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Tuesday, 30 May 1972
Page: 2306

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

(1)   Did a Committee of Government experts from a number of nations, including a representative of Australia, meet at Lausanne in April 1971 to discuss the international legal problems that might arise in connection with satellite broadcasting, and did that Committee prepare a report and a proposed draft conviction which, if ratified, is intended to afford protection to authors, performers, producers of phonograms, broadcasting organisations and other contributors.

(2)   Is a similar meeting to be held in May 1972.

(3)   Because of the far-reaching implications to Australia in satellite broadcasting and the effect it can have on Australians, who now earn their livelihoods from within the mass media, will the Attorney-General request the Government to broaden the Australian representation at the May Conference and include representatives of the professional associations of employees engaged in the industry, a representative of the Australian Broadcasting Commission and a representative of the Federation of Commercial Television Stations.

Senator GREENWOOD The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) A Committee of Governmental Experts met at Lausanne in April 1974 to consider problems relating to the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations raised by transmission via space satellites. The Committee prepared a report and a draft text of a convention. The draft provided for alternative approaches on a number of points. A meeting of a further Committee of Governmental Experts on this matter was held in Paris from 9th to 17th May 1972.

(3)   The subject matter of the proposed convention concerns persons and organisations representing a number of fields and the interests of these persons and organisations are not all identical. Australia was represented at the conference by an officer in my Department who is expert in this field and who was fully briefed on the proposed discussions. Before the brief was prepared, interested organisations were invited to comment on the draft text to be considered at the meeting and the views expressed by those organisations were taken into account in the preparation of the brief. The conference did not reach agreement on the text of a draft convention and it is not known at this stage whether a further Committee of Governmental Experts will be convened to attempt to reach agreement on a text to be submitted to a diplomatic conference. The primary purpose of the proposed convention is to secure the protection of broadcasts transmitted via satellites against unauthorised rebroadcasting for domestic reception. To what extent, if at all, specific provision should be made in this instrument for protection other interests, such as those of authors, performers, producers and record manufacturers, is still the subject of considerable differences of opinion at the international level. In any event, my Department will be having further consultations with all interested groups on the basis of the discussions at the Paris Conference before any final decisions are taken on the Australian attitude to the draft convention and the composition of the Australian delegation to any diplomatic conference convened to adopt the convention.

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