Simpsons Solicitors

Copyright Tribunal determines royalties for retransmission of free-to-air multi-channels

June 1st 2012

The Copyright Tribunal of Australia has handed down its decision in Audio-Visual Copyright Society Limited (Screenrights) v Foxtel Management Pty Limited. The case involves the payment of royalties by Foxtel for the retransmission of broadcasts from free-to-air multi-channels. It follows on from a 2006 decision in which the Copyright Tribunal determined the royalties for the retransmission of free-to-air television broadcasts.

During the period between the 2006 decision and 2010 when Screenrights made its application to the Tribunal, 9 new free-to-air multi-channels launched on Australian TV. Foxtel argued that its retransmissions from these channels were covered by the 2006 decision. The Copyright Tribunal rejected this argument and has determined a royalty of 10 cents per subscriber per month (which is higher than what Foxtel submitted was the appropriate royalty rate and lower than what Screenrights contended for).

In their decision, Deputy President Jagot and Dr Sibly have provided some useful guidance for how such matters are to be approached in the future.

The decision is also interesting in light of broader debates about the value of television broadcasts. The Copyright Tribunal states [at line 188]

‘The evidence in the present case leads us to the same conclusion that the previous Tribunal reached that the benefits to Foxtel subscribers from the retransmissions and thus the value of those retransmissions to Foxtel are best described under the heading of “convenience”.’

The decision will shortly be available here:

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/ACopyT/2010/

To read more about this story go to:

http://www.copyright.org.au/news-and-policy/details/id/2113/

For inquiries relating to publishing and copyright law please contact Adam Simpson.