Artists wait for fair pay on Copyright Act’s 55th birthday

27 June 2023

Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) is again calling on the Government and Parliament to remove legislated caps from the Copyright Act, on the day of the Act’s 55th anniversary.

In 1968, temporary and transitional provisions were included in first Copyright Act to cap what commercial and ABC radio must pay recording artists and rights holders to play sound recordings. Fifty-five years later these ‘temporary’ provisions remain in the Act, protecting radio from having to pay a fair market rate for music.

Radio Fair Play is a renewed campaign by PPCA to remove these unique and anti-competitive legislated caps from the Copyright Act. Multiple reviews and inquiries have recommended the provisions be removed because there is no sound argument in favour of keeping them.

As part of the campaign, PPCA Chair and artist Josh Pyke and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd accompanied artists, artist managers, and independent Australian-owned recording labels to Canberra to advocate for the removal of the caps.

Josh said: “As an artist, I fully support the campaign to remove the Radio Caps from the Copyright Act. These regulations are very out-dated and limit the royalties that broadcasters pay to rights holders and artists for the use of sound recordings. Put simply, radio is not paying a fair market rate to use the music that they’ve built their product around. This seems entirely unfair and it’s certainly not the case in other countries. Removing these caps will ensure that we are fairly compensated for our work, and that the Australian music industry can continue to thrive and grow.”

The National Cultural Policy launched in January 2023 included a welcome commitment from government on Intellectual Property to maintain “a strong copyright framework that works in concert with other legal and policy mechanisms”.

CEO of PPCA Annabelle Herd said: “Supercharging contemporary music with strategic investment through Music Australia, while allowing the Radio Caps to remain, is like driving a race car with the handbrake on. Legislation should not limit the commercial value of a sound recording, and it certainly shouldn’t dictate an ABC radio rate that effectively means recording artists have been providing their music for free since 1968. Some of Australia’s biggest recording artists are being disadvantaged by these caps and that is not fair or reasonable.”

To support the Radio Fair Play campaign sign the petition that calls on Parliament to remove the caps from the Copyright Act. Signatures close on 28 June.

Sign the petition