Submission to the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Australia's Intellectual Property Arrangements

This submission aims to contribute to the PC’s consideration of issues relating Australia‚Äôs copyright system, to ensure that it provides appropriate incentives for innovation, investment and the production of creative works and does not unreasonably impede further innovation, competition and access to goods and services.

As the Commission points out in its issues paper, copyright has faced significant challenges in adapting to the digital era. The technologies and markets used to create and deliver copyright works have changed significantly, yet Australian copyright law has not moved sufficiently to accommodate these changes. This has resulted in a system that, when taken in its whole, is neither efficient nor effective. It is inflexible and slow to adapt to new technologies and markets, and there is little transparency in or accountability about how changes to the system are determined.

To make the system more efficient and effective, limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright owners should be used to carve out greater space for users to make use of copyright material in appropriate circumstances. At a minimum, these limitations should include a flexible exception modelled on the US fair use exception. This is necessary to cure inefficiencies in the system, ensure adaptability, maximise the benefits to innovation, and support the dissemination of knowledge. The ADA also recommends a number of specific changes to make copyright more efficient in its use by schools, libraries and the tech sector.