Australian creatives are struggling to keep Australian cinematic stories under Australian ownership and control, according to a new report.
Lateral Economycommissioned by Screen Producers Australia, demonstrates that the preservation of intellectual property is vital to Australia’s creative economy.
Preserving intellectual property allows a production company to use the same ideas in new projects, whether it’s reusing character footage to create spin-offs or licensing the format for use in other markets.
But the report found that some streaming platforms are seeking the intellectual property rights forever.
“It is of paramount importance that the value of Australian cultural intellectual property is recognized and held in Australian hands,” said SPA CEO Matt Deaner.
“We are currently in important negotiations with the government and streaming platforms on an obligation to invest in Australian cinematic stories, across the Australian film industry.
“There is a strong view that if we don’t also include a mechanism to support Australian ownership and control of Australian content, by failing to act at this crucial time, we are underselling our culture,” said Deaner.
While much has been said about the level of reinvestment in streaming regulation, much less has been said about intellectual property rights.
But while Ludo Studio of Brisbane has licensed the global distribution rights to Blue to BBC Studios, retained the rights, including all future production rights, ensuring that they and the creator are included in all future developments of Blue.
“Australians are justifiably proud of the success of the Australian children’s show, Blue. Imagine the difference if a streaming giant took the intellectual property rights to it. I wanted Blue are you still referencing the grand Aussie concept of “tactical wee” if it wasn’t Aussie? I really doubt it,” Deaner said.
“SPA believes this issue could easily be addressed through a modified definition of Australian content so that a program is not considered ‘Australian content’ for purposes of the streaming investment obligation unless the intellectual property rights are owned by from an independent Australian manufacturing company, Deaner said.
“Other countries are addressing this by ensuring rights cannot be awarded for extended periods. For example, in France, this term is three years. We urgently need a similar mechanism in Australia as SPA has evidence of many streamers seeking forever rights, mostly as a way to stop competition from other platforms. This is a practice that puts a major brake on Australian creativity.
“If we support Australian intellectual property, we support the sustainability of creative businesses through the viability of Australian manufacturing companies and this, in turn, supports the employment and training of the workforce,” he said.