Attorney-General on copyright reform DownUnder
Yesterday, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, who has portfolio responsibility for copyright in Australia, gave an important speech at the opening of the Australian Digital Alliance forum.
Some things that caught my eye:
The Copyright Act is overly long, unnecessarily complex, often comically outdated and all too often, in its administration, pointlessly bureaucratic.
I remain to be persuaded that [adopting 'fair use'] is the best direction for Australian law, but nevertheless I will bring an open and inquiring mind to the debate.
First, when this process is finished, and it will be a through and exhaustive exercise in law reform, the Copyright Act, will be shorter, simpler and easier to use and understand.
Secondly, the Act will be technology neutral – no more amusing references to videotapes as we find in current section 110AA.
Thirdly, we will pay careful regard to the broader international legal and economic context ….
In carrying out this work:
The challenge for us today is how to balance the benefits for creators against a range of other public interests including the interests of users, educators and other important public goods.
Nonetheless, the fundamental purpose of copyright remains unchanged – to ensure that those who take on the risks of creation are appropriately rewarded for their abilities and efforts.
On the subject of online piracy:
the High Court’s decision of 2012 in the iiNet casechanged the position. The Government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a ‘legal incentive’ for an internet service provider to cooperate with copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and networks.
Options the Attorney identified for fixing this include ‘graduated response’, third party injunctions against ISPs or maybe just facilitating self-regulation.
Read the Attorney General’s speech in full.
Lid dip: Peter Clarke