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Business News (more headlines) 06-14-2014

ACCC Reauthorises APRA For Five-Year Term

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APRA AMCOS welcomes the ACCC's reauthorisation of APRA's collective arrangements to administer and license performing rights in musical works.

"We welcome the recognition that APRA's arrangements achieve what can often otherwise be difficult for writers or music users to do on an individual basis," said APRA AMCOS CEO, Brett Cottle.

The ACCC has granted APRA a reauthorisation for five years. The ACCC noted that a five-year term was appropriate "in light of the amount of work undertaken to develop a new ADR scheme, the progress already made to address interested party concerns, and to allow time for the ADR scheme to become fully operational."

Mr Cottle said APRA's engagement in the reauthorisation process was open and consultative. He said, "We actively embraced the ACCC's recommendations during the re-authorisation process and have already identified and initiated improvements arising from the public consultation. These improvements include a review of our dispute resolution processes, the development of an independent and robust dispute resolution service that will be launched in early 2015 and the provision of Plain English information on our licensing solutions for music customers. As a result of consultation with members and licensees, we have introduced changes to our practices that have made us more responsive to users and members. This has all been achieved in an environment where technological changes have also given rise to even more sophisticated means of using music in breach of copyright laws."

In the ACCC's news release#, ACCC Commissioner, Dr Jill Walker, said "The ACCC recognises that APRA has been taking steps to address the concerns of its stakeholders, and that these steps represent a significant improvement in APRA's arrangements. The conditions of authorisation formalise many of the changes commenced by APRA."

APRA's arrangements were first authorised by the ACCC and Australian Competition Tribunal in 1999 and this is the fourth reauthorisation under these arrangements. Authorisation is one of several public review processes APRA has in place to ensure it is accountable to its members and licensees. The other processes include APRA's subscription to the Copyright Collecting Society Code of Conduct and the associated independent annual review of operations, plus responsive and wide-ranging collaborative partnerships with stakeholders.

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