The PPCA – the group that represents musicians in Australia – have expressed disappointment in the decision by many regional radio stations pulling their online streams, saying that they have “chosen to deprive regional listeners of local programming” instead of negotiating.
“PPCA has tried many times to engage CRA in open and amicable negotiations to resolve this issue – and will continue to do so,” the PPCA said in a statement.
“PPCA has never been interested in pursuing anything other than a fair and commercial outcome. Sadly, CRA seems prepared to penalise regional radio listeners while demanding an outcome that is not supported in legal or political processes in Australia or around the world.”
The PPCA said that they want artists and record labels to have a “fair share” for the use of their work from radio stations.
“The billion dollar commercial radio industry has enjoyed the advantages of expanding into online markets by simulcasting their broadcasts, but has ignored its obligations to recompense those who create the content they rely on,” it notes.
The PPCA and the radio industry have been locked into a dispute over royalties after a Federal Court decision ruled that internet simulcasts of radio stations were not “broadcasts” under the Copyright Act. Effectively, this meant that internet simulcasts were not covered by existing royalty agreements and forcing both parties to negotiate a new one that covers simulcasts.
According to Commercial Radio Australia, the streams were axed because the cost of royalties covering internet simulcasts would be “cost prohibitive, particularly for regional stations” – who were using the “one percent cap” rule under the Copyright Act, which limited royalty payments to just one percent of gross income.
In its statement, the PPCA rejected claims the CRA made that it would result in “double dipping”, saying, “This is a separate and additional use of PPCA members’ content to drive increased listener numbers. CRA also conveniently ignores the fact that currently its members have the benefit of a broadcast licence fee calculated on the basis of a statutory licence fee cap which has not been revised since 1969.”
The PPCA also adds, “This is simply a matter of commercial negotiation between the billion dollar commercial radio industry and the thousands of Australian artists and record label that PPCA represents.”
“What PPCA is seeking is no different to every other major Australian sporting code or content industry which has a traditional and digital revenue stream.”
The CRA has said that metropolitan stations are also considering to shut down their online streams. We’ve asked the peak body for community radio stations if they plan to do a similar thing.