Statement – 30 July 2020
On 22 July 2020, Screenrights filed an application to the Copyright Tribunal for a determination of equitable remuneration for retransmission of free-to-air television by Foxtel.
Foxtel and Screenrights have been unable to reach an agreement on the licence fee for the retransmission by Foxtel of free-to-air channels. Negotiations between the parties have been ongoing since August 2019, and Foxtel has not paid Screenrights for the use of retransmission rights since 31 December 2019.
This is the third occasion Screenrights has had to apply to the Copyright Tribunal to determine an equitable licence rate for Foxtel. It is the fifth time in over thirty years that Screenrights has been in the Tribunal for a licence fee determination.
Screenrights Chair, Kim Dalton, said: “Screenrights only seeks the Copyright Tribunal’s ruling as a last resort. While it is disappointing to be in the Tribunal again, it is vital that we continue to support copyright owners and ensure that they receive a fair payment for the use of their content. This is especially important now when so many of our members in the creative arts sector are suffering from the severe economic impacts of the pandemic and rely on receiving this income. We look forward to the Tribunal’s consideration of this important question.”
Retransmission is where Foxtel carries the free-to-air channels on its cable and satellite services and distributes them to customers along with its own channels. Foxtel does so under a statutory licence provision in Part VC of the Copyright Act, 1968. Screenrights is appointed by the Commonwealth Government as the collecting society to administer the licence. Screenrights collects the remuneration on behalf of all the copyright owners of the programs retransmitted.
The Copyright Act provides that if the parties are unable to agree, the licence fee “equitable remuneration” can be determined by the Copyright Tribunal, a division of the Federal Court.
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