Teacher Ally Trefoni at St Matthews
Primary School (NSW) reads a book
from our Reading Australia project.
Photo: Gavin Jowitt.

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The Copyright Agency is a not-for-profit which, with our partner organisation, Viscopy, provides licences to use copyright material such as newspaper articles, books, images, art and survey plans – particularly for the education sector, but also for governments and businesses.

Our members are creators of copyright material: authors, journalists, publishers, educators, visual artists, surveyors and more. We give back to this community through our Cultural Fund. We also manage the resale royalty scheme for artists (which you can read about in the Annual Review for Visual Artists).


Visual Arts member Melinda Harper. Photo: Bryan Sun.



Because it is intrinsic to the work of creators, whether authors, artists, photographers, filmmakers, composers, poets or many others, copyright is an integral aspect to daily life. Their products are ones we all enjoy with voracious and, on all evidence, growing appetites.

There is currently a fulcrum moment in copyright because it is under attack from those who wish to diminish the legal rights of creators to manage their work and maintain control over its use. Rights holders, copyright advocates and governments have for too long let the debate be driven by technology romance on the one hand and technology determinism on the other. What this has failed to recognise is that though human behaviour is driven by social mores and various so-called ‘megatrends’, it is also determined by the actions of parliament and the laws and standards set by those we elect to do so (and those they appoint to enforce the law) providing a framework to protect creators’ rights.

We need to rebalance the current discussion, refashioning settings so that the rights of creators are better protected, the contemporary business models of creative industries are sustainable (supporting investment, innovation and jobs) and new and viable business models can emerge. Here we need a trinity: relevant refreshed law; appropriate education programs; and enforcement which comprehends the corrosive nature of widespread theft to society’s ethical heart. That trinity needs to be matched with commercial delivery which respects consumers and responds to their need for ease of access and fair-minded pricing.

In all of this, rights holders and copyright advocates need to work much harder to put the case to support those parts of copyright law that are fundamental – permission for use (central to any copyright system), fair payment for creative output, and laws which redress rampant digital theft. On the other hand we need to unsentimentally discard or update provisions that are outdated or out-of-step with the digital settings and the chemistry of this interconnected world.

Organisations such as ours need to look at fresh, innovative ways to facilitate the licensing of content. If we are to have a system which respects creators’ rights and understands consumers and their needs, then we need to seek solutions which are smarter and more resourceful than engaging in years of litigation which prolong disagreements and cement polarised antagonistic positions. Better ways need to be explored and resolved as the community expects with all reform.

There is evidence of good innovation in the copyright industries including the outstanding work of many of our members. For example, companies such as 3P Learning, with their globally recognised interactive learning tools, Mathletics, Reading Eggs and Into Science, which have taken gamification into the classroom with enormous success.

ORIGO Education is another dynamic innovator, recently having won the Queensland Premier’s Export Award in the Education and Training category with the flagship product, Stepping Stones – a primary school maths program now used by more than half a million students in more than 100 school districts in the United States. Our own innovations with Reading Australia and LearningField are supporting members by delivering their work to schools in attractive ways. Internationally, initiatives such as the Copyright Hub in the UK, provide promising evidence of innovative approaches which facilitate simple, transactional based processes to access.

The next few years are going to see much turbulence in dealing with public policy as it affects copyright and the Copyright Agency will be indefatigable in advocating positive change which will serve members’ interests at all times. The challenges are many and there has never been a greater need to have unity of constructive purpose, working together with other relevant representatives in fields such as music and screen production in seeking to reinforce legal and moral rights of creators and their representatives as we develop meaningful reforms.

I joined the Board of the Copyright Agency in January 2015 and became the Chair at the end of the financial year, assuming the mantle from the very successful publisher Sandy Grant (who I am pleased to say remains on the Board). Sandy has firmly and creatively guided the organisation for the past five years and been a valued board member for longer. I thank him for his leadership, energy and commitment.

The Agency also welcomed new Board member, award-winning journalist and author, Helen O’Neill at the end of last year when she succeeded the inspirational author Libby Gleeson. As I write, elections are underway for two new Board members to replace outgoing directors, journalist and author, Malcolm Knox and children’s educational publisher Eleanor Curtain. I want to thank each of them for bringing their particular expertise and vitality to the Board – we were honoured to have their service.

