​SAI Global's refusal to share sees Standards Australia begin arbitration proceedings

Standards Australia has said SAI Global has been persistently refusing for more than 12 months to detail what Standards Australia information it is using, modifying, or revising.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Australia's peak non-government standards organisation Standards Australia has commenced arbitration proceedings against its distribution partner SAI Global for not providing information around what Standards Australia content it is using.

According to Standards Australia, SAI Global has been persistently refusing for more than 12 months to detail what Standards Australia information it has obtained.

This is despite the fact the contract -- known as the PLA between Standards Australia and SAI Global -- outlines SAI Global must obtain consent from Standards Australia before amending, modifying, or revising licensed material, according to the latter.

Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said the organisation has been left with no other choice other than to commence proceedings, adding that the organisation is committed to protecting the interests of the Australian community and how its content is digitally delivered.

"There is no question that Australia deserves better, and our plan contemplates better use of contributor time and sets Standards Australia up to deliver the digital, multi-format content needed in the future," she said.

"Standards Australia has a very clear and focused digital strategy. We have been seeking a dialogue with SAI Global regarding the use of our content. SAI Global has taken a position which we can only characterise as 'secretive' and which has caused us the highest degree of concern."

Evans however said she is still open to commercial discussions with SAI Global in accordance to the contract between the two organisations.

On the contrary, SAI Global has claimed under the contract that it has exclusive rights to publish, distribute, market, and sell Australian standards for up to 20 years and are "not confined to any particular format or subject to Standards Australia's approval".

SAI Global CEO Peter Mullins said the company has paid a "handsome price" to the exclusive rights as outlined in the contract.

"While the terms of the PLA are confidential, its material terms were disclosed in the Prospectus, a public document that was approved by the Standards Australia Board of Directors," he said.

"The Prospectus contains nothing that suggests that SAI's exclusive rights under the PLA are restricted to any particular technology or publication format and it is, in our view, an act of bad faith for Standards Australia to seek a curtailment or restriction of those rights."

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