Copyright amendments passed

The Copyright Amendments (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill 2017 has now been passed by both Houses of Parliament.

The bulk of the amendments introduce reforms to improve access to copyright works by people with a disability to give effect to Australia’s obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty – and simplify the statutory licences for collecting societies and educational institutions.

Schedule 2 amends the term of copyright in unpublished works so that they will not remain in copyright indefinitely. The precise term will depend on when the work is first made public, what type of work it is and whether the identity of the author is generally known.

In broad terms, the term will be reduced to 70 years after the author’s death if the work is never made public. If the work was first made public before 1 January 2019, the term can still run for 70 years after the work is finally made public. If the work is first made public on or after 1 January 2019, anonymous works can still get 70 years after publication if they are first published within 50 years of being made.

Minister’s press release

Read the bill as passed and the explanatory memorandum via Parliament’s bills page.

Lid dip: Australian Copyright Council’s update service.

The fee for using music in gyms

Back in May, the Copyright Tribunal bumped up the fee payable for using recorded music in gym classes to $15 a class or $1 per attendee.

The Full Court has an allowed an “appeal” from that decision on the grounds of denial of natural justice. In setting the rate, the Tribunal had rejected the market survey relied on by the applicants, but had used the ‘rough and ready’ “pilot”. When the applicants opened the case, however, they expressly disavowed reliance on that first “pilot”. The subsequent evidence of the gym clubs referring to the survey was not sufficient to make it part of the case.

In short, the Full Court’s ruling does not affect principle (at least in terms of how much to pay); it is “procedural”, requiring the Tribunal to set the rate based on the material before it.

Fitness Australia Ltd v Copyright Tribunal [2010] FCAFC 148