Government proposes much needed copyright changes for online access

The ADA welcomes proposed changes to copyright to enable online delivery of educational, cultural and government content.

Thursday 13 August 2020
For immediate release

Canberra, Australia—The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) welcomes the announcement today by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, that the Morrison Government will introduce changes to Australia’s copyright system to better support online access to content. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of our copyright system to enable online delivery by schools, universities, cultural institutions and government, and we welcome moves to address this.

Minister Fletcher announced updates to the education and library and archives exceptions, a fair dealing exception for non-commercial quotation, a limited liability scheme for use of orphan works and updates to the government statutory licensing scheme. These changes will provide much needed flexibility for Australian libraries, archives, schools, universities, Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers and government agencies – resulting in better access outcomes for all Australians, while protecting the rights of creators.

‘We support proactive copyright amendments that will mean educational, cultural organisations and government agencies are better able make use of modern technologies to support all Australians, wherever they are,’ said ADA Chairperson Derek Whitehead OAM.

‘We thank the government for addressing these issues. The need for copyright reform to better facilitate online access to cultural, educational and government content has been made especially apparent during the COVID-19 crisis.’

‘Lockdown has forced cultural bodies, schools, universities and government bodies to quickly transition to online delivery and our current Copyright Act couldn’t keep up. These changes are crucial to Australia’s ongoing response to the global pandemic and will position our cultural collections and educators well to meet future challenges, whatever they may be.’

The ADA welcomes today’s announcement and the greater clarity and certainty amendments will bring for Australia’s educators and collecting institutions. We look forward to participating in public consultation when draft legislation is released.

More information on today’s announcement is available on Minister Fletcher’s website and on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.


Interviews and media contact

Mr Whitehead is available for interviews by request. All media inquiries related to this media release should be directed to:

Mr Elliott Bledsoe
Copyright Officer
Australian Digital Alliance
0405 059 367