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Australian competition authority reports back on collective licensing investigation

By | Published on Wednesday 16 October 2013


The Australian competition authority has concluded an investigation into the country’s collective licensing system, or more specifically the operations of the Aussie music publishing sector’s collecting society APRA, mainly concluding that the body’s operations do not raise significant competition concerns even though, like most collecting societies around the world, APRA has a “virtual monopoly” in those areas where the music publishing sector chooses to licence as one.

Sources say that the investigation generated a flood of comment, from creators, rights owners and licensees, some of it scathing of the collecting society, or the collective licensing system in general. But The Australian Competition And Consumer Commission said that in the main the “public benefit test has been met” with regards APRA’s operations, noting the efficiencies and cost savings for all resulting from the collective licensing process.

That said, there are some requirements for APRA in the ACCC’s draft report, including clearer communications around the way collective licensing operates and how dispute resolution processes work. The society was also told that it should educate its members better on those scenarios where there is the option to “licence back” or “opt out” so to enter into direct licensing deals with licensees in areas usually handled by APRA.

The ACCC will now except further submissions in response to the draft report, before publishing a final document on its APRA investigation later this year.