I also acknowledge the work of former CEO Murray St Leger in making some substantial improvements in the Agency’s operation which amongst many things, ensured improved distributions to members. We were all sad to see Murray have to relocate to the UK for personal reasons. Murray has been replaced by the very able Adam Suckling who has a long history in leading copyright and general policy development, advocacy, commercial and operational experience. We are all most encouraged to see that he has taken to the job with evident relish and a reformist zeal.

I thank our management team and staff for their devoted work throughout the year, the highlights of which are featured in this report.




I write to you as the Copyright Agency | Viscopy’s new Chief Executive.

I’d like to share my observations about the Copyright Agency | Viscopy, before reporting on last year’s highlights.

Three big things have struck me in my short time as CEO:

First, I am impressed by the cleverness, convenience and utility of what we do – offering blanket licences to governments, educational institutions and businesses.

These licences allow organisations in each of these sectors to cost-effectively access truly vast numbers of books, journals and images to facilitate the delivery of public services, educate young Australians and provide goods and services to consumers.

In fact, there is growing international recognition that licensing solutions like these can enable efficient and fair access to content, particularly in the online environment. For example, the respected United States Copyright Office recently recommended in its report, Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, the US should look at a similar approach as it would provide a cost-effective means of obtaining permission and therefore underpin the mass digitisation of books there.

Secondly, the licencing fees we collect provide one of the lifebloods of Australian creativity. As this report says, we distributed $136.6m to more than 10,000 content creators: publishers, media companies, surveyors, writers and visual artists.

The money we did not distribute (13.6% of revenue) was used to run the organisation.

Our distributions help enable Australian publishing companies to invest, produce new work and find new audiences across multiple platforms. The money also, critically, supports writers and visual artists, and helps sustain their ongoing creativity.

Thirdly, I have been delighted to see so much innovation. For instance, our own initiatives, LearningField and Reading Australia, are delivering educational resources to our students and teachers.

We have also provided some support to the global Copyright Hub whose aim is to tag content on the internet with a ‘unique identifier’ so that anyone who wants to use it (be it digital text, photos or video), can click on it to find out who the owner is and if it’s available for free or for a modest price.

Everyone has a stake in copyright. Pretty much all of us now create material; many of us put it on the internet. Lots of us would like people to ask our permission to use that material. And some of us – particularly those who make their living from their creative work – would like payment for the use of our creative work.

Innovation in copyright and intellectual property (IP) is a particularly live issue today, as the Productivity Commission is conducting an inquiry into Australia’s IP arrangements. We – along with other rights representatives – will provide the Commission with data to show the extent of innovation that is occurring under today’s copyright settings, outline the huge risks to innovation, investment and Australian creativity of changing some settings (i.e. adopting an American style fair use system) and we will suggest areas where copyright law can be modernised to ensure it’s able to meet the challenges of the digital age.

This report covers the period that Murray St Leger was CEO and so the significant achievements outlined here are Murray’s, and the rest of the team’s.

In this report, you will read about our 6.4 per cent growth in licensing, here and internationally, an improvement in our internal systems which meant more distributions to members this year, our first-ever payments to surveyors, and the awarding of five inaugural Cultural Fund Publisher Fellowships to Chrysoula Aiellou, Glenda Browne, Naomi Gothard, Gemene Heffernan-Smith and Andrew Wrathall. Fellowships for an author, Mark Henshaw, and two copyright researchers, Melissa de Zwart and Dimitrios Eliades were awarded in the new financial year. Our Cultural Fund and Career Funds have given $20m to creators since they began in 2004.

The importance of protecting and retaining our members rights – but with due consideration to digital changes and need for updating policy – is a constant.

There are many challenges ahead but also many opportunities to improve copyright for the benefit of everyone. I assure you we will continue to work diligently in the year ahead to ensure our copyright safety net remains strong and flexible.




In 2014-15, our membership grew by

Our partner organisation Viscopy’s membership is 12,331.


Surveyors' first payment

More than 400 surveyors (our newest member type), joined Copyright Agency to receive their first-ever payment of almost $200,000 in May 2015. This first distribution was based on data received from NSW Land and Property Information for sales of survey plans that occurred during 2013.

Surveyor member Gus Warren. Photo: Bryan Sun.

What our members say

In our annual member surveys, members told us:


Were quite or very satisfied because we are helpful, informative, responsive and friendly.

We were highly rated for competency, efficiency, trustworthiness and standing up for creators.

