Australian Competition and Consumer Commission


Dear ACCC,

I'm a performing artist based in Europe from Australia. I wanted to let you know that this month my membership shall go before the board of APRA to be canceled. Why is this ? In the future I would like to publish my music using a creative commons license, I'm not able to do this as a member of APRA; so I decided to cancel my membership. I put a website to document the issue, I've connected it to a myspace and been sending out friends requests. Few artists that are with APRA seem to have an understanding of how APRA works. You can be sure of this. As the ACCC does not fully agree with the way that APRA operate, I feel APRA must advise artists to get legal advice prior to joining. Not getting legal advice prior to joining APRA, has had a major impact on my art.

I asked APRA to read this statement to the board when my membership is canceled.

The conditions that APRA's blanket licenses have created for my art mean that its not possible for my art to be distributed for much commercial reward. Now I want to use a different system of licensing to distribute my works, I have to cancel my membership to do so. Is this fair ?

I ask the ACCC to consider this when the ACCC issue APRA with their right to have a monopoly again in 2010: with new technologies to record music and the internet; the blanket license system that APRA issue for use of content have a bad effect on many aspects art. The ACCC claim the benefits are more than the damage. Yet how can you ever assess the damage ?

I'm keen to create a forum for artists to document their experiences with "self publishing" music in Australia. Is the ACCC interested in helping with this ? The more information you have on the issue, the better the decision you can make. I'm also wondering if you plan to do any research on the amount of "self published" music that is used on radio networks in Australia. Its interesting that APRA are able to in-force a 20 percent Australian content quota on the airwaves. What about a 1-2 percent content quota for "self published" materials ? I have no doubt that their is enough good material. You only have to look at the jjj unearthed competition to see how much great material is being created. Also you might want to consider this: for the ACCC to make a fair decision artists have to be informed about their rights. APRA is under no obligation to do this, nor do they have any incentive to do so; Is this fair ? I was not able to post forums with my views of APRA on the APRA website, in their forum section. I consider my views valid and relevant to many members. The organization works in the interests of the board. The board is made up by those that collect the most, for every 500 dollars that an artist/publisher collects; the artists is given another vote. I don't think that the publisher of ACDC's music catalogue is going to have much interest in creating better conditions for "self published" artists. APRA does not even recognize that works have been "self published". Self published artists are not represented at all within APRA, yet represent 75+++ percent of the organization. Can ACCC place regulations on the way that APRA works ? I wonder if ACCC is able to take into consideration the way APRA is structured ? My thoughts are that the ACCC would have little need to be involved in APRA policy, if APRA had a one member, one vote system. To have a one member one vote system in place, APRA would have inform their members.

I look forward to the ACCC response to my questions.