Powerful lobby groups seek to use COVID-19 to undermine creators

August 13, 2021

“Dear Members,

As you know, Copyright Agency is a strong advocate for the importance of copyright. It protects your rights, supports and sustains Australian creativity, provides a framework to support jobs and investment and ensures users can access a wide range of material.

This week, a powerful lobbying group put out a misleading statement in support of their campaign to water down copyright protections in the Copyright Act.

Copyright Agency, along with key creator representative groups have responded to that statement with the below press release. We will continue to work with the Government on these issues.” Adam Suckling

Local Australian creator groups, including the Australian Society of Authors, Australian Publishers Association, Copyright Agency, APRA AMCOS, Screenrights and ARIA | PPCA have urged powerful education, cultural government entities and big tech not to use the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine creator rights.

A statement issued today by the lobby group the Australian Digital Alliance, made up by major education institutions, cultural government entities and big tech uses incorrect information around access to copyright material in an opportunistic attempt to persuade the Government to strip away local creator rights.

The last eighteen months have been devastating for so many local artists, authors, performers, songwriters, musicians, publishers and film-makers, who are all sole traders or small businesses. But despite this, local creator groups have led the way in providing content users, including the education sector, with permission to use content in new online contexts. In some cases licence fees have been either deferred, discounted or waived entirely.

The recent statement by the lobby group fails to recognise these concessions and pursues an argument that users of creators’ content have been denied access to that content over the last eighteen months. This is not the case.

Instead, the lobby group appears to be seeking to pursue major reductions in the royalties they pay creators through legislative and public relations tactics, rather than negotiating the commercial value of this content.

Local content creators agree there are important steps to modernise copyright in Australia, but it really is past time for creators to be better supported by any proposed reforms and for powerful user lobby groups to recognise the importance of copyright to support a sustainable and thriving local creative sector.

Media enquiries

Nicholas Pickard
0439 227 656

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