Use of ‘broadcast’ in copyright exceptions

16.15 A range of exceptions in the Copyright Act use the terms ‘broadcast’, ‘broadcasting’ or ‘broadcaster’. These exceptions include those concerning time shifting and retransmission of free-to-air broadcasts, which are discussed separately elsewhere.[11] Other exceptions that refer to the concept of a broadcast include those providing for free-use exceptions[12] and for remunerated use, subject to statutory licensing.[13]

16.16 Distinctions currently made in copyright law between broadcast and other platforms may be increasingly difficult to understand in a changing media environment. Similar content includes, increasingly, television content made available on the internet and internet radio.

16.17 The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) advised that an online research survey, conducted in 2011, showed that almost four in 10 respondents watched television or video content both offline and online (38%); less than a third watched this material solely offline (31%); and some were solely online viewers (12%).[14]

16.18 A recent ACMA report highlights growth in the availability of commercially-developed video content over the internet. This includes: catch-up television offered by free-to-air broadcasters on an ‘over the top’ basis, enabling viewers to access recently aired shows via the internet; high-end internet protocol television (IPTV) services providing users with access to video content in return for a subscription, or fee-per-view provided by internet service providers; and ‘over the top’ content services offered direct from the content provider to the consumer.[15]

16.19 The ACMA notes that ‘the supply of IPTV services has continued to expand over the 2011–12 period, encouraged by increased competition between ISPs and higher available bandwidth’. The ways in which consumers can access video content, including IPTV services, are expanding and the rollout of the National Broadband Network is likely to provide significant additional stimulus to the supply and take up of online content.[16]

16.20 Stakeholders identified the existing definition of broadcast, for copyright law purposes, as increasingly problematic in this environment.[17] The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) noted that, due to technological change, statutory licences under ss 47, 70, 107 and 109 of the Copyright Act provide only part of the rights necessary for the ABC to deliver content. The ABC stated that when content is broadcast relying on one of these statutory licences, it is ‘administratively burdensome, complex and costly’ to then have to seek licences when the content moves online, for example, for catch-up television. This, the ABC said, ‘renders the statutory licence ineffective in the digital economy’.[18] The ABC suggested that these provisions ‘need to be rephrased in a technology-neutral way in order to support broadcasters as technologies converge’.[19]

[11] See Chs 9, 15.

[12] Relevant free-use exceptions are provided by: Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) ss 45, 47(1), 70(1), 107(1), 67, 199, 200(2). In addition: s 28(6) provides a free-use exception for the communication of television and sound broadcasts, in class, in the course of educational instruction. However, because the performance and communication of works or other subject-matter contained in the broadcast is covered by s 28(1), (4) and there is no copyright in an internet transmission itself, internet transmission is effectively covered. Similarly, s 135ZT provides a free-use exception. The exception is part of the statutory licence under pt VB for institutions for making copies or communications of television broadcasts solely for persons with an intellectual disability. Because the copying and communication of ‘eligible items’ contained in the broadcast is covered by s 135ZT, internet transmission is effectively covered. Sections 47AA and 110C provide free-use exceptions for the reproduction of broadcasts for the purpose of simulcasting them in digital form. These provisions relate specifically to the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting in Australia. Section 105 provides a free-use exception for the broadcasting of certain sound recordings that originate overseas. The purpose of the exception is to prevent performing and broadcasting rights being extended to some foreign-origin sound recordings that were first published in Australia. These broadcast exceptions are not discussed in this chapter.

[13] Relevant exceptions that provide for remunerated use under statutory licensing schemes are provided by: Ibid ss 47(3), 70(3), 107(3), 47A, 109; pt VA.

[14] ACMA, Submission 214.

[15] Australian Communications and Media Authority, Online Video Content Services in Australia: Latest Developments in the Supply and Use of Professionally Produced Online Video Services, Communications report 2011–12 series: Report 1 (2012), 1. ‘Over the top’ refers to communications over existing infrastructure that does not require business or technology affiliations with the host internet service provider or network operator: see Ch 15.

[16] Ibid, 2.

[17] For example, Copyright Advisory Group—Schools, Submission 231; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Submission 210; Pandora Media Inc, Submission 104.

[18] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Submission 210.

[19] Ibid.