The bill has finally been introduced into Parliament today.
This follows the release way back in December 2015 of an exposure draft bill.
According to the EM, the main topics covered in this version of the bill are:
- ” replace the current exception for persons with a disability, and others acting on their behalf, with a fair dealing exception;
- ” replace the current statutory licences for institutions assisting persons with a print or intellectual disability with a single exception that applies to organisations assisting persons with a disability;
- ” harmonise and modernise the preservation exceptions for copyright material in libraries, archives and key cultural institutions;
- “? consolidate and simplify the statutory licences that allow educational institutions to use works and broadcasts;
- “? allow copyright material to be incorporated into educational assessments conducted online;
- “? set new standard terms of protection for published and unpublished materials and for Crown copyright in original materials; and
- “? make minor amendments to update references to Ministers and preconditions for making regulations extending or restricting the operation of the Act in relation to foreign countries.”
Those of you with long memories will notice that the amendments in the exposure draft to bring the safe harbour provisions for “carriage service providers” (see s 116AC to 116AJ) into line with Australia’s obligations under the US Free Trade Agreement (way down in chapter 17 article 29(b)) is missing from that list. The rights holders’ interests were very strongly opposed to that change and, presumably, the Government is betting that President Trump’s America will not be too fussed.
In relation to the term of copyright in unpublished works – currently perpetual (until published) – the Minister explained the intended effect of the amendments:
The bill harmonises the copyright term for works (including a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work) by creating a new standard term of 70 years from the death of the author, irrespective of whether the relevant work has or has not been made public. This means that an unpublished work will have the same term of copyright protection as a published work. Where the identity of the author remains generally unknown, or the work is made by an international organisation to which the act applies, the standard copyright term will be 70 years from when it is made. However, if this work is made public within 50 years of being created, the copyright term will be 70 years from first being made public. For sound recordings and films, a standard copyright term of 70 years from the year in which the material is made will apply. However, if the sound recording or film is made public within 50 years of being made, the copyright term will be 70 years from first being made public.
Links to the Bill and the EM from here.