Commercial Radio Australia calls for stronger protections in ACCC digital platforms submission

Peak industry body Commercial Radio Australia has called on the ACCC to recommend stronger intellectual property protections as part of its response to the government’s digital platforms inquiry.

The group has proposed a range of measures to protect broadcasters’ content including an independent body to monitor the behaviour of the digital platforms, better verification of global giants’ audience claims and applying ‘election blackout’ periods to the social media services.

Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, called for independent oversight of the digital platforms

CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said the group supports the introduction of a mandatory standard to enforce take-downs of copyright infringing content and further recommended the standard should include hyperlinks to radio station “listen live” websites.

“Commercial radio stations are increasingly directing their resources towards the removal of their intellectual property from third party aggregator sites and mobile apps.

“Typically, such sites provide ‘listen live’ links to station broadcasts or enable consumers to access stations’ podcasts. This diverts traffic – and ultimately advertising revenue – away from the stations’ own websites

“We urge the Commission to address this issue in the proposed Mandatory Standard, by requiring digital platforms to remove hyper-links to copyright protected content at the request of the rights holder.”

In its submission in response to the ACCC’s preliminary report, CRA called for stronger protections to limit third parties from benefiting from Australian radio content, including live radio streams and podcasts, without the permission of the content owners.

“CRA submits that large digital platforms should be independently monitored – with the Commission setting terms and conditions of access – to ensure that they do not use their market power to favour their own businesses or to divert consumers from the websites of content creators, thus appropriating revenue and reducing competition in the supply of media content,” the submission said.

CRA also recommended that the ACCC’s proposed separate review to develop an overarching regulatory framework for all platforms should include a focus on how local content obligations and Australian music requirements are spread across various platforms.

Digital platforms currently have no local content obligations, while commercial radio is subject to numerous requirements under the Commercial Radio Code of Practice and the Broadcasting Services Act.

The submission also urged regulators to take immediate action on “glaring” regulatory inequalities such as the election advertising blackout rule, which bans radio from broadcasting political advertising from the Wednesday before polling day.

In its paper, CRA also rejected Facebook and Google’s claims that their ads are verifiable and said there was currently no regulatory means of holding such platforms to account regarding their claims of audience size.

CRA also said a reliable digital audience measurement methodology should be imposed on digital platforms as a condition of access, and the collection of data be conducted by an independent third party.


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