The ALRC has published an Issues Paper for its inquiry into Copyright and the Digital Economy.
In an attempt to provide some structure to the anticipated submissions, the Issues Paper propounds some 55 questions over a range of topics including:
- should (maybe that should include “can”) Australia adopt a “fair use” exception (questions 52 – 53) – an earlier assessment by the CLRC (pdf – see p.7 for the recommendations);
- is there a need for greater freedom for “transformative uses” such as ‘sampling’, ‘remixes’, and ‘mashups’ (questions 14 – 18)
- to what extent should copying for private and domestic use be permitted more freely, including should Optus be able to provide its Optus TV Now service (questions 7 – 13);
- orphan works (questions 23 & 24);
- library and archive exceptions (questions 19 – 22);
- data and text mining (questions 25 – 27);
- educational institutions (questions 28 – 31);
- Crown use (questions 32 – 34);
- retransmission of free-to-air broadcasts (questions 35 – 39);
- do the statutory licensing schemes work efficiently in the digital environment and are new licences needed (questions 40 – 44);
- should there be any other free use exceptions and should any existing exceptions be done away with (questions 48 – 51);
- to what extent should people be able to “contract out” of copyright exceptions (questions 54-55) – see what the CLRC thought (pdf).
The Issues Paper is available on the web, as a pdf, an ePub and also in rtf components. (So far as I can see, it does not appear to be available in “dead tree” form.)
Submissions are sought by 16 November 2012. The ALRC itself is required to report by November 2013.
If you are looking for an overview of what is already in place, the Australian Copyright Council’s take is here (pdf).
The Government has announced the finalised terms of reference for the Australian Law Reform’s inquiry into copyright:
I refer to the ALRC for inquiry and report pursuant to subsection 20(1) of the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 the matter of whether the exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968, are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment.
Amongst other things, the ALRC is to consider whether existing exceptions are appropriate and whether further exceptions should:
- recognise fair use of copyright material;
- allow transformative, innovative and collaborative use of copyright materials to create and deliver new products and services of public benefit; and
- allow appropriate access, use, interaction and production of copyright material online for social, private or domestic purposes.
As one might expect, the ALRC is directed not to duplicate work being undertaken by other inquiries and the like. It turns out that, amongst other things, these include
not duplicate work being undertaken on: unauthorised distribution of copyright materials using peer to peer networks; the scope of the safe harbour scheme for ISPs; a review of exceptions in relation to technological protection measures; and increased access to copyright works for persons with a print disability.
Anyone know what that work is?
The ALRC is required to deliver its report by 30 November 2013.
Terms of reference here.
IP Australia has published a second round of consultation paper (pdf) on its proposals for reform of intellectual property laws and procedures in Australia.
Topics covered include:
- Getting the Balance Right
- Exemptions to Patent Infringement
- Resolving patent opposition proceedings faster
- Resolving trade mark opposition proceedings faster
- Resolving divisional applications faster
Submissions are due by 12 February 2010.
In a move definitely to be encouraged, the proposed drafting instructions have also been published (pdf) for comment.
(Links to the “Word” version as well as the pdf version and the previous round of consultation papers via here.)
Some further papers will be published soon on:
- Flexible Search and Examination
- Streamlining the Patent Process
William Lye has a comprehensive report on the conclusion of the latest round of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright – a late agreement:
- to address a proposed treaty on copyright exceptions for visually impaired persons and others; and
- for renewed focus on the rights of audio-visual performances; and
- to continue discussion on the need to protect (badly misunderstood) broadcasters.
William Lye’s report here; the Chairman’s draft conclusions here. The discussion of exceptions seems to be much broader than just rights of the visually impaired: full range of discussion papers and working materials here and here.
For some reason, the Australian government is opposed to the proposals for visually impaired persons: Nic Suzor wants to explain to you why you should do something to help change this here.
Patently-O considers a new Federal Circuit case in the USA dealing with the scope of s 271(e)(1) – a defence to infringement by working the patent to prepare regulatory data.
It would appear that the defence should now apply in proceedings against imports before the ITC.
Patents Act 1990 (Cth) s 119A (introduced with effect from 25 October 2006 following ACIP’s report) permits such activity where the working:
- is for purposes of having a therapeutic pharmaceutical product included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods;
- or a similar foreign regulatory approval.
Although working for a foreign regulatory approval may take place only in the supplementary protection period (see e.g. ACIP on experimental use p. 44 (pdf)).
See now Alphapharm Pty Ltd v H Lundbeck A/S  FCA 559 at ff.
IP Australia is considering extending this: see paragraphs 9 and 17 of IP Australia’s Consultation Paper on experimental use (pdf) [NOTE: submissions should be in by 8 May 2009. Submissions on the Getting the Balance Right paper (pdf) are also due by then.]
WIPO’s Standing Committee on Patents has a study paper on exceptions and limitations as an area of increased focus.