Oz’s paybox platforms are bracing for a $3.5 million ($2.7 million) annual bill after the Copyright Tribunal found they must pay to retransmit free-to-air webs Seven, Ten, Nine, SBS and ABC
Feevee operators, taken to the tribunal by the Screenrights copyright collection agency, must cough up 22.5c (17¢) per subscriber per month, which will go to the rights holder of the programs, not the terrestrial webs.
Deb Richards, topper of the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Assn. (Astra), which represents feevee companies including Foxtel, Optus and the regional network Austar, says the group has been aware of the looming payment since changes to the copyright act in 2001 but was just keen to reach a fair price.
The Tribunal has yet to decide whether the payments should be backdated. It will meet again in mid-June to address this issue, which could add an extra $11.5 million to the bill.