“IP is a national asset that must be protected”

Industry gathered in Canberra as the Make It Australian campaign seeks to protect Inellectual Property rights.

Industry leaders gathered at Parliament House, Canberra, last night in the latest move by the Make It Australian campaign.

In attendance were representatives of Screen Producers Australia, the Australian Directors’ Guild, the Australian Writers’ Guild, Australian Guild of Screen Composers, and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

They were joined by local politicians, Darren Ashton (Director), Tony Ayres (Producer), Shane Brennan (Showrunner), Fiona Donovon (Production Designer), Antony Partos (Composer), Tracey Robertson (Producer), and legendary director Fred Schepisi.

Their latest missison is a call for Australia to prioritise the protection of Intellectual Property rights in an era when Streaming platforms are seeking longer IP licences -or even complete control.

Matthew Deaner, CEO of SPA said: “This is about jobs and economic activity but also about nurturing our cultural identity through the powerful medium of storytelling. Our screen industry generates invaluable intellectual property that’s uniquely Australian – think of Bluey, Heartbreak High, The Dressmaker and Animal Kingdom. It’s the lifeblood of our creativity, innovation, and cultural sovereignty. To safeguard this valuable asset, we must regulate streaming platforms now.”

Sophie Harper, Executive Director of the ADG, said: “The economic and cultural significance of the Australian screen industry cannot be overstated. Our screen productions are a hub of innovation as well as a source of national pride; not to mention a core creator of jobs and a key driver of export activity. We must enact regulation to ensure and protect the industry’s continued growth, to keep Australian stories on Australian screens, and in Australian hands”.

Claire Pullen, Group CEO of AWG and AWGACS, said: “We can talk about the cultural importance of seeing our unique stories on screen, or we can talk about the economic might of our billion-dollar industry, but either way there’s no denying that it benefits us all when Australian stories are owned and developed by Australians. A thriving screen sector where Australians are invested serves our community. Now is the time for us to secure that future through regulation that champions local stories on streamers and ensures content continues to be owned by and benefit Australians.”

Erin Madeley, Chief Executive of the MEAA, added: “It’s high time the invaluable creations of Australia’s screen sector were safeguarded to continue the industry’s growth so it can deliver sustainable jobs for all workers. It is critical that this investment in screen productions flows through to provide fair pay, safe workplaces, opportunities for training and skills development, and decent working conditions.”

In a special panel presentation, these leading luminaries conveyed a resounding message about the importance of retaining intellectual property and the indispensable role of the screen industry – one that not only generates substantial economic activity and local jobs but also crafts cultural narratives cherished by global audiences — and the need for immediate regulation to stabilise and address several critical structural problems damaging the sector including the retention of IP.

Over the last couple of years, the Australian screen industry has experienced growth that is important to stabilise and build upon. The industry employed approximately 55,000 people and contributed over $6 billion in value-added to the Australian economy in 2021/22 (Source: ABS, Film, Television and Digital Games, 2021/22) — making it Australia’s largest creative contributor and demonstrating its potential for export and further development with the right strategies.

Crucially, this growth isn’t just about numbers; it’s about nurturing a creative ecosystem that generates valuable intellectual property (IP) in the form of captivating films, television shows, musical scores, scripts, character names, and much more. This IP is the lifeblood of the screen industry — it fuels creativity, innovation, and cultural storytelling. The Make It Australian campaign strongly believes that IP is a national asset that must be protected to ensure Australian stories continue to grace Australian screens.

Streaming platforms have quickly become the dominant commissioners of screen stories around the world. With this has come inequitable deal-making and demands for longer IP licences or the demand for complete ownership and control of our stories, with serious repercussions for domestic screen industries globally and new challenges for Australian independent SME screen businesses and creatives.

Make It Australian is calling for Australia to follow the lead of other key markets, such as in the UK, Europe, and Canada, which are prioritising the protection of IP, and those that are regulating investment by streaming platforms’ contribution to creative industries in their local markets.

Today, we echo the sentiments of our industry professionals, talented creators, and countless Australians who treasure homegrown stories. The screen industry is not just about entertainment; it’s about preserving our cultural heritage, promoting diversity, and sustaining an ecosystem where Australian stories thrive.

We believe in the power of regulation to secure our industry’s future and safeguard our IP. Let us stand together and ensure that Australian stories, told by Australians, continue to illuminate screens across the nation.

3 Responses

  1. I have always been an advocate of Intellectual Property 💯…people choose to share their creativity with the world…this recently came up on “Letters Live”…(A Benedict Cumberbatch creation) on YouTube regarding a singer where a production company wanted to use his music for “free” on a tv series…the singer wrote a very scathing letter to said company and the young person who read the letter was absolutely brilliant in his assignment of why he should not provide his creative work for free…it’s not just in film and tv…it’s in the music industry as well…going back to the 50s…where various artists, actors, etc were blantantly ripped off…a lot of creatives around the world have had extensive battled to get what is rightfully theirs over the years..

  2. Australians stopped making anything decades ago. It is all outsoursed to production companies that are foreign owned, who hire people, and as they pay for the creation they own the IP forever. And they won’t invest or make anything without securing that IP. Canada, UK, Ireland and Europe own IP because they invest a fortune in making stuff that people want to watch. As a result they end up funding TV in all sorts of places including Australia. You can’t regulate steal IP because we are signatories to global copyright treaties. The NSW Government just handed back $60m of taxpayes money to foreign producers so they will make content that they will own in NSW instead of Queensland.

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