Members feel it’s very important for us to
• Defend creator income
• Defend copyright
• Advocate to reduce piracy
• Promote education publishing
• Promote Australian texts in schools
• Support culture and fine arts

What our members say about us

"It’s nice to know you’re there keeping an eye on things on my behalf as I’m too busy to do it myself."

"The advice I have received has always been correct, and the service friendly and prompt."

"Well, I trust the brand."

Photo: Bryan Sun.




“I am such a strong advocate of supporting writers to connect to their own voice. It's very different from emulating other people's work. The significance of a writer's own voice is an important thing to preserve...It is not only worth nurturing and supporting, it is worth protecting.”

Read more


Our member services team responded to 13,927 inquiries in 2015. Uniquely, the Copyright Agency does not have an automated on-hold system, so member inquiries are responded to in person.



revenue growth to














Other Collecting Societies


Resale Royalty


International (Singapore)



$136m +

paid to


members through

62 distributions

Note: this is a combination of revenue from current and prior years.

70% of revenue

from schools goes to the creators of educational resources including educational publishers, educational writers and illustrators, and other bodies, such as teacher associations.

17% of revenue

from schools goes to other creators including journal publishers and contributors, trade publishers, authors, artists, print media and film and television companies.


Of the revenue to universities:


goes to the creators of educational resources.


goes to other creators including publishers of scholarly journals.


goes to foreign collecting societies.

Our operating costs as a
proportion of revenue + investment income


Other stats


Number of press clippings which we pay on.

Compared to 12m in 2012/13 (includes web-scraping)



covered by education licence



covered by education licence


Other educational institutions

covered by education licence


The issue of copyright is often debated passionately.

Copyright provides a source of income for writers and visual artists, as well as creative companies, allowing them to invest, innovate and employ Australians.

On the other side of the debate there are multinational organisations and individuals who argue that content should be free or open access. The theft of creative material is also a hotly debated issue.

The Copyright Agency, along with other creative industry representatives, continues to advocate for a copyright system that benefits all for the longer term. At the same time, we are working with stakeholders to improve and simplify the copyright system.

CEO Adam Suckling at a Campaign for Copyright event.

In the past 12 months, two important changes have occurred which aim to encourage people to ‘do the right thing’ and consume creative material from legitimate sources.

New legislation

The Federal Government introduced new legislation targeting overseas websites whose main purpose is to allow people to steal creative works. This means copyright owners can seek a court order requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to such overseas websites.

Read more

Industry code for ISPs

An industry code was developed for internet service providers to send notices to customers who regularly download illegal material from websites. The code has been submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for registration.

Read more

Campaign for copyright

Author Fiona McIntosh.

Self portrait by cartoonist Lindsay Foyle.

The Copyright Agency held six member events around Australia to discuss legislative proposals which might impact on creators’ revenues as well as online theft and how the Copyright Agency and its members can respond to these issues. A copyright training presentation for members was also included in each event.

Events were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane and Perth. Creators including authors John Birmingham, Fiona McIntosh, Ian Reid, Yvette Poshoglian and Shane Maloney, and cartoonists Lindsay Foyle and Sean Leahy, spoke about their personal experiences with theft of their work and how copyright helps them to earn a living. Several of the Campaign for Copyright speeches are published on our website and in our monthly member newsletter Creative Licence.

The ongoing campaign also includes meetings with relevant politicians and other influencers throughout Australia.

Copyright Hub investment

The Copyright Agency has partnered with UK not-for-profit The Copyright Hub on its global permission technology, which is in the trial phase.

The new technology aims to simplify the permission process for copying and sharing text and imagery.

More countries are expected to follow Australia’s lead, making for a fast and easy process for people who want to do the right thing online.

Hear more from the Copyright Hub's CEO Dominic Young about what the hub is trying to achieve and watch the video.


Our commercial licensing division increased its revenue by 16 per cent in 2014-15 to


Photo: Gavin Jowitt.

Our education copying scheme provides tremendous value to teachers of all kinds, all over Australia.

Under the ‘blanket’ licence, educators can copy and share a near-limitless array of material from the web, books, articles and art with their students – from schools to universities and everything in between.

This ‘blanket’ licensing system offers certainty, flexibility and convenience as it takes care of the permissions process for educators while ensuring that creators are fairly paid for their work. This continuous cycle of payment underpins innovation in our educational publishing sector.

