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Oz helmers win copyright control

Government amends 1968 Act

Helmers in Australia have finally won their seven-year battle for more control over the copyright to their films.

The Oz government on Thursday amended the 1968 Copyright Act recognizing that helmers, like producers, are the first owners of copyright on a film when it comes to retransmission on free-to-air television.

Previously there was no mention of helmers in the Act or the government’s Statutory Retransmission Licensing Scheme, which governs pay for retransmission rights

“For 30 years, Oz copyright law has labored under the fantasy that a director does not contribute to the creation of intellectual property,” said Richard Harris, topper of the Australian Screen Directors Assn. “While writers, composers, visual artists and producers are all recognized as either authors or makers, directors have occupied something of a copyright shadow world.”

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