The convolutedly named The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has issued a consultation paper for industry on the Digital Economy Future Directions.
Apparently, the consultation draft arises from workshops held in August and September 2008.
There is considerable useful detail about the state and composition of the digital economy in Australia and questions on a range of important issues are posed. In connection with the regulatory framework issues, the following questions are raised:
Should the existing copyright safe harbour scheme for carriage service providers be broadened?
Does Australia’s copyright law unreasonably inhibit the operation of basic and important internet services? If so, what are the nature of such problems and practical consequences? How should these be overcome?
Is there non-copyright legislation that is directly relevant to digital economy businesses that create uncertainty or barriers?
One might have thought, at a minimum, that the scope of the so-called copyright ‘safe harbors’ should be expanded from the indecipherable ‘carriage service providers’ at least to the extent of ‘service providers’ permitted under the Free Trade Agreement (see art. 17.11.29). One might also speculate that it would be preferable to adopt a global framework for such service provider liability rather than adopting inconsistent and contradictory regimes for different subject matter such as copyright and defamation etc.
The paper specifically excludes from its scope questions about the National Broadband Network.
The consultation paper is available in pdf or Word format via here.
Better hurry, you have until 11 February 2009 to get your pearls in.