Streem gets licence extension in dispute with Copyright Agency
Intellectual Property July 5, 2018 11:01 pm By Cat Fredenburgh | Melbourne

Media monitoring company Streem has been granted interim relief in its dispute with the Copyright Agency Limited over the terms of an agreement to sublicence news content from leading publishers, including News Corp, Fairfax Media, and Bauer Media.

The Copyright Tribunal on June 28 extended Streem’s licensing agreement with CAL in its current form while the Tribunal weighs its challenge to licensing terms imposed by CAL for a new agreement. Streem has filed an application with the Tribunal under 157(3) of the Copyright Act challenging the reasonableness of its current licencing agreement as well as a new licence offered by CAL based on industry-wide terms.

“Streem like its key competitors, has asked the Copyright Tribunal to determine a reasonable price for it to licence copyrighted materials from the Copyright Agency. Streem will remain licenced throughout this process,”  Streem’s CEO Mr Elgar Welch told Lawyerly.

The current agreement, under which Streem has a licence to sublicence CAL’s content from top publishers such as News Corp, Fairfax Media, and Bauer Media, among others, was set to expire on June 30.

Streem sought an interim order extending the agreement, but eliminating the provision that grants a minimum fee to CAL regardless of the revenue Streem derives from exploiting its licenced content.

The Tribunal said the agreement, which was initially set to expire in November 2017 but was extended several times, should be extended in its current form because it was “the best evidence of a bargain struck between the parties which seeks to allocate risk according to the terms and conditions of the document including the licence fee arrangements”.

“The Tribunal ought to be reluctant to make an interim order that re-casts the balance struck so recently between the parties in distributing rights, risks and revenue,” it said.

However, the Tribunal did provide for an adjustment mechanism to address concerns that the final relief granted may be more or less than the fee ultimately determined by the Tribunal.

Launched in early 2017, Streem provides real-time media monitoring services to corporations and government organisations.

In a September announcement, both parties hailed the benefits of the licensing agreement.

“We’re pleased to have partnered with the Copyright Agency in broadening the market for customers seeking media monitoring services,” Streem CEO Welch said at the time.

“The copyright ecosystem ensures payments are returned to our publisher – and journalist – members when their cutting-edge works are used and re-used. It’s a win-win for businesses who rely on credible, timely content to maintain their competitive edge and the creators of that content who want to keep delivering accurate and meaningful information,” Copyright Agency’s Director of Commercial Licensing, Guy Johnson, said.

Streem is represented by Phoebe Arcus with 5 Wentworth Chambers and solicitors from Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Copyright Agency Limited is represented by Christian Dimitriadis SC and Edwina Whitby with Nigel Bowen Chambers and solicitors from MinterEllison.

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Cat Fredenburgh

Cat Fredenburgh has been covering legal news for 12 years. She was previously Editor-in-Chief at US legal news publication Law360. She is the Co-Founder of Lawyerly.