ALRC report published – fair use recommended

The ALRC’s report on Copyright and the Digital Economy was tabled in Parliament today.

There are 30 recommendations, but the principal recommendation is the introduction of a general fair use defence against copyright infringement.

Here’s a statistic:

… the ALRC … undertook 109 consultations and received 870 submissions.

The principal recommendation:

Recommendation 5–1 The fair use exception should contain:

(a) an express statement that a fair use of copyright material does not infringe copyright;

(b) a non-exhaustive list of the factors to be considered in determining whether the use is a fair use (‘the fairness factors’); and

(c) a non-exhaustive list of illustrative uses or purposes that may qualify as fair use (‘the illustrative purposes’).

Recommendation 5–3 The non-exhaustive list of illustrative purposes should include the following:

(a) research or study;

(b) criticism or review;

(c) parody or satire;

(d) reporting news;

(e) professional advice;

(f) quotation;

(g) non-commercial private use;

(h) incidental or technical use;

(i) library or archive use;

(j) education; and

(k) access for people with disability.

There would also be a corresponding repeal of fair dealing and other specific defences.

If ‘fair use’ is not adopted, the ALRC recommends that a fair dealing exception be introduced for each of those purposes; (a) to (e) essentially exist already; (f) to (k) would be new.

There are other recommendations and some specific defences, particularly relating to education, governmental use and broadcasting. On the question of orphan works, the ALRC recommends:

Recommendation 13–1 The Copyright Act should be amended to limit the remedies available in an action for infringement of copyright, where it is established that, at the time of the infringement:

(a) a reasonably diligent search for the rights holder had been conducted and the rights holder had not been found; and

(b) as far as reasonably possible, the user of the work has clearly attributed it to the author

ALRC’s media release


The full report

A summary report

Attorney-General’s answer in question time last year.

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