ACCC is seeking to add conditions to APRA’s licencing

The ACCC is calling for feedback on a proposal to reauthorise the APRA’s musical works licensing arrangements for a further five years with additional conditions.

The strengthened conditions are aimed at increased transparency and to help protect songwriters and small businesses when dealing with APRA.

ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh says“It’s more efficient for APRA members to collect royalties jointly, rather than every artist having to collect their own royalties and monitor compliance.  However, APRA already has a near-monopoly, and the exclusivity provisions it has with artists makes its position even stronger. This raises a risk of higher prices for businesses that play music, and other inefficiencies or restrictions for APRA members.”

Respondents to the ACCC’s recent consultation process frequently expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability of APRA, both to its members and also to those businesses from which it collects licence fees.

Under the ACCC’s proposal, APRA would also be required to publish information about how it calculates licence fees; to produce a plain English guide to its distribution policies; to publish an annual transparency report with information on rights revenue, operating costs and payments to members; and to continue the “Resolution Pathways” alternative dispute resolution scheme set up in response to a previous ACCC condition.

The ACCC is seeking submissions on its draft decision, including on the proposed conditions, by 5 July 2019.

Further information, including details about how to make a submission, and a copy of APRA’s application for reauthorisation, are available on the ACCC’s Public Register at Australasian Performing Right Association Limited.