Tribunal decision goes CRA’s way

Staff Writer

The Commercial Radio industry has had a significant win in its dispute with the PPCA over streaming fees. 

The Australian has reported that the Copyright Tribunal of Australia has ruled that radio stations should be able to choose between paying per stream, much like Spotify, Pandora, Guvera etc, or paying a percentage of revenue, as it does for terrestrial broadcasts at present.

The fees will be either 0.35 % of gross revenue, or 0.059 per stream, both figures are significantly below what the PPCA was asking for. Whilst the option to choose has been provided by the tribunal, it is likely the majority of stations will choose the ‘gross revenue’ calculation if for no other reason than the onerous reporting required on a per stream basis.

The tribunal dismissed PPCA’s argument that in 5-years the scheme should convert to a ‘per stream’ rate finding that the request was unreasonable.

Commercial Radio Australia has not commented since the ruling, only to say that it was reviewing the decision. The PPCA has also not made any comment at this time. 

That said, it is not over just yet, with the tribunal instructing CRA and PPCA to return in June for further discussions on definitions of revenue, streams, and duration of streams – regarding the latter, PPCA has argued that 1-second of listening constitutes a stream, whereas CRA have suggested 30-seconds.

So the long-running dispute, whilst not over yet, appears to have the finish line in sight, and at this stage Commercial Radio Australia looks to have had a major victory over the PPCA.

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