Digital licensing expands Copyright Agency revenue with a $115m return to members

November 24, 2016

Copyright Agency distributed $115m to its members in the 2015-16 financial year, with a positive expansion in licensing particularly among corporates, media intelligence companies and colleges.

Copyright Agency’s CEO, Adam Suckling told members at the not-for-profit’s AGM in Sydney that the company had distributed an average of $100m a year to members over the past decade.

Over the past year, the Copyright Agency has focused on ensuring use of its members’ content is licensed, as well as providing flexible and tailored licensing solutions to customers.

Some key highlights in licensing use of members’ work, generating monies for members and offering innovative licensing solutions to customers included:

  • New agreements with media intelligence company Isentia for their use of media content, which included licensing new digital forms of use by their customers.
  • Continued rollout of our LearningField offer – which provides high schools with subscription access to over 12,000 chapters of digital textbooks from major Australian publishers.
  • Ongoing growth in the commercial licensing area of 12% – as more Australian corporations recognise the importance of a copyright licence for best practice governance and seamless information sharing. Licensees include Mitsubishi Motors Australia, Cochlear, Australian Football League, City of Melbourne and Pfizer.

The Copyright Agency also continued to work with key clients on licensing arrangements in government, the private higher education market, universities and schools.

The Copyright Agency concentrated on serving members including distributing monies to members, allocating grants under the Cultural Fund, and advocating for a Copyright Act that respects the rights of artists.

View a summary of key highlights

“It’s critical that as a membership-based organisation we not only ensure publishers, writers and visual artists are paid fairly for use of their work, but that we advocate strongly, on behalf of our 40,000 members, for a modern Copyright Act that respects their rights,” said Mr Suckling.

“We have worked closely with a broad group representing media, publishing, music, film and television companies as well as writers, musicians, filmmakers and visual artists to put the case to Government about the importance a Copyright Act that supports Australian innovation and creativity.

“This will ensure we have cultural icons of the future, the likes of Magda Szubanksi, Jimmy Barnes, Reg Mombassa and Tara Moss.”

CEO of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling

CEO of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling

Mr Suckling reported the Copyright Agency continues to support Australian creativity through its Cultural Fund, with more than $2m being granted to the creative community in 2015-16.

He named prize-winning Aboriginal author Melissa Lucashenko as the 2016 Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Author Fellow. The fellowship is one of the richest in Australia, having been doubled to $80,000 this year.

Visual artist members have also benefitted with a rise in licence revenue of 7% from partner organisation Viscopy. Additionally, over the past six years the Resale Royalty scheme has generated $4m for visual artists (more than half being Indigenous artists living in remote areas).