Copyright Tribunal update

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Dear Members,

I said I would update you on what is happening with our cases before the Copyright Tribunal – which is an independent tribunal administered by the Federal Court and has the power to set licence fees where the parties cannot agree the fee.

The cases involve a great deal of work. In the picture to this story, I am packing away only a very small subset of the documents (my five affidavits) we produced to support our case on behalf of publishers for fair payment for use of their copyright material by media monitoring companies. I’d like to thank members and Copyright Agency’s legal and commercial teams for all their extraordinary hard work on these cases. 

Members may recall that we are currently engaged in two cases at the Copyright Tribunal. The first is with Australia’s 39 universities and covers the rate the universities should pay for their use of member’s material as well as covering the measurement system universities use to collect data on usage. The final hearing was in September last year and we are awaiting judgement. We will update members when a judgement is delivered. Details on the Judge’s earlier decision on the interim rate the universities should pay, pending final judgement, are here.

The second Tribunal case we are involved in concerns the rate that media monitoring companies should pay to use news publishers content. We are seeking a judgment on these companies use of both print and digital content. Fair payment for the use of such content is important to sustaining Australian journalism, which is so critical to our civic, commercial and democratic health.

Following the October adjournment of the media monitoring Tribunal case mentioned in our last update, it resumed on Monday 8 February. It was held largely in person before Justice Greenwood, with the other Tribunal members, Dr Rhonda Smith and Ms Michelle Groves, and the overseas economic experts and some other witnesses participating remotely. 

The reason that the October hearings was adjourned was because we had come to a commercial agreement with Streem just prior to these proceedings commencing and we put forward to the Tribunal that agreement for the Tribunal to also consider. The Tribunal wanted to give all the parties time to consider that new agreement which is why they deferred the October hearings to start on 8 February. 

The February hearing ran for three weeks with additional days in March for closing submissions. The case is due to conclude, with our closing submissions, on 23 March. Given the complexity of the matter, it is possible that it will be some considerable time before the Tribunal’s judgment on the licence that is to apply to Isentia and Meltwater is delivered. Isentia and Meltwater will pay the interim rates set by the Tribunal until there is a final judgement. Streem will pay the commercially agreed rate. We will keep members updated if there are any further developments. 

All the best,

Adam 

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