Voluntary licensing of sound recordings

16.114 The ALRC proposes the repeal of the statutory licences for educational and other institutions in pts VA and VB of the Copyright Act. If these proposals were implemented, issues raised in relation to the definition of broadcast in the context of pt VA would no longer be relevant, to the extent that such uses are involved.

16.115 A similar possibility arises in relation to the s 109 licensing scheme for the broadcasting of sound recordings—that is, to repeal the scheme and leave licences to be negotiated voluntarily. While this issue was not raised explicitly in the Issues Paper, the ALRC is interested in comment on whether there is any reason to retain a compulsory licensing scheme for the broadcast of published sound recordings.

16.116 Broadcasters usually require licences from two sources to broadcast a sound recording—one relating to copyright in the sound recording (available under s 109); and another relating to copyright in the work recorded. Voluntary licensing appears to operate effectively in respect of the latter. Broadcasting and public performance rights of composers, lyricists and music publishers are administered by the Australasian Performing Right Association, outside s 109.

16.117 In New Zealand, music licensing is conducted without any recourse to a statutory licensing scheme. If this approach were taken, issues concerning the application of the licensing scheme to internet transmission of television or radio programs, and concerns about remuneration caps, would no longer be relevant.

Question 16–2 Section 152 of the Copyright Act provides caps on the remuneration that may be ordered by the Copyright Tribunal for the radio broadcasting of published sound recordings. Should the Copyright Act be amended to repeal the one per cent cap under s 152(8) or the ABC cap under s 152(11), or both?

Question 16–3 Should the compulsory licensing scheme for the broadcasting of published sound recordings in s 109 of the Copyright Act be repealed and licences negotiated voluntarily?