EMI Music Australia's CEO John O'Donnell has been re-elected for a fourth year as chairman of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) board.

Also joining the board as licensor representative is Sebastian Chase, founder and managing director of Sydney-based MGM Distribution. Chase's 360-degree business model has been a financial boon for chart crossover success stories such as the John Butler Trio, the Waifs and the Whitlams. On thhe PPCA board, Chase replaces David Vodicka, managing director of Melbourne-based Rubber Records.

Former Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison was returned as artist representative for 2008 and 2009. Unlike the other board positions, this role is for a two-year term. Morrison has held that seat since it was created 14 years ago.

Others on the board include George Ash, managing director, Universal Music Australia; Bill Cullen, co-director of One Louder Entertainment; Paul Christie (artist representative); Denis Handlin, chairman and CEO, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia and NZ; and Ed St John, president and CEO, Warner Music Australasia.

The PPCA has been providing licenses for public performance and broadcasting for audio and video tracks on behalf of record labels and their artists since 1969.

O'Donnell said that one of the organization's priorities for this year was to continue lobbying for "the removal of the statutory cap on radio broadcast licence fees, which we will be taking up with the new government this year."

The statutory cap was introduced in 1969 and restricts broadcast licence fees to 1% of a broadcaster's gross income. Currently, radio's peak body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) pays an average rate of 0.4% of gross income on behalf of 160 stations. European collection agencies receive between 2% to 4.5%.

Last year, the PPCA had a win over nightclubs and dance parties over fees. The Copyright Tribunal concurred with its request to raise it from the current 7 cents per patron to $1.05 ($0.95) by 2012. Dance party rates rose from 20 cents to $3.07 ($2.82) a person. An appeal by the Australian Hotels Association was rejected by the Federal Court on March 14.

Australian media today also revealed that the PPCA is taking Free TV Australia, which represents the interests of commercial free-to-air networks, to the Copyright Tribunal. Between 2002 and June 2007, the FTA annually paid A$700,000 ($643,719) for all use of music. The PPCA wants to increase the rate to what the FTA pays the Australasian Performing Right Association - estimated to be about A$32 million ($29.4 million) in the 2006/07 financial year.

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