Streem backflips on Copyright Agency stoush, inking deal as fellow media monitors head back to tribunal

Media monitoring company Streem is no longer party to tribunal action against the Copyright Agency (CA), announcing instead a new, multi-year licensing agreement with the Agency to access content from leading Australian publishers.

Streem had previously joined with rival media monitors Isentia and Meltwater in taking CA to the Copyright Tribunal. The three major media monitoring companies made separate applications in the tribunal seeking a cut in copyright fees, with the case getting underway last Monday.

Antoine Sabourin and Elgar Welch at Streem’s 2017 launch

CA is the collecting body in charge of issuing content licenses to allow the redistribution of news stories to corporate and government clients.

“This dispute has arisen because the Copyright Agency sought to introduce a new industry-wide MMO [media monitoring organisation] licence designed to cater for the new ways in which MMOs use and deliver content in the digital marketplace,” the CA said in 2018 of the dispute.

“The three media monitoring organisations disagree with the new rates applicable under the industry model licence and are seeking a resolution in the Tribunal.

“These organisations make money out of the material produced by publishers and journalists and it is important that they pay what we believe to be a fair rate for the use of this material.  Such payments are not only right but help to sustain journalism in Australia.”

Streem, which launched in 2017, hailed its new agreement with CA as a “landmark” deal which will set a new benchmark for valuing news content in the digital era.

Its CEO, Elgar Welch, told The Australian the deal was reached after a period of negotiation between Streem and CA, which he said is “always better than being in a court environment”.

“It beggars belief that Meltwater and Isentia are still bickering over the price of content in court,” he added, in contrast with Streem’s own Tribunal application.

The new agreement replaces the previous deal between the two parties, and licenses content from publishers including News Corp, Nine, WAN, Are Media (formerly Bauer), Australian Associated Press (AAP), plus thousands more independent publishers and content producers from around Australia.

In a statement, Welch said the deal will give Streem customers enhanced rights that they won’t get with competitors.

“Streem has always been a champion of Australia’s news media, its business model and the influence of its original reporting,” he said.

“This new licensing agreement is a major step forward in altering the economics of paying for news, while giving customers enhanced rights that don’t exist with our competitors.”

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling said the agreement is a major win for local journalism, and sets up a framework that responds to major changes in the media landscape.

“This is a huge win for Australian journalism, at a time when media business models face challenges,” he said.

“This agreement positions Australia at the forefront of capturing payment for digital use of content and ensuring that publishers are fairly remunerated for their work.

“The new licence covers everything from agenda-setting news to community-based reporting, as well as Australia’s most in-depth coverage of business, politics and government. It also covers a wide range of international titles and gives customers global rights.”

Use of any news content by corporate or government clients, be it print, paywalled or digital snippets, will see money flow straight to publishers.

“Streem believes better outcomes can be achieved when parties work together to maximise the value of news content to enterprise,” Welch added.

“The licence between Streem and CA has increased the rights for media monitoring organisations and their customers, enhanced payments to publishers and set a benchmark for the industry, be it media monitoring or technology companies. We thank CA for its leadership in this space.”

It is anticipated that the Copright Tribunal case will run for three more weeks in court, but a decision may not be reached before the year’s end.

Last month, Streem appointed its first chief customer officer, Nina Harriott, who had already been with the business for four years.


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