Protecting members’ rights and sustaining publishing, writing and journalism

July 12, 2018

The Copyright Agency is currently protecting the rights of its members through several different actions in the Copyright Tribunal.

NSW Government

As some of you will be aware, we are in dispute with the NSW Government over non-payment of licence fees for over five years.

We participated in mediation on Wednesday 20 June but were regrettably unable to reach agreement. This means that the dispute will now be heard by the Copyright Tribunal.

NSW public servants copy and communicate an enormous amount of material covered by copyright and the Copyright Agency, on behalf of its members, believes that it should pay a fair rate for the use of this material.

You can find more background on this issue here.

The authors Tara Moss, Anna Funder and Malcolm Knox have publicly supported our stands, by speaking to The Daily Telegraph in Sydney. You can read what they had to say here.

The two relevant stories from the Daily Telegraph are here. We will provide further information as it comes to hand.

Media Monitoring Organisations

The three main Australian media monitoring organisations (MMOs), Isentia, Meltwater and Streem, have made three separate applications in the Copyright Tribunal over the licence fees they pay to the Copyright Agency for the content they use and onsell to their clients.

This dispute has arisen because the Copyright Agency sought to introduce a new industry-wide MMO licence designed to cater for the new ways in which MMOs use and deliver content in the digital marketplace.

The three media monitoring organisations disagree with the new rates applicable under the industry model licence and are seeking a resolution in the Tribunal.

These organisations make money out of the material produced by publishers and journalists and it is important that they pay what we believe to be a fair rate for the use of this material.  Such payments are not only right but help to sustain journalism in Australia.

In the meantime, as their licences with the Copyright Agency have recently come up for renewal, they have each asked the Tribunal to make orders about the licence terms and conditions that will apply until the final determination. In the case of Meltwater and Streem, the Tribunal has ordered that their previous licences apply in the interim. Isentia’s application for an interim licence is due to be heard in August. We will provide further information as it comes to hand.

Copibec case settles in Canada

In Canada, the Quebec equivalent of the Copyright Agency, Copibec, and Quebec City’s Université Laval have agreed to put an end to the legal dispute between them concerning copyright royalty management for the university’s teaching and research activities. A settlement of approximately $3m was reached between Copibec and Université Laval. Copyright Agency has a reciprocal agreement with Copibec.

The dispute arose because on June 1, 2014, Université Laval in Quebec City introduced a policy on the use of third-party works by its staff. The policy unilaterally defined the concept of a “short excerpt” and authorized employees to reproduce and use those “short excerpts” from works without getting permission from the authors and publishers and without paying any royalties.

On an annual basis, Université Laval reproduces more than 11 million pages from over 7,000 works and includes them in coursepacks sold to students or made available to them online. Until June 2014, the university had operated under a comprehensive reproduction rights licence from Copibec and, like all Quebec universities, paid a predetermined royalty per student.

Laval is the only educational institution in Quebec to have taken its own approach. All the other institutions have obtained comprehensive licences from Copibec covering the use of copyright-protected content and have agreed to pay the applicable royalties to authors and publishers. Those licences were renewed in 2017.

Copibec and Université Laval are pleased to have found a solution to their dispute through mutual agreement, which they believe meets the needs of the university community while respecting the rights of copyright owners. Both parties recognize that collective licensing is beneficial and promotes academic freedom.

Read the settlement notice.

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