Some of the world’s biggest music companies have been hit by new copyright laws, as well as the increasing threat of copyright infringement.
The top names in music, movie and music video are among the world in the top 10 list of the global copyright holders, according to a list published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The list was compiled by the OCHA and the United States-based Public Policy Forum, which is part of the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union.OCHA’s director-general, Chris Mottram, said the latest changes to copyright law would increase the costs of the music business and reduce the value of artists’ songs.
He said the most notable change was the new law in Australia, which allows companies to take full control of their music.
He warned that the Australian copyright regime had become too “bureaucratic and restrictive”, and that it was too difficult for music companies to be independent of the rights holders.
“The Australian music industry is being left behind,” he said.
“The music industry should be free to compete with any other industry.”
The Australian Government has announced it is changing its copyright law so that it will be easier for independent music companies and artists to compete and to profit.
It is introducing a new copyright regime, which will include the possibility of removing the compulsory licence for any video that is produced and distributed through any medium, regardless of the origin of the work, unless that medium is a “substantial contributor” to the content.
But independent producers are already worried that the new system will leave them out of the game.
“There are a lot of people who are going to lose out from this, not just independent artists but independent filmmakers and producers,” said Nick Hodge, the producer of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
He told the ABC that he is not worried about the changes, because he has already signed an exclusive deal with a record label.
“It is a great opportunity to get a lot more revenue, but I am worried about how that revenue will be distributed.
It could go to the music companies,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In Australia, the copyright holders’ own record labels are among those who have complained that the change is unfair.
Music Australia, an industry body, has said it will fight the changes and the Government’s plans to remove the compulsory license.
“We don’t believe it will lead to greater creativity and innovation in the industry and our members will continue to support independent artists, record labels and publishers,” the organisation said in a statement.
“As the Australian Music Industry has been a major part of Australian music for over 100 years, we are confident the changes to the Copyright Act, including removing compulsory licences, will benefit Australian musicians and record labels.”
The copyright changes were announced by the Government on Wednesday and will come into effect from September 1.
The Government is also introducing new laws to increase penalties for copyright infringement, including a new $5,000 fine for repeat copyright infringers.
“What we are doing is we are going through the process of re-classifying the infringement, which means that we are trying to reduce the penalties for repeat infringers,” Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said.
“These are serious penalties and we will bring them down.”
Mr Fifield also said the Government was also proposing to make it easier for the Copyright Tribunal to decide on infringement.