The Australian hotel and nightclub industries have jointly launched a Federal Court appeal against the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia’s win to raise licensing fees.
Last month, the Copyright Tribunal allowed the PPCA — which represents record labels and recording artists — to raise the fees in nightclubs from A$0.07 ($0.06) per person to A$1.05 ($0.89), and at dance parties from A$0.20 ($0.17) to A$3.07 ($2.64) per person.
Bill Healey, director of national affairs at the Australian Hotels Association, told Billboard.biz that the industries have asked for a review of the new fees.
“But specifically we are saying that the PPCA, when doing a survey of nightclubs on which to base the new fees, erred in law,” Healey says. “They changed the reference point. Their assessment was on the basis of music for dancing but the survey covered all music in nightclubs.”
The case is expected to be heard late September in the High Court.
PPCA chief executive Stephen Peach could not be reached for comment. But he previously told Billboard.biz that the initial rate was set in the mid-1980s and was based on a cursory look at overseas rates. In 2004, the PPCA did a comprehensive study on Australian venues and concluded the rates were far too low.
Next week, the PPCA is scheduled to provide the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission with a list of tracks which are non-protected by the new fees.
The Copyright Tribunal also has to clarify if the fees will come into effect Sept. 1, which the PPCA wants, or if it would be eased-in over five years, according to the wishes of the venues.