Music is an effective tool to create the right ambience and setting for your establishment. It sets the tone for customers and tells them what kind of business you are from the second they walk-in.
Furthermore, studies have shown that playing music is beneficial for the well-being of a person in many ways, directly affecting the moods and motivations of your staff.
So, it’s simple, right? Get a speaker/PA system set-up, plugin and press play.
Well, not so.
The legalities surrounding the use and reproduction of commercial music are tedious. The copyright laws really put a dent into the whole process. Even playing music from Spotify or Youtube is considered “illegal”, as their licenses do not cover commercial use.
For Malaysian businesses, we’ll try to guide you to the right departments, licenses and paperwork without getting into the nitty-gritty of things. For the application process, skip ahead to the 3rd header.
1. Why Do You Need A License To Play Music?
According to the Music Author’s Copyright Protection (MACP) Berhad, it boils down to The Malaysian Copyright Act of 1987. Simply put, this act serves to protect the music owner’s entitlement to the law, to protect others from using their work without consent.
Generally, in Malaysia, a musical work is protected by copyright laws during the life of its’ author, and for 50 years after his/her death.
Infringement occurs when a person uses, reproduces, performs or rents the work in or to the public, without having received consent from the original author. Consent is mostly granted through fees which are known as royalties.
Copyright laws outline extenuating circumstances which we know as “fair use” terms. Meaning, that copyrighted material can be used without a license for reasons like critique and education.
However, businesses playing music falls under commercial use. So yes, by playing another person’s music in your store without paying, you are technically infringing upon their copyright.