Copyright regulation

  • The granting of copyright usually doesn’t cause competition concerns.
  • There have been some instances where collective licensing has resulted in market power.

What the ACCC does

  • We have an interest in copyright when it impacts competition.
  • We publish copyright guidelines to help the Copyright Tribunal determine copyright remuneration.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t get involved in individual copyright disputes.
  • We don’t set copyright remuneration.

What we do in copyright

We have an interest in certain copyright issues

It is broadly accepted that the granting of copyright and intellectual property rights rarely causes competition concerns.

The ACCC is aware of some examples where these rights can result in market power. These cases generally occur with collective licensing. For this reason, we have an ongoing interest in copyright issues.

Specifically, our interest comes from:

  • the crossover of competition policy and intellectual property policy 
  • rules and functions in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Copyright Act 1968.

We develop copyright guidelines

The ACCC has produced copyright guidelines to support the Copyright Tribunal of Australia to perform its functions.

Under the Copyright Act 1968, the Copyright Tribunal is required to have regard to the copyright guidelines in certain proceedings, when requested by a party.

The guidelines are also used by collecting societies and copyright users to negotiate reasonable copyright remuneration for blanket licences outside the Copyright Tribunal.

The legal basis of our functions

These rules and our functions are in section 157A of the Copyright Act 1968.

Copyright projects

See a complete list of telecommunications and internet projects.

Title Industry(desc) Type Status
Copyright Guidelines 2006 Communications Guideline Finalised

In November 2006, the ACCC released draft copyright guidelines to assist the Copyright Tribunal in the determination of copyright remuneration. Public submissions were due by 31 January 2007.

ALRC review of copyright & the digital economy Communications Information paper Finalised

In 2012 the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) was requested by the then Attorney General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, to conduct an inquiry into and report on current and further desirable uses of copyright material in the digital economy.

Copyright Guidelines 2019 Communications Guideline Finalised

The ACCC released draft guidelines for consultation in 2006, but did not proceed to finalise these guidelines as it considered that its participation in Copyright Tribunal proceedings would both test its new role under the Copyright Act and further inform the development of the guidelines. The ACCC considers it is now an opportune time to revise the draft Copyright Guidelines and move towards issuing final guidelines.

Guidelines on the repeal of subsection 51(3) of the CCA Communications Guideline Finalised

The ACCC has released final guidelines on the repeal of subsection 51(3) of the CCA. The guidelines set out the ACCC's current understanding and interpretation of the law in order to assist businesses and intellectual property rights-holders following the repeal.