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“Australia’s Copyright Act is outdated and no longer fit for purpose in the digital age.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.



    So if I take a photograph anywhere then I'll probably infringing on someone's copyright: the architects that designed the buildings in the fore/background; the fashion designers that designed the clothes of the people in the photo; any other designed artefact in the photo...

      It's not as bad as that for street photographers. Take a look at

        I always follow the rule, if u'r out in public, take a photo, no one can stop u.. except in buildings.

        So, while most people choose to follow the law, fact is, its really underlying what u can really do..... As log as your careful and never draw attention to yourself by doing someting, there is zero harm...

        (a.k.a don't be a tool and start looking round before u do something to make sure no one is watching.. just do it quickly)

        Thing is, it's public... not private as the law tries to lay down in such places..

        Last edited 24/12/15 10:56 pm

        According to that web link, It is as bad as that! A council may have covered the building, leaving it restricted.

        For example, the Sydney Opera House. You cannot use it for any commercial photos.

        The Opera House is well known so you're probably familiar with this issue. But problems come up because other buildings are covered but nobody knows. Councils are free to restrict your commercial photography and because it's done at a local level, there's no Australian list of iconic buildings that could make it easy.

    By "broad and flexible" fair use, do you mean ripping your dvd/bluray collection to your computer?
    Based on a wikipedia skim ( ), the Netherlands and Spain allow it. The UK made it illegal again this year, and it's still not allowed in the USA.
    With the pacific agreement, and other FTAs that Australia has, I doubt we'll be allowed to do it any time soon.

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