Future Fund changes
July 12, 2018
A message from the CEO, Adam Suckling.
I write to update you on the Copyright Agency’s Future Fund which was established by a 2013 Board decision to safeguard the interests of our members in light of serious threats from proposed changes to Australia’s copyright laws.
In the interests of members, the Copyright Agency Board decided to set aside $15 million, accumulated over a period of time, for targeted advocacy and/or strategic litigation in the event of a serious change to copyright legislation.
In Canada, a similar situation had an immediate impact on author and publisher revenues which collapsed by 80 per cent. The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Executive Director, the poet and author, John Degen described the detrimental impact of these changes as follows “It’s taken many years to get to this point where our lawmakers are publicly acknowledging that unlicensed educational copying is causing real, measurable damage to our culture.” Read more.
There has been considerable pressure here in Australia for the Government to also relax our current fair copyright laws, to follow a comparable approach that was followed in Canada.
The Board recently reviewed the operation of the Future Fund, as it has previously undertaken to do.
Given that there remains a real and significant threat to our members from adverse law reform or legal challenges, the Board resolved that it was appropriate to maintain the Future Fund and ensure that we are best placed to act quickly in the interests of members if necessary.
However, it also reviewed the amount of money considered prudent to maintain in the Future Fund and resolved that it was appropriate to reduce the overall cap from $15m to $12m.
This reduction will take place over three years, with $1m a year returned to members by way of an offset against operating costs consistent with our current distribution policy.
Myself and the Board will continue to update members on its periodic reviews of the Future Fund.