Proposed Australian Copyright Law Changes Still Don't Cover Fair Use

The Department of Communications has released a draft of proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, but Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) says it doesn’t do enough to address digital content and fair use.

The proposed changes aim to address a number of important weaknesses in the current law relating particularly to the educational, library and archives sectors. The proposed extension in the safe harbour provisions have also been welcomed as an area the EFA has been lobbying for.

But despite being recommended by the the Australian Law Reform Commission in their November 2013 report on Copyright and the Digital Economy, there is no mention of progress on the introduction of a broad flexible fair use provision.

A lack of fair use exception is seen as a roadblock for new technologies and services being developed and brought to market in Australia, and the EFA says it is well overdue.

“Australia’s Copyright Act is outdated and no longer fit for purpose in the digital age. A broad flexible fair use exception is central to copyright law in the United States, Singapore, Israel and other nations that are leading the world in digital innovation,” says EFA Chair David Cake. “If the government is serious about digital innovation, they need to move to implement fair use without further delay.”

The Department of Communications is encouraging input into the proposed changes via submission.

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