links & tags
and rights management bodies
page looks at selected rights administration bodies and
advocacy bodies concerned with copyright and industrial
property in Australia and overseas.
Stephen Hilgartner's Acceptable Intellectual Property:
The New Politics of IP (txt)
the 1970s was the decade of lost innocence about risk,
then the 1990s was the decade of lost innocence about
intellectual property (IP). Until the early 1980s, decisions
about IP captured relatively little public attention.
The field attracted scant interest except among a narrow
group of specialists who practiced in a doubly technical
domain at the interface of arcane law and complex technology.
Most legal scholars saw intellectual property as politically
uninteresting, far removed from the exciting fields,
such as constitutional law, where academic careers could
be made. This is not to say that IP decisions went uncontested;
indeed, vast fortunes sometimes turned on the outcomes
of patent litigation. But most observers saw these battles
as matters that concerned the immediate parties, not
as issues that raised fundamental questions about public
policy, democratic decision making, and global governance.
All of this now has changed. Beginning in the 1980s
and increasingly in the 1990s, decisions about intellectual
property became visible and contentious public issues.
A variety of actors - including many NGOs, academics,
scientists, industry groups, and governments - now view
decisions about intellectual property not as rational
outcomes of an autonomous process of legal reasoning,
governed by precedent and safely left to appropriate
experts, but as political choices with profound stakes.
Aside from a small band of libertarians, virtually no
one contends that the answer is to dispense with intellectual
property entirely. But there is a growing sense that
the intellectual and institutional foundations of IP
policy are too weak to manage its newly recognized political
Some of those actors are highlighted below.
uses of copyright in Australia are administered collectively
by non-profit non-government rights licensing bodies known
as copyright collecting societies. They represent the
multitude of authors, composers, artists, composers, publishers,
film-makers and other creators.
Bernt Hugenholtz's 2000 paper
Rights allocation in a digital environment suggests
that authors gained real market power, after 100 years
of copyright evolution, through the establishment of collective
'pooling' their pecuniary rights in a jointly administered
corporation, the authors could now effectively impose
their conditions of use upon the producers, even more
so after securing the support of the legislature. ...
Authors had to pay a price for the spectacular successes
of the societies. Efficiency demanded that the authors
unconditionally surrender their pecuniary rights, thereby
enabling the societies to offer blanket licenses to
their clients (broadcasters, cable operators, restaurants,
etc.). Thus, the exclusive right degenerated into a
right to remuneration. For the same reasons, the societies
discouraged the individual exercise of moral rights.
For ever striving for higher gross income, and increasingly
in competition with foreign societies, the rights organizations
gradually began to resemble their traditional foes,
the producers. Internally, their mission was being undermined
as well. Traditionally, the societies administrated
not only the rights of 'real' authors, but of other,
powerful right holders as well (e.g. music publishers).
As a consequence, producers have always had an important
say in collecting societies' administration and politics.
of the major Australian collecting societies are:
Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL)
Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd (APRA)
(AudioVisual Copyright Society Ltd)
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Ltd (PPCA)
Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners' Society Ltd
Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society
Australian Writers Guild Authorship Collecting Society
Visual Arts Copyright Collecting Agency (Viscopy)
site features a detailed profile
on the Australian and New Zealand societies (and some
overseas counterparts), along with pointers to studies
about their shape and operation. The
societies have reciprocal relations with counterparts
offshore, most of which are members of CISAC and IFFRO.
Among the representatives of the content creators, the
International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organisations (IFRRO)
and the Coalition of International Societies of Authors
& Composers (CISAC)
is an international grouping of copyright rights administration
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
is an organisation of publishers and other IP owners,
one with considerable clout in influencing government
The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO)
is a competing body, with a greater emphasis on industrial
property. It is aligned with the International Association
for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI)
and the International Trademark Association (INTA).
The Software Publishers Association (SPA)
is one of several software industry bodies. It competes
with the Business Software Alliance (BSA),
a US dominated body with an international focus, concerned
with lobbying, education and enforcement, and the Software
& Information Industry Association (SIIA).
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
- target of the Boycott-RIAA site
- and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
are usually 'demon of the month' in the online music wars,
opposed by bodies such as the Coalition for the
Future of Music (CFM).
