-- JonathanMo - 14 Sep 2015

Collective Administration of Copyright Rights and Compulsory Licence Schemes

There are a large number of compulsory licence and royalty collection and payment schemes.

The best known collecting agency is probably the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA), which was formed for the purpose of granting licences for the public performance of musical works. The members make an assignment to APRA of the public performance, broadcasting and diffusion rights in their past and future compositions, subject to a reservation of 'grand rights' to the copyright owner. APRA enters into licence agreements with television and radio stations, with film companies, cinemas and theatres, the operators of discos and juke boxes. It receives money from all these sources which it pools and distributes following complex procedures designed to ensure that fair payment is received by each copyright owner for the use of their music.

The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) fulfils a similar role in respect of universities and educational institutions in respect of reproduction of works or extracts for teaching and research purposes.

In summary, some of the more significant schemes include the following:
  • copying by educational institutions: under copyright law educational institutions are, provided certain procedures are followed, allowed to make copies of works for their students. The institutions are obliged to make equitable payments to the CAL (see Useful organisations, this section) which then distributes payments to copyright owners.
  • copying of musical works: no infringement of copyright occurs where cover versions of previously recorded musical works are made for the purposes of retail sale. A royalty must, however, be paid to the owner of the copyright. This royalty is collected by the Australasian Mechanical Owners' Society.
  • broadcast of musical works: a commercial radio station must pay royalties to the copyright owners of songs it broadcasts. The amount of this royalty is fixed by the Copyright Tribunal and in practice is collected by the record companies. A person who owns premises where copyright works are played or performed, such as a juke box, venue for live music or a shop or office where music is played, must also pay a royalty to the copyright owner. This royalty is collected by the Australasian Performing Rights Association.
  • copying by institutions assisting intellectually disabled people: institutions are permitted to copy work to assist intellectually disabled readers in their research, study or instruction. Again equitable payments have to be made to CAL.
  • copying by government departments: Federal, State or Territory governments can copy work without permission from the copyright owner. However, a government department is obliged to notify the copyright owner as soon as possible, and the owner of copyright is entitled to charge a fee for the use of the work. CAL has entered into agreements with the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments about the copying of its members' works. It is important to note that these agreements only relate to work owned by CAL members.

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