NSW surveyors owed $2.25m in copyright payments


The NSW Government has paid $2.25 million to compensate NSW surveyors for the sale of their survey plans prior to 2013.

The back payment is the latest good news for surveyors who have battled for more than a decade to have the rights in their plans recognised. The payment has been made to not-for-profit collecting society, the Copyright Agency, which will then distribute the money to its surveyor members.

Previously, the plans were sold by the NSW Government and information brokers with no return to surveyors. But in July last year, the Copyright Tribunal determined the remuneration payable for the copying and communication of plans is 7.31% of the retail sale price of a plan. Due to the varying prices of plans sold by information brokers in NSW, the sale price of broker’s plans was deemed by the Tribunal to be $14.50, to be increased by CPI annually.

Copyright Agency’s Chief Executive Murray St Leger said, “We are pleased to see this issue finally resolved and about to deliver tangible results for surveyors.

“The long battle for surveyors to have their skill, effort and time valued in their copyright works was instigated by the Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW (ACSNSW) executive and board, with Patrick McNamara being appointed by them to lead the campaign. Over the years, the executive and board, as well as numerous surveyor witnesses gave countless hours to support the case through the courts.

“It is vital that all surveying companies and sole traders join the Copyright Agency as soon as possible to facilitate the distribution of payments. Surveyors in other States should join the agency too as this decision will impact on payments to surveyors Australia-wide in the next few years.”

ACS NSW Chairman, Paul Rowlandson, said “After a 15-year joint effort from ACS NSW, Copyright Agency and Pat McNamara, we are in the finishing straight of the copyright issue. We need one last effort to complete the journey by supporting Copyright Agency to represent the surveying profession to accept and distribute copyright payments.”

You can learn more about how to claim your unpaid royalties at the Copyright Agency website.

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