might be required to have their works classified. Whether an artist has an obligation to have a particular work classified depends on a number of factors, including the medium of the work, its content and how it is being used.

This Information sheet explains the different classification systems that apply to different types of creative works including films, computer games, publications and artworks as well as the available exemptions such as for festivals. This scheme is administered by the Classification Board. This information sheet also discusses the regulation of content for television, radio and internet by the Australian Communications and Media Authority as well as the voluntary labelling guidelines for audio tapes, records and CDs that have been developed by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) and the Australian Music Retailers' Association (AMRA).

Contracts: A glossary of jargon

When negotiating, discussing, entering or arguing about an agreement, a vocabulary of unfamiliar word and expressions may be introduced into the conversation.

This information sheet contains a list of some of the more common legal terms that you might come across in negotiations as well as words and expressions that may appear in an agreement. This information sheet should be read in conjunction with Arts Law’s information sheet Contracts: An introduction

Copyright

Copyright provides a way for artists to protect and monetise their creativity. Knowing how to license copyright and earn a royalty gives artists a way to make money from their work. Knowing what to do if someone makes an unauthorised copy is also vital. This information sheet will introduce you to some of the copyright basics.

Arts Law has a number of sample copyright licences, as well as an information sheet on ‘Copyright infringement and letter of demand”. 

Copyright Collecting Societies

Collecting societies collect royalties on behalf of their members. Their members are artists, authors, musicians and other owners of copyright in works (such as music, lyrics, visual art and literature) or other copyright material (such as sound recordings, films, and television broadcasts). They may also be visual artists entitled to resale royalties in respect of their visual artworks.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organisation which provides a set of free, generic licences which creators of intellectual property can use to distribute their work to the public digitally. It was launched in the United States in 2001 founded on the concept that people can contribute to a shared 'commons' of creative works by effectively giving up certain rights in a copyright work and allowing others freely to use, adapt, modify and distribute this work.

Debt recovery letter of demand

This information sheet explains the function of a letter of demand for debt recovery. It includes a sample letter of demand for the recovery of money following your supply of goods or services (eg. sale of artwork, performance fees) to a person or organisation.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (information for Artists) (QLD)

This information sheet provides an introduction into about how one can chase outstanding payment in Queensland. It provides clarification on the small claims procedure in Queensland.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (VIC)

When chasing payment for goods or services, the first step is generally to send a letter of demand to the other party telling them of the dispute and the money outstanding, and giving them a defined period within which to settle the matter or else face legal action.

This information sheet assumes that the contracts under which money is owed are legally enforceable, and that the debts are not subject to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)or the National Credit Code. If you are unsure, please contact Arts Law on (02) 9356 2566 or toll-free on 1800 221 457.

When chasing payment for goods or services, the first step is generally to send a letter of demand to the other party telling them of the dispute and the money outstanding, and giving them a defined period within which to settle the matter or else face legal action.

When sending a letter of demand, you should be careful not to:

·         harass the debtor – they have the right to complain about this behaviour to particular government agencies and the police; or

·         send a letter which is designed to look like a court document because this is illegal.

A guideline on acceptable and unacceptable debt collection practices is published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) It is available at the ASIC websiteas ASIC Regulatory Guide 96 - Debt collection guideline: for collectors and creditors; and is also available at the ACCC website.

For assistance with drafting This information sheet assumes that the contracts under which money is owed are legally enforceable, and that the debts are not subject to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)or the National Credit Code. If you are unsure, please contact Arts Law on (02) 9356 2566 or toll-free on 1800 221 457.

Defamation law (for material published after January 2006)

Artists often have questions about whether their work defames someone. This information sheet describes the law of defamation (sometimes called libel or slander) as it applies to work published after January 2006. It explains how to minimise the risk of defamation and what the defences are if you are threatened with a defamation action. 

Defamation law (for material published before January 2006)

Artists often have questions about whether their work defames someone. This information sheet describes the law of defamation (sometimes called libel or slander) as it applies to work published before January 2006. It explains how to minimise the risk of defamation and what the defences are if you are threatened with a defamation action. 

