In news that will have group exercise instructors nationwide beaming from ear to ear, the Federal Court has overturned the recent Copyright Tribunal decision to allow the increase copyright fees for the use of music in group exercise classes, citing ‘procedural fairness’ as the reason for the decision.
‘This decision will ensure that gyms, fitness and recreation centres remain viable and affordable for all Australians, helping them to maintain a healthy lifestyle’ said Lauretta Stace, Fitness Australia Chief Executive Officer.
The PPCA, representing the international record companies, was preparing to hike its fees in January 2011 by a huge 1,500 per cent – which would have resulted in a typical fitness centre with 1,500 members being forced to pay over $80,000 in fees per annum, a massive increase on the $2,000 they currently pay.
‘We are pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the Federal Court has seen fit to overturn the Copyright Tribunal decision which would, if successful, have had a detrimental affect on group exercise in the fitness industry’ said Stace.
The PPCA case, which Fitness Australia has been fighting through the fitness industry’s Operation M.U.S.I.C campaign, was built largely on the basis of an economic model that sought to place a value on the use of music in group exercise classes.
Reflecting on the outcome, Stace said, ‘Fitness Australia has always maintained that this economic modelling and valuation study was seriously flawed and that was the basis of our case in response. The decision validates the strong response by Fitness Australia against an unfair and unreasonable proposal. This issue has unified and strengthened the fitness industry and demonstrates how businesses and professionals can work together to take action to protect the industry from threats which potentially damage its commitment to helping Australians lead fitter and healthier lives. I would like to thank all those in the fitness industry who have made a contribution to our legal defense’.
With this surprising turn of events, it is now to be seen how independent and chain clubs and group exercise managers and instructors react. And, of course, the question on everyone’s minds will be how the PPCA responds to this latest development in what has been something of a tug of war between the fitness and music industries.
What are your thoughts - how will this latest development affect the way your group ex classes are run?
(Information from Fitness Australia & Australian Fitness Network)
but any gyms are still remaining PPCA free, they simply dont want to pay any money to use the music
Hi Anon - that's right; due to the uncertainty caused by the legal wranglings of the past few years, many facilities are 'playing safe' by remaining PPCA-free (after all, we have yet to see what the PPCA's next move will be - they may well attempt a different
challenge). It also seems that the PPCA shot itself in the foot as far as many facilities are concerned; the unreasonable rate of increase it sought made it appear greedy, so when given the option of not paying royalties many were happy to go with it. After
all, any goodwill or loyalty to the PPCA which may once have existed, would have evaporated as a consequence of it's unreasonable actions.