The latter boasts that "No longer will corporate media
and big money frame the terms of the discussion as we
draw together the strongest voices in the Internet and
independent music community to reframe these questions
with a clear-eyed focus on the interests of the artists."
The local counterpart is the Australian Record Industry
The global bodies are the International Federation for
the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
The Australian Society of Authors (ASA)
is one of a number of bodies representing writers and
has conducted an interesting electronic publishing testbed
with Australia's IPR
The US National Writers Union (NWU)
and the Authors Rights For All Campaign
represent one group of rights owners in disputes with
publishers, eg the current 'Tasini'
litigation in the US.
May 2007 saw launch in the US of the Copyright Alliance,
a content industry lobby group that brings together 29
US organisations and companies such as the Recording Industry
Association of America, Association of American Publishers,
Motion Picture Association of America, Microsoft, Viacom
and Walt Disney.
The Alliance is opposed by the Digital Freedom Campaign,
another Washington-based lobby established in December
2007, whose members include the Consumer Electronics Association,
Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The DFC argues that 'big labels' and studios are threatening
innovation (ie sales of new electronic devices) and consumer
freedom by "chipping away at the fair use rights
written into" US copyright law.
Among non-government bodies the Australian Copyright
headquartered in Sydney, is a not-for-profit body active
in advising authors, artists and others on copyright questions.
Its range of guidebooks are excellent value; its staff
are both knowledgeable and friendly. We recommend it.
The associated Copyright Society of Australia (CSA)
is a body for intellectual property professionals. Its
US counterpart has recently established the Friends of
Active Copyright Education (FACE),
an online resource centre. The ACC's New Zealand counterpart
is the Copyright Council of New Zealand (CCNZ).
The Arts Law Centre of Australia (ALC)
provides advice and information to artists and arts organisations
in all sectors of the cultural industry regarding contracts,
copyright, insurance, defamation, business structures,
employment and taxation.
The Communications Law Centre (CLC),
as the name suggests, is concerned with the internet and
other communications law.
The US International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI)
is "a non-profit organization geared for research
and educational projects for the enhancement of global
intellectual property protection". It has a strong
focus on use/misuse by the third world of the IP of major
consumers and manufacturers
The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA),
is a local advocacy group concerned with the use of copyright,
in particularly by libraries and scholars.
Knowledge is an international organisation with a
particular concern for the 'digital commons', sharing
objectives and luminaries such as Lessig with Creative
Like the moribund US Digital Future Coalition (DFC)
it is more broadly based than most, with support from
library, telecommunications, manufacturing and consumer
The EU-based Alliance For A Digital Future (ADF)
is a public-interest coalition concerned with the major
European copyright reforms and other digital legislation.
It is strongly supported by parts of the EU consumer electronics
and telecommunications industries.
The Ad Hoc Copyright Coalition (AHCC)
is the ADF's US counterpart, competing with DigitalConsumer,
established in 2002.
The American Committee for Interoperable Systems (ACIS)
represents software and hardware manufacturers in favour
of loosening restrictions on decompilation and other interoperability
The US Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC)
opposes efforts by major content providers, in particular
the film studios and record companies, to restrict access
through legislation and technologies. Across the water
is attempting to build another consumer coalition.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
is a digital civil liberties group, notable for arguments
that copyright is neither legitimate nor viable in the
It was influential at the beginning of last decade but
has been substantially overtaken by the US-based Centre
for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
and Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology (CPT).
The CDT has a strong interest in intellectual property,
telecommunications access and privacy issues.
In spirit the EFF's close to Richard Stallman's Free Software
inspired by the argument that all software should be free.
It advocates a 'copyleft' standard for web publications.
Both the EFF and FSF have spawned other bodies, such as
FSF Europe and Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).
The FSF's Digital Speech Project
argues that much of the DMCA is "incompatible with
freedom of digital speech". The League for Programming
is another US free software body, primarily concerned
The Union for the Public Domain (UPD)
is a US advocacy group that aims to broaden the public
domain while maintaining a balance between fair use and
the rights of creators. It competes with the wealthier
Center for The Public Domain (CPD),
part of the open software push.
The library and education sectors have proved to be effective
advocates in articulating issues and lobbying government
in Australia and overseas. At an international level the
International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
lobbies the EC and other fora. In the US the Association
of Research Libraries (ARL)
is prominent. Closer to home the Australian Library &
Information Association (ALIA)
has been influential.
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