“The radio caps are unfair and anti-competitive."
The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), a non-profit organisation that provides blanket licenses for the use of music in Australia, has started a petition demanding fairer royalties payments for songs played on the radio.
More specifically, it asks for the removal of radio payment caps.
PPCA’s campaign aims to ensure Australian artists and rights holders of music are paid fairly for the use of their recordings on radio.
The organisation explained in a series of slides that the ABC and profitable radio are exempt from paying a fair market rate, as set by a legislated cap that began over 50 years ago.
“Artificial caps, set in the Copyright Act over 50 years ago, limit how much radio stations pay to play music (specifically sound recordings),” the PPCA’s petition description reads. “There are no caps in any other form of copyright, and numerous reviews have recommended removal of these limits.
“The radio caps are unfair and anti-competitive. The caps should be removed allowing the market to determine an appropriate rate so artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for their music.”
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For these reasons, the PPCA is petitioning the Australian House of Representatives to “remove the broadcast radio caps on sound recordings from the Copyright Act, to ensure artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for the use of their music.”
The petition has 21 days to go, with a closing date of 28 April at 11:59 pm AEST. You can sign the petition here.
In 2016, the PPCA and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) reached a conclusion after the Australian Copyright Tribunal handed down its final orders for CRA to pay licence fees for songs aired as part of a simultaneous online stream (simulcast).
In a statement, the PPCA acknowledged the "very positive outcome" of its case against CRA, which passed through "a Federal Court Case, a Full Federal Court Case, a High Court review, numerous Government inquiries, a regional radio station boycott, lobbying campaigns to four separate Communications Ministers, and a Copyright Tribunal case".
As The Music reported at the time, the PPCA was calling for a per-stream basis, a la Spotify and Pandora, while CRA advocated a percentage-of-revenue-based rate.
According to The Music Network, those stations choosing to pursue the flat per-stream rate were looking at coughing up $0.0059 a pop, while the percentage-of-revenue set would have its fees calculated based on the station's use of music.
Regardless of which plan licensees ultimately chose, the PPCA seemed happy to have secured some degree of progress for rights-holders in Australia. As their new petition shows, they're not done with the fight.