Copyright Agency takes Government of New South Wales to Copyright Tribunal

Luke AlcottAustralia, Copyright law, News

The Copyright Agency in Australia will be taking the Government of New South Wales (NSW) to Copyright Tribunal after it has failed to make proper payment for using copyrighted materials. According to the Copyright Agency these breaches of copyright have taken place over five years and have led to up to 200 million pages of copyrighted material being used without compensation or consent from the authors that created them.

Juliet Rogers, CEO of the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has said: “As the peak body representing authors in Australia, the ASA strongly supports Copyright Agency’s decision to take the NSW Government to the Copyright Tribunal. For many of our authors, licensing fees are an important part of their annual income and it is both unfair and deeply upsetting that one State Government should simply refuse to recompense authors and illustrators for their creative work. We are sure that Copyright Agency has taken every reasonable step to resolve this issue and applaud them for continuing to fight on our members’ behalf.”

The IAF supports the Copyright Agency in its actions: while it is good that the work of these authors contribute to the benefit of people in New South Wales, there should be due compensation to reflect this through legitimate use of these works.

The Copyright Agency Press release can be found in full below

20 November, 2017
Copyright Agency, the body representing the copyright and licensing interests of thousands of authors, publishers, photographers, media and content creators, has been forced to take the NSW Government to the Copyright Tribunal after it refused to pay a fair rate for using copyright material for five years.

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The NSW Government is the only government in Australia refusing to pay a fair rate for using the copyright material of our members. For five years we have attempted to get the NSW Government to recognise the value in tens of millions of pages of author, publisher, researcher, photographer, cartoonist and journalist content.

“In this time, thousands of NSW executives and public servants have copied up to 200 million pages of copyright material without the appropriate approval or recompense for Australian creators.
“Whether it’s health, engineering or science journals, media articles, safety handbooks or illustrations, our members’ material is a vital source of intelligence that benefits portfolios and informs decisions across government.

“Over 200,000 NSW Government employees use and distribute copyright material – such as newspaper, magazine and journal articles, survey plans, photos and illustrations – in the course of their work every day.

“We are proud that this material provides an important input into serving the people of NSW – but we believe that our members should receive fair payment for use of this work.

“It is an accepted standard that governments pay a market rate to cover the use and sharing of copyright material and the use of such material is covered by the Copyright Agency licence.

“This refusal to pay a fair rate hurts Australian writers, journalists, cartoonists, photographers, publishers and visual artists, and harms their ability to invest, innovate and develop more, new Australian content.

“There is a simple win-win solution available, which is for NSW to come to a commercial agreement in line with the Commonwealth and all other state and territory governments.

“The unnecessary and undesirable alternative is for the Copyright Agency to represent its members rights in an expensive legal action which will waste a huge amount of public resources.

“The last such dispute between the NSW Government and the Copyright Agency took 10 years to conclude – in the Copyright Agency’s favour – and cost millions of dollars.”

You can also the press release on their website here.