Current Topics

Copyright and the digital economy

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)  received Terms of Reference for the Copyright Inquiry on 29 June 2012. The ALRC was asked to consider whether exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968 are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment and whether further exceptions should be recommended.

The ALRC released an Issues Paper on 20 August 2012 and a Discussion Paper on 5 June 2013. Submissions in response to the Discussion Paper closed on 31 July 2013.

ALIA and ALLA worked jointly with a committee formed to review the issues and provide submissions particularly of relevance to libraries and advocating for particular areas of copyright reform to be implemented. This also involved attendance at a GLAM sector meeting with the Commissioner and Legal Officers from the ALRC in Sydney early in 2013.

Upon review of other organisations submissions, some were adopted into the joint ALIA/ALLA submission as they were extremely well researched and written and also agreed with the library sector’s concerns. The ALIA/ALLA submission can be found at http://www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/subs/624._org_alia_and_alla_joint_submission.pdf

The ALRC produced a final report and submitted it to the Attorney General Cth for consideration. The full report and its summary is located at: http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/copyright-report-122

It included 30 recommendations, and importantly for the library sector, the introduction of a fair use defence.

As at March 2014, there are no new Bills put to Parliament from the AG to amend the Copyright Act with the ALRC recommendations.