FAQs for Music Users

1. What is the definition of ‘playing recorded music in public’?

The European and Cypriot courts have decided that music which is played within the workplace, during a public event and/or during any business activity – excluding any domestic setting – is defined as: ‘playing music in public’. A licence from Asteras is required when recorded music, including radio and TV, is played in public.
However, any recorded music being played as part of a domestic setting or when there is an audience comprised entirely of friends and/or family, a licence is not required.

2. Which businesses must obtain a license?

Shopping malls, banks, exhibition halls, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, discos, supermarkets, hotels as well as any other type of business which publicly uses or takes advantage of a musical piece is obliged to pay the collective rights in advance.

3. I only use foreign music, why should I pay Asteras?

Asteras does not protect only the Greek-Cypriot musical repertoire, but also the international musical repertoire. This is why anyone who uses public music, whether Greek or foreign, must previously obtain the appropriate licence from Asteras.

4. I only use radio (or television) in my shop, why should I pay Asteras?

When radio or television is being transmitted in a family environment, it is for personal use only. However, when radio or television is being transmitted in a public place, its purpose is to take advantage of the atmosphere it creates therefore, a licence is required. At this point, it must be stressed that any music played during, before or after broadcasting news, football matches etc., is also subject to the payment of collective rights.

5. I own the CD or download, so why do I have to pay again to play it in public?

Buying a CD or download only allows you to use it for domestic purposes, such as listening to it at home for private enjoyment. On every sound carrier (CD/LP/cassettes etc.) it is mentioned that the use of the content is only intended for private use, and that its reproduction and public usage is prohibited without the rightful owner(s’) permission – something which is covered by law N 59/76.

If however, you play a CD or download (or other forms of recorded music) in public, then in almost all cases an Asteras licence is legally required.

6. Am I obliged to pay rights for the music played in my hotel?

The use of music in public spaces as well as inside the hotel rooms presupposes the ownership of the appropriate licence of collective rights. The law and the decision of the European Court (decision of the court of European Communities 7/12/06 ΣΓΑΕ case Ψ306/05) describe hotel rooms as public space meaning that the use of music in these rooms without first obtaining the appropriate licence, is illegal.

7. I am about to open a shop, should I obtain a licence from Asteras?

In order for a business to legally play recorded music in public, the owner must previously obtain the appropriate licences – one of which being the licence for neighbouring rights, so that they can then legally use the repertoire.

8. Do I need a licence from both Asteras and PRS for Music?

Asteras and PRS for Music are two separate independent companies and in most cases a licence is required from both organisations for you to legally play recorded music in public. While we both licence the use of music and collect royalties for the music industry, we represent different rights holders and have separate licences and terms and conditions.
Asteras collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes fees for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters and composers.

9. What does Asteras do with the money it collects?

The collective rights which Asteras collects from the public use of music, are distributed to their rightful owners both in Cyprus and overseas, following a thorough and exhaustive process to ensure that the funds are appropriately allocated.

10. What is the law relating to playing recorded music in public?

The law N 59/76 (as it has been amended) states that it is compulsory to own a licence which covers a music user for the Performers’ Rights of any musical piece which will be played in public – outside the immediate family circle.

11. What happens if I have been using music without a licence? Do charges apply for prior years use?

It is the music user’s responsibility to ensure they have the correct licences in place before using any copyright material.

If you have been using music without a licence, you may be liable to make a payment to cover the years you have been using music without a licence.

• Asteras reserves the right to charge for previous years of music use and the right to change its policy from time to time with regard to the application of charges for prior years.

Where a music user has refused to obtain a licence and continues to use our music and we have to take further steps to protect our rights, we will pursue payment of royalties to cover all years that music has been used.

12. What happens if my business plays recorded music but doesn’t get a licence from Asteras?

When a business or organisation requires an Asteras licence but does not obtain one, they will be infringing copyright and may ultimately face legal proceedings. Legal proceedings are very much a last resort, but unfortunately are sometimes necessary. A court can order the business to pay its outstanding licence fees, a fine, plus Asteras’ legal costs and issue a court order known as an injunction to stop the business playing recorded music until this is done.

13. I wasn’t aware of the requirement for a licence.

As with any licencing requirement, it is the responsibility of the music user to understand and meet their legal obligations.

If music is used in your premises, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct licences are in place so that you and/or any person working on your premises can utilise copyright music in public lawfully. In Cyprus, everyone is required to comply with copyright law.

14. What happens if I remove music from now on?

A music user, such as the proprietor of a business, requires a copyright licence covering the duration of copyright music use in their premises. Music users can choose to stop using copyright music on their premises and will not require a copyright licence once performances have ceased. However, they may be required to pay a licence fee to cover any copyright music use to that date.

15. I only use music whose composers are dead for more than 70 years. Do I need a licence from Asteras?

This period (70 years after the death of the creator) is related to the protection provided to the intellectual property rights of the composers/lyric writers.
Asteras on the other hand manages the related rights on behalf of the interpreters, performers and record producers which are subject to a different period of protection. A piece of music is protected for 70 years after the fixation or if it has been legally published for 70 years after the first legal publication according to the new EU directive.