Emil Ford Lawyers

Education Law Articles - Copyright

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Earlier this year, Justice Finkelstein decided Copyright Agency Limited ("CAL") v Queensland Department of Education and others. CAL and the various bodies representing schools in Australia had failed to agree on a fixed amount which schools should pay to CAL for copying copyright works. The Court decided that the following rates are to apply:

  • a basic rate of 4 cents per page;
  • a rate of 8 cents per page for artistic works and poetry;
  • a rate of 6 cents per page for plays, short stories and the like; and
  • a rate of 40 cents per slide in the case of overhead transparencies, slides and permanent display copies. 

These amounts increase on 1 January each year in accordance with the increase in the CPI. The new rates are to be phased in over a period of three or four years. If the parties cannot agree on the mechanism for phasing in the new rates, Justice Finkelstein will determine the mechanism.

The judge felt that it was also appropriate to set a per capita rate for copying determined by reference to the average number of pages that have been copied over a certain period. This would assist schools because it reduces the need for record keeping and provides certainty to schools when budgeting for copying. However, he decided that the parties should agree on the formula for calculating a per capita rate. If they could not, the matter should be referred back to him. Unfortunately, he did not explain how the per capita rate and the rates per page would work together.

Justice Finkelstein did not make any determination regarding equitable remuneration for digital copying. He noted that neither CAL nor the organisations representing schools spent much time dealing with this issue and the evidence suggested that only minimal digital copying is occurring.

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