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IFPI welcomes ruling in Aussie radio royalties dispute

By | Published on Tuesday 20 August 2013


The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has welcomed a very recent ruling that brings to an end a long legal battle between the record and radio industries in Australia.

The dispute centred on whether existing music licenses held by commercial radio stations in Australia covered simulcasts, ie when said stations make their services available online as well as via more traditional broadcast methods. The radio industry said that, under Australian copyright law, they did; the record industry argued they did not, and that therefore a new licence was needed for the online output, and more royalties would have to be paid.

The Australian record industry’s rights body PPCA went legal on the matter. The record industry’s interpretation of the law generally held up in court, though various appeals delayed resolution. But last week the High Court Of Australia backed lower court rulings that radio stations do indeed need new licences to webcast sound recordings.

Welcoming last week’s ruling yesterday, IFPI boss Frances Moore told CMU: “This welcome ruling confirms that Australian broadcasters should pay rights holders when they stream their music online. It is a well established principle in most countries that broadcasters should pay a fair rate for the recorded music they use to attract audiences and drive advertising revenues. This principle should hold true when they use simulcasting technology to reach an audience online”.

Meanwhile PPCA CEO Dan Rosen added: “This puts an end to the legal wrangling over payment for recorded music streamed on the internet. It confirms radio stations must pay a licence fee for streamed music and we hope to move quickly to work out a fair and proper licensing deal. We look forward to working with radio to establish equitable arrangements. For too long radio has had a free kick – driving listening audience numbers and profits via the internet while not fairly paying artists for use of their recordings”.