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Screenrights to collect and distribute pay TV copyright royalties.

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ATTORNEY- GENERAL ___________________________________________________


THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP ___________________________________________________

19 September 2001 1049


Screenrights will be the sole collecting society to collect copyright royalties for retransmission of free-to-air television programs by pay-TV services.

Screenrights will distribute the royalties it collects to owners of copyright in the films, scripts, music, sound recordings and art works in retransmitted programs. These royalties will provide an important new revenue stream for copyright owners for this commercial use of their materials. This will provide further encouragement to the creation of programs and music for TV.

I have made a declaration under the Copyright Act which allows pay-TV services, and other retransmitters (but not webcasters), to retransmit free-to-air programs if they pay royalties to the declared society for distribution to the relevant copyright owners.

Retransmitters became liable to pay these royalties under amendments to the Copyright Act made by the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 which commenced on 4 March 2001. The rate of the royalties will be negotiated between Screenrights and the retransmitters. If they cannot agree, the issue can be referred to the Copyright Tribunal for determination.

As a declared collecting society, Screenrights will have to report annually to me on its operations and I will table the report in the Parliament.

Screenrights is already the declared society for collecting royalties for copying off-air and relaying of TV programs for education and for helping persons with intellectual disabilities. I made the declaration after considering applications received in response to a public advertisement.

Media contacts: Catherine Fitzpatrick (Mr Williams) (02) 6277 7300/ 0419 423 965 Leonie Kennedy (Attorney-General’s Department) (02) 6250 6666