Submission to the Copyright Modernisation Consultation Paper

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Submission to the Copyright Modernisation Consultation Paper (PDF, 223 KB, 2 July 2018)

Our submission to the Copyright Modernisation Consultation Paper made the following recommendations:

1. Replace current, narrow Fair Dealing Exceptions to copyright laws with broad Fair Use provisions. 

Current Australian legislation lists specific ways in which copyrighted materials may be used without breaching copyright law. The alternative is to list broad categories of use that are exempt from breaching copyright. Our current, narrow exemptions make it more difficult to conduct business while making sure no copyright laws are broken. This environment makes Australia less attractive as a place to do some types of business than countries with broad Fair Use provisions.

2. Ensure that is it not a breach of copyright to copy a work purely to access the work.

It is legal to reproduce copyrighted material for the purpose of making it accessible to a person who requires it in a different format due to disability, e.g. using text-to-speech to read a written work.

Some people will technically be able to access a work without transformation, but would find it considerably easier if the work was in a different format. The reproduction of copyrighted works purely to access the work should not breach copyright, regardless of the attributes of the person accessing the work.

3. Contracting out should not protect works from being used in a manner in which the artist did not intend, as this sort of use is precisely the basis of Fair Use.

4. Similarly: Laws restricting 'contracting out' of copyright provisions should be enacted.

Some copyright holders 'contract out' of some of the usual Fair Dealing Exceptions, meaning that they can still hold copyright over their work for uses that would otherwise be considered fair use.

Allowing this level of contracting out adds friction to innovation. Creators of derivative works must either check whether each content creator has contracted out, or else risk breaching copyright.

Some creators might want to prevent their work from being the basis of a satire or parody work. But copyright laws exist to give creators rights over the use of their own work; not to prevent someone else from creating a new work that references theirs. Attempting to stifle creativity to protect a content creator's sensibilities should not be the aim of copyright laws.

5. Introduce a statutory exception for orphan works.

The intention of copyright law is to protect rights holders. Where no rights holders can be found, they do not require protection.


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