The draft report finds that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users” and recommends major changes to the Australian copyright system. These include:
- the introduction of a broad fair use provision to add flexibility to Australia’s copyright system and enshrine user rights;
- the extension of existing ISP safe harbor provisions to other online service providers;
- the ending of perpetual copyright terms for unpublished works; and
- the adoption of policies to require open access publication of publicly funded research.
The ADA supports these and other recommendations by the Commission. We note two – the introduction of copyright terms for unpublished works and the extension of safe harbours to online service providers – are already proposed in the exposure draft of the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill released by the government late last year. We eagerly await the introduction of this Bill in Parliament.
Jessica Coates, the Executive Officer of the ADA, said “If implemented, the Productivity Commission’s proposals will provide major benefits for all Australians by promoting creativity and innovation, improving access to knowledge and creating economic growth.”
“They will be particularly welcomed by those sectors that rely on access to material that is currently locked up behind overly-broad copyright laws, including schools and universities, libraries and other cultural institutions, disability organisations and companies working with new technologies.”
“These changes will align Australia’s copyright regime with international best practice and will ensure that the everyday behaviour of millions of Australians – such as forwarding emails and using the latest technologies – will no longer be illegal.”
About the ADA
The ADA is a non-profit coalition of public and private sector interests formed to promote balanced copyright law and provide an effective voice for a public interest perspective in the copyright debate. ADA members include universities, schools, consumer groups, galleries, museums, technology companies, scientific and other research organisations, libraries and individuals.
Whilst the breadth of ADA membership spans various sectors, all members are united in their support of copyright law that appropriately balances the interests of rights holders with the interests of users of copyright material.