The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) invites comment on a proposal to require the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) to streamline processes for composers dealing directly with music users.
APRA currently collects royalties for songwriters for the public performance of music and most composers in Australia assign their rights to APRA to issue licences and administer on their behalf. The ACCC proposes to allow APRA continued protection from the Trade Practices Act’s competition provisions for another three years for its arrangements for the acquisition and licensing of performing rights, subject to a number of conditions that the ACCC is seeking comment on.
APRA controls in Australia virtually the entire worldwide repertoire of performing rights for musical works and generally offers music users ‘blanket licences’ allowing them to publicly perform any work in APRA’s repertoire. “APRA offers composers and music users significant benefits by providing users with a one-stop shop for licences to play music and ensuring songwriters are rewarded for their efforts through royalties,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.
“However, APRA is also a monopoly – with the power to price accordingly – and has rules that appear to unreasonably restrict direct dealing between composers and music users,” Mr Samuel said.
The ACCC invites further submissions from APRA and other interested parties. In particular the ACCC is interested in views about the draft conditions it is proposing. Submissions should be provided to the ACCC by 26 February 2010.
The draft determination will be available from the ACCC website www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister