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Thursday, 4 May 1989
Page: 1835

Senator TATE (Minister for Justice)(6.22) —The Government cannot accept this amendment. The exemption, speaking about reporting news in our proposal, is deliberately narrow. The idea is not to try to undermine the rights of performers to get reasonable remuneration for the use made of a performance or a recording of a performance by those who themselves are in the business of generating income-those operating a commercial television station, for example. They would certainly gather taxpayer support by getting good ratings if it is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or the Special Broadcasting Service. The fact is that an exemption in favour of news reporting is justified because of the time pressures which go into the compiling of a news segment on television, radio news, or whatever it might be.

Current affairs programs do not really suffer quite the same pressure and in fact some, as we know, are compiled over many months. I know that there are some that just fall in between, but the fact is that I think a fair distinction can be drawn between those situations where it would be quite impossible and impracticable to get the permission of copyright owners. The pressure of the news broadcasts is quite different from the sorts of pressures that apply in relation to current affairs programs. I believe that if recorded performances are to be used in the current affairs program, then they ought not to be exempted from the provisions of the Bill. The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers speaks of the use of short excerpts in connection with reporting of current events.

Senator Hill —Not news, current events.

Senator TATE —That is true; nevertheless, short excerpts in connection with the reporting of current events. Within the Australian context, what that more clearly equates to is the use of a smaller segment of a performance in relation to a news item rather than the more lengthy, or even short for that matter, use of a performance in a current affairs program, whereas as I say there ought to be time for those compiling the program to obtain the permission of the copyright owner or of the performer concerned.