Current policy issues

Copyright issues are currently being reviewed in Australia and elsewhere.

Issue About More
Draft copyright amendments In December 2015, the government released a draft copyright amendment bill for comment. The bill was not introduced into Parliament before the July 2016 election, but the government has committed to introducing amendments in this term of Parliament. The draft bill contained amendments to benefit people with disabilities, education and libraries that have the support of content creators. It also contained amendments to extend the ‘safe harbour’ provisions for online service providers (see below) that are strongly opposed by content creators. webpage
Productivity Commission inquiry into Intellectual Property Arrangements On 20 December 2016, the government released the Productivity Commission’s final report on intellectual property arrangements. Submissions are due by 14 February, and the government has said it will respond by mid 2017.  


‘Fair use’ The Productivity Commission has recommended that Australia introduce a broad new copyright exception, based on the US ‘fair use’ exception. The recommendation is strongly opposed by content creators. PwC has estimated that the change could result in a loss of GDP of more than $1 billion. webpage


Kim Williams calls for rejection of PC report

‘Safe harbour’ The Copyright Act has provisions, known as ‘safe harbour’, that limit the consequences of infringement for internet service providers if they take certain steps. The government has proposed extending the safe harbour provisions to other online service providers like Google, Facebook and eBay. Those changes are strongly opposed by content creators. Music Rights Australia submission
Parallel importation of books Book retailers sometimes need permission from Australian rightsholders to import books purchased overseas for sale in Australia. The Productivity Commission has recommended removal of the permission requirement to allow an ‘open market’. The recommendation is strongly opposed by authors, publishers and the Australian Booksellers Association.  Australian Society of Authors submission

Australian Publshers Association submission

Extended collective licensing An extended collective licensing (ECL) framework enables a copyright management organisation (CMO) to get approval to ‘extend’ a licensing solution authorised by the CMO’s members to cover non-members’ content. ECL has been operating in Scandinavia for many years, has recently been adopted in a number of other countries (including the UK), and has been recommended by the US Copyright Office as a better solution than the ‘fair use’ exception for ‘mass digitisation’. webpage

21 December 2016

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