The PAML Pilot Project
The Performing Arts Multimedia Library (PAML) Pilot Project is a joint venture of the Federal and Victorian Governments. It aims to explore legal, technical and industry practice issues in the production and distribution of performing arts in the digital environment. Under the project, performing arts companies, funded through The Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts (DOCITA), Multimedia Victoria and Cinemedia produced a program of digital products across a range of live performances. This process provides a test case in copyright and intellectual property management. The findings and experiences of the project form the basis for the guidelines presented in this site.
While recording a performance in digital form is relatively straightforward, the distribution, intellectual property, and rights issues are complex. The PAML Pilot Project provides a practical means of exploring these issues. Four performing arts companies were funded to produce digital products based on a live performance from their 1998 season. The production process provided a model for the production and delivery of performing arts material across a range of electronic platforms.
A steering committee with representation from DOCITA, Cinemedia, Arts Victoria and Playing Australia, defined selection criteria and determined a list of companies and organisations to be considered for participation in the project.
A wide range of performing arts companies across many artistic disciplines were approached, briefed and asked to submit proposals. The companies had a proven track record of consistently producing outstanding performances and a record of effective relationships with all relevant unions. The proposals for the PAML Pilot Project were judged on the basis of quality, innovation and marketability. Participants were chosen from Victoria only for ease of management.
In April 1998 the steering committee invited four performing arts companies to participate: Arena Theatre, Chunky Move Dance Company, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Not Yet It's Difficult. The selected companies represent a cross-section of art forms and management practices. This is reflected in the guidelines and case studies, which document the different approaches to content, creation, and licensing.
The project parameters
The participating companies determined a program of products based on their proposed target market and artistic interest. The project required that one product from each company be lodged on Cinemedia's digital delivery system, SWIFT Digital Media Services. SWIFT provides users with online access to digital video titles on demand via commercial broadband delivery networks. Users pay a per-usage charge and have full VCR functionality while viewing. A flexible copyright management system developed for the online delivery of these digital videos regulates access, calculates entitlements, and disburses returns to the appropriate copyright owner. The SWIFT system has sites in a number of secondary schools and tertiary institutions and is intended for full implementation across the education sector. The companies were therefore directed to make a product suitable for the education market.
Each of the participating companies negotiated appropriate copyright agreements with creators, performers and others, to allow for commercial use and digital archival of the products. Cinemedia, as project manager, documented the negotiation of these agreements with the various stakeholders which included the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA). Along with the program of products, various clips of the performance and other support material such as designs, stills and program notes were included on the Australian Cultural Network (ACN), the Federal Government's online gateway for the Performing Arts Industry.
One of the aims of the pilot project was to provide a training platform for the participating companies. To familiarise the companies with complex intellectual property issues, Cinemedia commissioned a series of copyright training workshops, which were presented by Technology and Communications Solicitor for Minter Ellison Lawyers, Jamie Wodetzki. The workshops assisted the companies in understanding what was involved in clearing and negotiating the appropriate rights for a digital environment.
Although some of the rights being explored as part of the PAML Pilot Project as yet have no legal precedent, this process provided the opportunity to create copyright management models which may have relevance for the future.
The participating companies were asked to consider a process of managing moral rights issues at contract stage. Although this is not currently a legal requirement, it may soon be adopted under a package of proposed reforms. The process encouraged dialogue about what constitutes derogatory treatment and helped to identify a range of issues pertaining to moral rights in new media technologies.
An important aim of the project was to address payment models in the digital age. In the past performers and creators have been paid whether a recording succeeds or fails. Payment is based on estimated reach rather than actual usage, a method that can impose large start-up costs and prevent a project from getting off the ground. Consequently companies explored back-end payment models rather than 'up-front' payment. The pilot project built on the Cinemedia SWIFT Digital Media Services trial, which allowed the companies to consider digital possibilities that enable tracking and administration of back-end payment models.
Production contractors employed on the projects were directly answerable to the performing arts companies who needed to maintain artistic control over their product. The performing arts companies were accountable to Cinemedia, as Executive Producer, for the use of funds. The Executive Producer's role was that of an advisor, providing each company with immediate technical and managerial backup.
Creators and other stakeholders were consulted and involved in developing their own contracts. Additionally, the MEAA had extensive input into contracts for the performers, which provided a template document to be used as a basis for negotiating. Provision for back-end payment was included in all of the contracts, and terms and agreements established in relation to the use of promotional material, commercial exploitation and the longterm archiving of the digital products.
The production results of the PAML Pilot Project are exciting high quality and innovative programs.
Contributors to the PAML Pilot Project and Guidelines
- Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts
- Multimedia Victoria
- Arts Victoria
The selected companies
- Arena Theatre
- Chunky Move
- Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
- Not Yet Its Difficult (NYID) performance group
- All performers involved in the companies' productions
- All creative contributors
- Production companies and individuals involved in the pilot project
- Helen Simondson, PAML Project Manager, Online Department
- Robin Wright, Online Department Manager
- Cheryl Houben, Executive Producer, Cinemedia Production Management
- Russell Browne, Manager, Cinemedia Production Management
Jamie Wodetzki, Senior Associate, Minter Ellison Lawyers, Melbourne
- Media Entertainment Arts Alliance
- Copyright societies
- Entertainment Industry Employers Association (EIEA)
PAML Pilot Project steering committee
- Chair: Ian Roberts, Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, General Manager & Chair of Playing Australia
- Dr Kay Daniels, Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts - Assistant Secretary, Intellectual Property Branch
- Dr John Cook, Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts - Director, New Media Section
- Ms Sue Murphy, Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts - Intellectual Property Branch
- Jenifer Hooks, Cinemedia, Executive Director
- Robin Wright, Cinemedia, Online Manager
- Debra Jefferies, Arts Victoria - Manager, Market Development
- Helen Simondson, Cinemedia, PAML Pilot Project Manager
Guidelines writing team
- Helen Simondson
- Vanessa Rouse
- Andrew Coates
- Sue Murphy
- Debra Jefferies
- Jamie Wodetzki
- Participating performing arts companies
- Kerry Hyndes
Website and handbook
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