PPCA fees and simulcasting for community broadcasters

UPDATE: February 2014

Since the CBAA’s last update on simulcast licence requirements for community broadcastings in September, there have been further reports of commercial radio stations choosing to turn off their online streaming services. This action taken by some regional commercial broadcasters has no bearing on discussions between the community broadcasting sector and the PPCA. Community broadcasters should continue to simulcast online via their current streaming services.
 
The CBAA is in discussions with the PPCA about online simulcast licences for community broadcasters and continues to work towards an outcome in the best interest of its members. The CBAA will issue further updates as the issue progresses. We encourage you to contact us at the CBAA with any questions on 02 9310 2999.
 

Background

On 13 February 2013, the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) won a Federal Court case against the Commercial Radio Australia (CRA). The ruling in this case specifies that PPCA can seek licence fees from radio broadcasters for internet simulcasts.  

On 20 August 2013, CRA was not granted leave to appeal this ruling so the earlier decision of the Federal Court now applies. 

In September 2013 the CBAA commenced negotiations with the PPCA about simulcating licence requirements for community broadcasters. These negotiations are ongoing.

What does this mean for your station?

Current PPCA sound recording agreements cover traditional broadcasts over the radiofrequency spectrum. An industry agreement between the PPCA and the CBAA means that current PPCA broadcast fees for CBAA member stations are invoiced at a discounted rate and collected on behalf of the PPCA by the CBAA.

PPCA sound recording broadcast agreements with community broadcasters will remain in place until any new agreement is negotiated. There have been reports in the media that some commercial stations have shut down streaming. This is a response by an individual station and has no bearing on the community broadcasting sector. We have confirmed with the PPCA that CBAA members who are currently streaming can continue to do so while the CBAA and PPCA are discussing the terms of a simulcast licence for CBAA members, should one be required.

What is the CBAA doing?

The CBAA is in ongoing discussions with the PPCA about licensing arrangements, with the aim of securing an outcome in the best interests of CBAA members. We are in the early stages of discussions with PPCA on simulcast arrangements and will keep you informed as developments arise.

Throughout 2013, the CBAA has been working with the wider broadcasting industry and has participated in a Senate Inquiry into regulatory arrangements for radio simulcasts.

As a result of ongoing advocacy, the new Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, is considering whether to issue a Determination that would clarify that an internet simulcast is a “broadcasting service” as per the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA). Such a Determination would mean that no separate license is required to simulcast on the internet as has been the situation since community radio stations began simulcasting in 2000.

The CBAA will be in contact with members as the matter progresses.

If you have any questions about this issue please contact the CBAA on 02 9310 2999 or office@cbaa.org.au