Licensee Disputes

APRA AMCOS provide an Alternative Dispute Resolution facility for faster and less expensive resolution of certain disputes with licensees or potential licensees.

Disputes may relate to the terms of the licence, whether a licence is required at all, or how much music is being played at the licensee's premises or by the licensee's service.  These disputes can nearly always be referred to the Copyright Tribunal or to the courts to be resolved. However, APRA AMCOS realise that the Copyright Tribunal and the court system can be expensive and time consuming dispute resolution forums.

APRA AMCOS' Alternative Dispute resolution facility involves a procedure known as Expert Determination. APRA AMCOS have established the Expert Determination procedure to attempt to resolve disputes with licensees or potential licensees, more efficiently and cost effectively.

Expert Determination Procedure:

  • If during your negotiations with a licensing officer from APRA AMCOS a dispute arises, either you or the licensing officer may suggest that the dispute be referred to Expert Determination. This should only occur if it seems unlikely that the dispute can be resolved by negotiation. If you are not already a licensee of APRA AMCOS and you ask to have the dispute determined by an expert, APRA AMCOS must agree. If you already have an APRA AMCOS licence, you may be required to have the dispute referred to Expert Determination, under the terms of your licence.
  • Once you have agreed that the dispute should be referred to Expert Determination, the APRA AMCOS licensing officer will refer the matter to the APRA AMCOS ADR liaison officer. The liaison officer will take a detailed note of the matters in dispute, and will contact you to make arrangements for the Expert Determination.
  • Disputes will be determined by one of a panel of three independent experts. All members of the panel will be barristers with expertise in intellectual property matters, who have not been retained to advise APRA AMCOS or to represent APRA AMCOS in legal proceedings. APRA AMCOS will ask you to choose from three such barristers.
  • A date which is convenient to you, APRA AMCOS and the independent expert will be appointed. The dispute will be dealt with at a venue which is as close to your place of business as possible (usually a main city).
  • Before the date which has been set down for dealing with the dispute, you and APRA AMCOS may submit any written statements or other documents which support your arguments relating to the dispute. These should be forwarded to the ADR liaison officer.
  • At the Expert Determination, you will be given an opportunity to present your arguments to the independent expert. APRA AMCOS will also be given an opportunity to present its arguments. If both parties wish, they may have their solicitors present to assist them. If you agree to have a representative body appear on your behalf, you may.
  • The expert will then make a determination of the dispute. If either you or APRA AMCOS are dissatisfied with the determination, the dispute may be referred to the Copyright Tribunal or the courts (whichever is the appropriate body).
  • Depending on the nature of the dispute and the circumstances of the licensee, APRA AMCOS may pay for the costs of the independent expert, including professional fees and travel expenses. The cost of the venue for the Expert Determination must be shared equally between the parties. You must pay your own costs associated with the determination. If your dispute is with APRA only, please refer to APRA’s policy on paying for expert determination [see below].

Nothing in this procedure prevents you from negotiating with APRA AMCOS a different method of dispute resolution, such as mediation.

APRA's Policy on paying for Expert Determination

In most cases (including all casual licences), APRA will pay for the costs of the independent expert, including professional fees and travel expenses. Other than under casual licences, if your annual APRA licence fees are more than $100,000, you and APRA will share the costs of the independent expert equally or as directed by the independent expert. The cost of the venue for the Expert Determination must be shared equally between the parties. You must pay your own costs associated with the determination.

If you negotiate with APRA a different method of dispute resolution, such as mediation, APRA is not bound to pay the costs of any such procedure.

Further information

If you would like any details about the process, please contact APRA AMCOS Licensing Services.


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