[LINK] CISAC and the Copyright Amendment Bill

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Mar 1 23:54:47 AEDT 2007

Hi there,

It seems CISAC are deeply disappointed with the Australian Government for 
what they apparently view as a, "flagrant breach of the Berne Convention"


'Australian Law Snubs Authors'

To the dismay of CISAC and Australian CISAC member societies APRA, 
AWGACS, VISCOPY, and AMCOS, the Australian Federal Government voted the 
Copyright Amendment Bill into law in December 2006. 

The amendments give the public a blanket right to copy music and films 
into other formats ("format-shifting") for "private & domestic purposes", 
without providing any compensation to authors, artists or publishers.

The Australian societies, along with many other music and film industry 
bodies, advocated tirelessly for a statutory licensing system similar to 
that in place in many European countries in which manufacturers and 
importers of materials whose main function is to facilitate the 
reproduction of copyrighted works (blanks CDs, mp3 players, photocopiers, 
etc.) pay a small compensatory amount to copyright organisations in order 
to remunerate rights holders for the multiplied uses of their works.

 "We are deeply disappointed by the Government's failure to properly 
consider the interests of copyright owners," stated APRA CEO and CISAC 
Board Acting Chairman Brett Cottle. 

"The lack of interest in the issue on the part of the Australian Senate 
Committee has been sadly indicative of a singular lack of government 
interest in the idea of statutory compensation for copyright owners for 
private copying, despite the support of just about everyone in the music 
industry except the major record labels."

According to Cottle, rushing the bill through parliament and only 
allowing four hours for public hearings led to a law that fails to meet 
the objectives set forth by the Australian government itself, namely 
sufficient public access to copyright works and balancing the interests 
of all involved parties. The free exception regime that was adopted 
depends on technical protection measures (TPMs) and digital rights 
management applications (DRMs), which prevent reasonable access for the 
public to copyright material. Furthermore, as the interests of copyright 
owners were completely overlooked, equilibrium between the interests of 
users and of rights holders can hardly be claimed.

"But perhaps the most alarming aspect of the policy underpinning the 
format shifting exception is that it will be viewed internationally as a 
flagrant breach of the Berne Convention," continued Cottle. The 
Convention only permits exceptions to the reproduction right enjoyed by 
the authors of copyright works if they are applied only in special cases, 
if they do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and if 
they do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the 
author. Mr. Cottle points out that this law does not fulfil any of these 

Australian copyright societies also fear that the amendment which 
includes a "fair use" statutory exception for parody or satire will be 
exploited by users in order to avoid having to obtain permission to use 
copyright material. This additional blow to the income of copyright 
owners would make expensive litigation an "inevitable result of the 

CISAC shares the Australian societies' concerns regarding this law and 
its impact on their Australian author members as well as the 2.5 million 
foreign creators whose works they represent in Australia.(c) Jan Kuczerawy

(Note: CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and 
Composers, works towards increased recognition and protection of creator 
rights. As of June 2006, CISAC numbers 217 authors' societies from 114 
countries and indirectly represents more than 2.5 million creators within 
all the artistic repertoires: music, drama, literature, audio-visual 
works, graphic and visual arts. The total amount of royalties collected 
by CISAC's member societies, on their national collection territories, 
amounted in 2004 to more than €6,5 billion. It should be noted that 
income from music currently represents almost 90% of all revenue. CISAC 
was founded in 1926 and is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. 
Its headquarters are in Paris, with regional offices in Budapest, Buenos 
Aires and Singapore.)

Cheers all ..
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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