APRA AMCOS and AGSC response to Income Tax Amendment (digital games tax offset) Bill 2021: Measure for consultation
The growth of the Digital Games sector in Australia from the introduction of an offset will have a direct impact on the livelihoods of songwriters and composers.
APRA AMCOS and the AGSC welcome the inclusion of “musicians (including composers) and sound designers” as qualifying Australian development expenditure. However, we suggest the drafting of the legislation states qualifying expenditure is for “songwriters, composers, musicians, sound designers and performers” which would be clearer and more comprehensive of music and sound production.
APRA AMCOS and the AGSC note that the use of copyright material is excluded in qualifying Australian development expenditure. We urge Treasury to review the exclusion of copyright material as rebatable expenditure. We propose Treasury consider the inclusion of copyright material with a cap on the amount of expenditure. This would ensure consistency with the screen Producer Offset arrangements and ensure that small-to-medium local studios benefit fully from the offset.
Options paper joint submission from Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) and APRA AMCOS
The Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) together with the Australasian Performing Rights Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (APRA AMCOS) have developed a joint submission to the Australian Government’s consultation on Supporting Australian stories on our screens— the Options Paper devised by Screen Australia and Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Australia has a long and proud history of screen composition. From the earliest days of cinema and the advent of television broadcast in the 1950s to today, Australian screen composers have provided the soundtrack to some of the most iconic and celebrated stories across screens both large and small.
AGSC and APRA AMCOS joint submission to Treasury Laws Amendment
(Measures for a later sitting) Bill 2021: Film tax offsets
We welcome the increase to the producers offset affecting non- feature productions from 20% to 30% and the retention of the producers offset for feature film to 40%.
However, we have a number of concerns about other changes to the legislation that will affect the documentary and low-budget feature sectors particularly, where many of the AGSC members and our fellow screen composers work; contributing to content for cinema, television broadcast, SVOD and other platforms.
The amendments to the Bill contain measures that will have unintended consequences on the production of homegrown documentaries and could all but elimate the production of music and other documentaries with arts, historical and political stories which rely on archival and copyright material for storytelling. This will not only dramatically cut the number of documentaries supported but will hit the hard won earnings of local screen composers and songwriters.
The Australian live music and entertainment industry is worth $16bn to the national economy. Operating nationally and internationally it includes large and small businesses, sole traders and employs 90,000+ FTE workers. From stadiums, to pubs, clubs, bars and nightclubs, festivals and events, indoor and outdoor, our industry is core to Australia’s cultural heart and is a driver of local and national economic activity. Australia is a music powerhouse with enormous export potential.
Local, national and international performances and tours take time to organise, are logistically complicated and involve navigating a myriad of Federal, State, Territory and local government legislation and regulations - and that was before COVID.
Inquiry into Australia's creative & cultural industries and institutions
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communication and the Arts
In an address to the National Press Club on 5 August 2020, APRA Chair Jenny Morris set out a vision for Australian music. To achieve that vision, the Australian music industry needs four key priorities:
A federal, state and local whole-of-government policy and investment commitment to Australia as a net exporter of music
A commitment to provide equity of access to music education in schools nationally, including in contemporary songwriting
A national and coordinated approach to reduce red-tape together with tax incentives to protect and promote the cultural infrastructure of live music venues
A re-commitment to local content to ensure the production and performance of local music content across all media platforms
Inquiry into the Australian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Select Committee on COVID-19
The Australian music sector fell off a cliff on 13 March 2020 when the Australian Government made the sensible
decision to shut the nation down. Without the ability for artists to play and venues to open around the country,
the industry lost billions of dollars in revenue.
Inquiry into Pathways and Participation Opportunities for Indigenous Australians in Employment and Business
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office and APRA AMCOS want to help create a more balanced music industry where First Nations people and people of colour are employed within higher levels of power and influence within the Australian music sector. We want First Nations music in Australia to be strong and independent.
We propose that greater investment in music focused programs and support can:
Close the gap for First Nations people and support a growth in cultural expression through music and
Enhance education opportunities for First Nations children and young people
Foster more career pathways for First Nations music artists, arts workers and arts leaders to support the
creation of sustainable First Nations owned and operated music sector organisations
Expand the opportunities for First Nations artists to grow international audiences and export markets
Inquiry into Supporting Australia's Exports and Attracting Investment
Joint Standing Committee on Trade & Investment Growth
Over the last decade the Sounds Australia program has worked to fast track the global success of Australian music by assisting with research, policies and activities in developing and established markets. APRA AMCOS has also organised international co-writing programs for our members, called SongHubs, in Australia and in developing key export markets.
APRA AMCOS and Sounds Australia have identified key factors that could enhance Australian music export opportunities, including:
Regulatory reforms in key international markets, particularly relating to visas for touring and overseas based members
Copyright law development and enforcement
Negotiating a provisional First Exporters visa between the USA and Australia
The Australian Government implementing a culture of engaging Australian Music First across all international Government activity, events and promotions
Inquiry into Factors contributing to the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communication and the Arts
A powerhouse that can fully realise the cultural, economic and social benefits of an even healthier music industry accessible to all Australians.
Through consultation with our members and the wider industry we identified five key areas for industry and government to prioritise for Australia to reap the social, cultural and economic dividend from transforming from a music nation to a music powerhouse. These priority areas are centred on:
The Economic and Cultural Value of Australian Content on Broadcast, Radio and Streaming Services
Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications
APRA AMCOS recognises the important role that Australian creative content has in shaping Australia's identity and character, and strongly supports the promotion of Australian music across all media. The Australian music industry also makes a significant contribution to the economy.
APRA AMCOS’ strong view is that local content requirements continue to remain highly relevant to the Australian broadcast media landscape; and advocates that the Australian content requirements that currently apply to the various broadcast sectors be neither removed nor decreased.
Audio and audio-visual streaming services are not currently subject to any Australian content requirements. Given the ongoing shift in Australian consumers away from traditional media to subscription streaming services, this is concerning.
APRA AMCOS advocates that the rights of copyright owners should be protected against the onslaught of technological developments that make it increasingly simple for their work to be accessed, and their rights taken free of charge.
Technological innovators whose businesses rely on creative content should be required to reach agreement with the owners of that content, just as they do for other product or service costs.
Australian copyright law is as appropriate to the digital environment as it is to the physical environment. Just because technology makes infringement easier is not a compelling reason to reduce the rights of copyright owners.