Similarly, our Government licensing scheme offers unfettered access to public servants to copy and share articles and images from newspapers, journals, survey plans, books and the web.

Licensing for businesses

Licences are a benchmark business standard and companies from legal firms to pharmaceuticals secure licences to ensure the risk-free flow of information within their organisations.

The Copyright Agency’s commercial licensing division increased its revenue by 16 per cent in 2014-15 to $18.1m. One of the highlights was the development of a new ‘scraping’ licence to cover aggregated content provided by media monitoring company, iSENTIA.

It was developed on behalf of Australia’s newspaper and magazine publishers. The deal includes paywalled content of Fairfax Media and NewsCorp Australia, including The Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

Early childhood centre licence

Copyright Agency | Viscopy has developed a joint licensing arrangement for works used in the childcare sector. The licence is an industry first involving our sister rights management bodies covering music and performance: APRA | AMCOSS, PPCA and ARIA. The head licensee is Early Childhood Australia, a national peak industry body for around 4000 early childhood education providers.

International licensing

In January 2015, Copyright Agency partnered with the Copyright Licensing and Administration Society of Singapore (CLASS) to develop new licensing markets in Singapore. Throughout 2015, Copyright Agency and CLASS have collaborated to establish licensing in the previously untapped Singaporean private education sector to the direct benefit of our respective rights holder members.


LearningField is an e-textbook library, combining the resources of 12 publishers, that lets teachers personalise student learning.

Schools purchase a subscription package which includes textbook content as well as collaborative tools for enhancing classroom work.



“LearningField has opened extraordinary new pathways for teachers in their teaching and learning processes in the classroom.”

Gerry Crooks, Principal, St James College Brisbane.


LearningField caters for students in Years 7-12


It contains more than


searchable chapters linked to the Australian curriculum


Subscriber schools increased from three states to

6 states and 1 territory

in 2014-15


Our Cultural Fund has given some


to creative organisations and individuals such as authors, teachers and visual artists since it began.

In 2014-15


was committed for


creative projects


Career Fund grants (to individuals)



Western Aranda contemporary watercolour artist, Selma Coulthard, took part in the Namatjira Professional Development Program – a Cultural Fund project. Photo courtesy of the program.

2015 Miles Franklin Literary Awards

The Cultural Fund has again supported each of the five Australian authors shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Awards with $5000 cash. This support recognises that authors who reach the shortlist need as much help as the eventual winner to continue to write. The shortlisted authors were Sonya Hartnett, Golden Boys (Penguin), Sofie Laguna (winner), The Eye of the Sheep (Allen & Unwin), Joan London, The Golden Age (Random House Australia), Christine Piper, After Darkness (Allen & Unwin) and Craig Sherborne, Tree Palace (Text Publishing).

Read more

Former Chair Sandy Grant presents Craig Sherborne with his cheque for $5000. Right: Sofie Laguna and Sonya Hartnett. Photos: Bryan Sun.

New Fellowships

A suite of fellowships worth $120,000 – for publishers, an author, and legal researchers – was announced in November 2014 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the agency, and honour its founding members.

The 2015 Fellows are:

Publisher Fellows
Chrysoula Aiellou
Glenda Browne
Naomi Gothard
Gemene Heffernan-Smith
Andrew Wrathall

Author Fellow
Mark Henshaw

Copyright Research Fellows
Melissa de Zwart
Dimitrios Eliades

Author Mark Henshaw and his book, The Snow Kimono (Text Publishing) Photo: Georgia Henshaw.


A ‘go to’ website of 220 of Australia’s best-loved stories developed to encourage the teaching of Australian literature.

It features resources written by teachers for teachers.

Book cover images (clockwise from top): The Jerilderie Letter by Ned Kelly (Text Publishing), Away by Michael Gow (Currency Press), and Arthur Boyd A Life by Darleen Bungey (Allen and Unwin).

6 July 2015

Was officially launched by author David Malouf
at the premier English teachers conference in Canberra.



resources for teaching
books to primary students.

Searchable and linked to Australian curriculum.

Resources for university education faculties.

Resources for literacy teachers.



essays by top authors, such as Germaine Greer,
Malcolm Knox and Stephanie Dowrick.



resources for secondary students.

If you have any questions,
comments or feedback, please
contact us at communications@copyright.com.au

© Copyright Agency | Viscopy and contributors. Members and licensees may use text. Permission should be sought from the Copyright Agency | Viscopy for the use of images.