Direct Licensing Guidelines

This information sheet is for small Australian record companies and independent artists that have an input agreement with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). All record companies and independent artists that are PPCA licensors must have direct licensing guidelines that outline the circumstances in which they may directly licence public performance and transmission rights for their sound recordings. This information sheet includes sample Direct Licensing Guidelines. All PPCA licensors are entitled to free legal advice from Arts Law about their guidelines and input agreements. For advice, lodge a query here.

Disclaimers, exclusion clauses and risk warnings

This information explains the difference between a disclaimer and an exclusion clause in a contract and the circumstances when a risk warning should be used. It explains when you should use them, what they mean and the effectiveness of such clauses or statements in limit liability for injury, loss or damage. This information sheet should be read in conjunction with our insurance and liability information sheet.

Freedom of expression

The Australian Constitution does not expressly protect the freedom of expression and there are also limitations that can inhibit creative freedom in some situations, including defamation, anti-vilification, classification and censorship laws and the treason and urging violence offences. 

Liability and insurance

Accidents can happen when you operate a business or conduct your creative activity. It is important you understand your ‘liability’ or legal responsibility to compensate for damage or injury to people and property. This information sheet explains liability, risk management  and insurance. 

Moral rights

Moral rights protect the personal relationship between a creator and their work even if the creator no longer owns the work, or the copyright in the work. Moral rights concern the creator’s right to be properly attributed or credited, and the protection of their work from derogatory treatment. This information sheet provides an overview of moral rights and what constitutes infringement, it should be read in conjunction with the Moral rights infringement and letter of demand information sheet.

Moral rights infringement and letter of demand

Moral rights protect the personal relationship between a creator and their work even if the creator no longer owns the work, or the copyright in the work. If you receive legal advice that your moral rights have been infringed, it may be appropriate to send a letter of demand. This information sheet explains what a letter of demand is and contains a sample letter of demand. This information sheet should be read in conjunction with the information sheet on Moral rights

Music Copyright and Publishing for Bands and Recording Artists

Composers, lyricists, independent recording artists and bands that own the copyright in their music can derive income through the licensing and performance of their compositions and sound recordings. This information sheet explains music copyright and royalties, the role of collecting societies such as APRA/AMCOS and PPCA, and music publishing. Sample agreements that may be relevant include Music Recording agreements guide, Music Studio Recording Agreement for Unsigned Artists and Session Musician’s release

Musicians and composers: useful resources

This information sheet lists resources, including sample agreements, which musicians, composers, songwriters and bands may find useful. It includes a brief description of the different music copyright collecting societies including APRA|AMCOS and PPCA,  the resources available on the website of the Arts Law Centre of Australia and relevant national and state music organisations.

Patents

Patents are a way of protecting inventions. If you have created a useful product or process, you may be entitled to register a patent. This information sheet provides a description of the types of inventions eligible for patent protection. It also provides an outline of how to apply and who can apply for a patent, as well as information on business method patents.

Performers’ rights

Actors, circus performers, musicians, dancers and other live performers may have performers’ rights in their performances. These rights include the right to control the recording and broadcast of live performances, limited copyright in certain sound recordings of live performances and moral rights. This information sheet provides an overview of performers’ rights and what constitutes infringement. These rights can be managed through contract, such as Performer’s Release, Session Musician’s Release and One-off Performance Partnership Deed.

Social Media for Artists

The Internet provides artists with a platform to access a worldwide audience for their work.  Social media, in particular, is a ready-made do-it-yourself mechanism for distributing, promoting, exhibiting and even selling creative content whether music, visual art, film, literature or other multi-platform art forms. This information sheet addresses the legal issues that can arise for artists using social media to publish their work.

Superannuation and contract for services

This information sheet provides a summary of, and guide to, the superannuation guarantee charge, including the different aspects of superannuation and the responsibilities of employers, employees and self employed workers.

Trade marks

An explanation of who can apply for a trade mark, how to register a trade mark, and what can be registered as a trade mark. An overview of the registration process, reasons why a application may be refused and preventing others to use your trade mark.