Strathfield Council agrees to pay for news copyright breaches
December 13, 2017
Strathfield Council in Sydney has issued an apology and agreed to pay damages for infringing the copyright of newspaper publishers and others. The Council has also purchased a Copyright Agency licence in recognition of the role grassroots journalism plays in providing valuable information to its operations.
Copyright Agency’s CEO, Adam Suckling says. “In 2015 the Copyright Agency renewed its focus on copyright compliance in local government after many years of trying to engage with the sector. Copyright licences ensure creators and publishers are paid fairly for the use of their work.
“Strathfield Council was identified as having archived its media clippings and made them available via its website. Strathfield Council did not have the necessary copyright licence in place to do either of those things.”
Following discussions with the Copyright Agency, Strathfield Council has agreed to pay for an annual copyright licence, and to make a payment for past use, as well as issuing a public statement of apology.
The following apology has been offered to Australian publishers:
Prior to 2016, Strathfield Council had for a number of years, due to a technical error in the coding of its former website (by an external party), inadvertently provided limited public access to newspaper articles without the authority from the relevant newspaper publisher or its agent.
Strathfield Council acknowledges that in so doing it infringed the publishers’ copyright and apologises to the publishers.
It has now agreed to obtain a licence from Copyright Agency Limited and reached a settlement with the publishers in respect of the breaches of copyright.
“The Council has taken a very positive step and is now demonstrating exemplary good governance which is an example that every council in Australia should follow,” Mr Suckling says.
“Overall there is genuine lack of understanding about copyright law by councils and this presents a perpetual risk of inadvertent copyright infringement.
“The key to fixing this is with education, and we are pleased to be working with Strathfield Council on providing them with not only a value-for-money licensing solution but training to improve future practices,” he says.
“The Copyright Agency is encouraging Local Councils across Australia to contact us and work together to reach a resolution to provide licences that ensure content that is copied, shared and stored is done with the appropriate permissions, and the creators are fairly compensated for their work.”
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