About the Tribunal
The Copyright Tribunal of Australia is an independent body established under s 138 of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). The Act and the Copyright Regulations 2017 set out its membership, functions, powers and procedures.
Generally, the Tribunal has jurisdiction with respect to the following forms of licensing:
Statutory Licences; (or statutory exclusions from infringement) are created by the Act when specified conditions are satisfied. These permit reproduction of certain copyright materials by educational institutions, institutions assisting persons with certain disabilities.
Generally, statutory licences are characterised by provisions:
- that "copyright is not infringed if the conditions specified in the particular section are satisfied";
- for a declared collecting society to administer the statutory licence;
- that both the user of the copyright material and the purpose of its use must satisfy the relevant statutory description;
- that the user must notify the declared society of the use being made of the copyright material, and, except where the user is the Commonwealth or State Government, must undertake to pay to the declared collecting society for the use of the copyright material, an amount described ( for example, as "equitable remuneration"), either as agreed, or, failing agreement, as determined by the Tribunal; and
- for determining the extent of copying that takes place under the statutory licence.
Voluntary Licences; are the result of negotiation between a copyright owner or its representative, such as a collecting society, and the licensee. Many of the Act's provisions relevant to voluntary licences depend on the notion of a "licence scheme". Most licence schemes are administered by collecting societies. Licences granted under licence schemes are often referred to as "blanket licences". They cover all works in the particular collecting society's repertoire.
Sections 154 to 156 contain provisions for reference to the Tribunal by a licensor and by would be licensees and organisations representing them of existing and proposed licence schemes. The Tribunal has jurisdiction to confirm, or vary a licence scheme or proposed licence scheme. It may also substitute a new scheme for the one referred to it.
Section 157 provides for various kinds of applications to the Tribunal by licensors and would be licensees and organisations representing them, where there has been a failure to agree on the grant of a licence. Application may be made in cases to which a licence scheme applies and in cases to which a licence scheme does not apply, by persons who require a licence or by organisations representing them. The Tribunal is given power to make orders as to the charges and conditions the Tribunal considers applicable under a licence scheme, or, depending on the circumstances in which the application is made, those charges and conditions that the Tribunal considers "reasonable in the circumstances", in relation to the granting of a particular licence.
The Tribunal may, of its own motion, or at the request of a party, refer a question of law arising in proceedings before it for determination to the Federal Court of Australia (s 161).
The procedure of the Tribunal is within its discretion, subject to the Act and regulations (s 164(a)).
The Tribunal is not bound by the Rules of evidence (s 164(b)).
Costs orders may be made by the Tribunal in any proceeding (s 174).
The Copyright Tribunal of Australia consists of a President and any number of Deputy Presidents and other members appointed by the Governor-General.
The President must be a judge of the Federal Court of Australia (s 140(1)). A Deputy President must be, or have been, a judge of a federal court or a State or Territory Supreme Court (s 140(1A)). A member (other than the President or a Deputy President) cannot be appointed unless he or she meets one of the five criteria set out in s 140(2) of the Act.
The current membership of the Tribunal is:
Justice Greenwood, President
Justice Perram, Deputy President
Justice Jagot, Deputy President
Dr Rhonda Smith, Member
Mr Charles Alexander, Member
Ms Sarah Leslie, Member
Ms Michelle Groves, Member
Registrar of the Tribunal