The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has not objected to the collective bargaining notifications* lodged by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association for its members to offer joint licences to some users for the right to broadcast music videos.

The users with which AIR members propose to collectively negotiate are Telstra, Optus, BigPond, Austar, Foxtel, MTV Networks, XYZ Networks and Fuel TV.

AIR members propose to offer non-exclusive licences covering the right to broadcast all music videos over which the 61 AIR members participating in the arrangements hold copyright.

"Currently some AIR members enter into individual licences with some users in relation to the broadcast of music videos," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel said. "However, for many AIR members the transaction costs involved make direct licensing uneconomical. 

"As a result many, particularly smaller, independent record labels do not currently receive a fee from some users when their music videos are broadcast."

Mr Samuel said joint licensing has the potential to lead to more efficient management of these rights, generating cost savings for both AIR members and users, and assisting in maintaining the viability of the Australian independent music sector.

Protection afforded by the notifications will commence on 12 January 2009 and will last for three years. Participation in the proposed collective bargaining arrangements will remain voluntary for all parties.

As with any notification, the ACCC may review the notifications at a later stage should concerns arise.

The ACCC will only object to and remove the immunity provided by a collective bargaining notification when it is satisfied that any public benefits from the proposed collective bargaining arrangement would not outweigh the public detriments.

Under the collective bargaining notification process the ACCC was able to issue its decision on the AIR's arrangements in under four weeks.

"This process offers a more affordable and streamlined approach for small business to gain approval to get together to collectively bargain with a larger supplier or acquirer of goods and services," Mr Samuel said. 

The ACCC assessment of the notifications will be available by following the Public Registers and Collective Bargaining Notifications Registers links on the ACCC's website.

Media inquiries: Mr Brent Rebecca (02) 6243 1317 or 0416 103 061
General inquiries: Infocentre 1300 302 502

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