Foxtel to pay Screenrights more in retransmission fees

01 June, 2012 by Sandy George

Foxtel is going to have to pay 10 cents extra per subscriber per month to retransmit free-to-air television channels, it was decided today.

Currently the subscription TV payer pays 26.95 cents for the five primary free-to-air channels plus ABC2 and SBS TWO. The extra 10 cents will cover such newer channels as ABC3, Gem, Eleven, GO! and others, effective immediately.


The decision was handed down by the Copyright Tribunal of Australia in the case of Audio-Visual Copyright Society Limited (trading as Screenrights) v Foxtel Management Pty Limited.

Providing royalties are paid to the relevant collecting society, it is okay to retransmit free-to-air broadcasts in Australia. This case ended up before the tribunal, according to the Australian Copyright Council, because the two parties could not agree on royalty payments for the many additional free-to-air services made available since 2006.

The tribunal’s decision is a rejection of Foxtel’s argument that the tribunal’s 2006 decision covered all retransmissions, irrespective of this growth in channels.

In a statement issued today, Screenrights chief executive Simon Lake described the decision as an important milestone for members: “The Copyright Tribunal today recognised that the additional use by Foxtel of our members’ copyright attracts additional payment. Screenrights’ application to the Tribunal (made in 2010) was premised on this important principle and we are pleased to see it upheld.”

Screenrights has over 3,300 members in 59 countries, including independent producers, broadcasters, music rightsholders and other underlying rightsholders.

The Copyright Tribunal is a division of the Federal Court. The decision could have a bearing on issues being decided within the framework of the Federal Government’s Convergence Review.