Tribunal update – better measurement for members

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On 10 August Copyright Agency (CA) filed an important opening Position Paper with the Copyright Tribunal in support of implementing a new digital way of collecting data about the use of members’ material to teach millions of Australian school students.

The aim of the new digital measurement system is to enable CA to collect data on what material is used to teach students, reduce administrative burden on schools and teachers, and ensure CA is better able to continue to pay members for use of their work.

In 2019 CA agreed with all state Departments of Education, the Catholic schools and the independent school representative bodies that they would work together to develop new data collection systems, including using modern digital technology, to commence on 1 January 2021.

That agreement included an option for either party to request the Copyright Tribunal (Tribunal) to assist with new data collection arrangements. The Tribunal is administered by the Federal Court and has the power to determine new data collection approaches.

CA decided it wanted the assistance of the Tribunal and so on 18 May CA filed an application in the Tribunal requesting it determine a suitable data collection method. It did not bring this action in an adversarial way, but rather with a view that the parties and the Tribunal would work together to secure a sensible result.

The matter has been listed before Justice Jagot, the Deputy President of the Copyright Tribunal. The Tribunal has ordered that CA and Schools file their Position Papers. A Position Paper is a written summary of the main points and arguments that the parties will make, and expand upon, at the Tribunal hearing. On 10 August CA filed its Position Paper. CA’s position is that technological solutions should be implemented, as it would enable more accurate data to be collected and impose less burden on schools and teachers. Schools have until 12 October to file their Position Paper.

The next case management hearing of the Tribunal is set for 18 October. It is likely that on this date the Tribunal will refer the parties to compulsory mediation.

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