The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia, a collection society representing record labels and artists, sought a declaration from a court that streaming Internet radio should not be considered a “broadcast” under Australia’s Copyright Act, and therefore, should be subject to a separate fee. The Federal Court down under, however, held that Internet simulcasts are incorporated within existing licensing agreements for traditional broadcasts. This result: dismay by labels and artists over a lost opportunity to recover more payments from streaming Internet radio stations.
In deciding that a streaming Internet radio program is a “broadcast” under the Copyright Act, Justice Lindsay Foster concluded that the simultaneous transmission is “…a service which combines various delivery methods or platforms and which delivers the same radio program using the broadcasting services band.” The court, in siding with Commercial Radio Australia, has declared that Australia’s commercial radio stations will not have to pay additional royalties to artists for the online transmissions of recorded music. The head of the PPCA, Dan Rosen, was disappointed by this recent ruling but maintained that his organization “…will continue to work hard for a better deal for artists and labels.”