A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending BFO’s Banking Ethics Conference.
I was impressed with the enthusiasm and collaboration over the many challenging topics presented. There were some curly questions being put to the audience around ethics and accountability but the response was electric.
What resonated with me most was the frequent use of the word ‘fair’. When I think about my own organisation, the Copyright Agency and the creative members we represent, this word ‘fair’ is a very good representation of our mission.
At Copyright Agency │ Viscopy, we represent over 43,000 Australian creators. We collect royalties on behalf of our members from businesses, governments and the education sector for the licensed use of copyright works. For instance, many of our members are creative writers and artists; we also have journalists, publishers (including Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia and The West Australian) and thought leaders across a range of disciplines. A broad range of financial institutions in Australia are also Copyright Agency members and receive royalties for original works created by their employees.
The time-critical news and information your organisation receives every day can move markets, inform business deals, assist development of new products, increase knowledge on a range of subjects and highlight your organisation’s own press coverage, amongst many other uses. The cost of this news is borne by organisations via their subscriptions to information providers, however many information providers provide daily information at no cost. Both free and paid information services are bound by specific terms and conditions, set by each publisher, that apply to the use of their information. A great many users of this information across large organisations are in the dark about copyright compliance. This gives rise to information flowing around and out of an organisation to external parties such as customers, clients, PR and advertising agencies, contractors and a great number of other stakeholders, and it presents a risk.
You might think, how can we possibly know what is going on at any given time and this is a reasonable assertion. For example, any of your staff who have internet access can subscribe to an online publication (E.g. Investor Daily, Financial Standard, AB+F) and can begin to receive daily newsletters. Links to these newsletters can be forwarded, however the printing, storage and the using of content in presentations or intranets requires the owner’s approval. If your staff viewed the terms and conditions of each of these publications they would be surprised to learn that invariably the reuse of this information is not permitted under the publisher’s right to copyright ownership. This is particularly important when the success of a publisher’s businesses is predicated upon subscription fees and royalties for use of their information.
Copyright Agency understands this dilemma and provides licences that cover organisations from where paid information licences stop. This is typically at the point where the designated ‘paid or subscribed’ group of subscribers ends. Any information shared and used beyond this (‘downstream’) is often considered outside the provider’s terms.
With our world moving closer towards a knowledge economy, creators will increasingly be employed on a contract and freelance basis. The issue of copyright and ‘what is fair’ will resonate even more strongly, in terms of income. We all want to ensure we can keep creators creating as this is critical for democracy, commerce and a vibrant society.
Leading Australian organisations, including Banking & Financial Services, are already working with the Copyright Agency to practice Good Copyright Governance. This means they are hitting a benchmark for copyright compliance and are, therefore, fairly supporting Australian creators. These businesses have earned the right to display the Good Copyright Governance tick. Please head to the Good Copyright Governance page to read their stories, and learn more about how your organisation can benefit.