Friday, March 30, 2012

Draft Terms of Reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission Reference on Copyright

The Australian Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has today announced the Draft Terms of Reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission Reference on Copyright Law. Submissions are open until 27th April 2012. Amongst other things, the ALRC is to consider whether further exceptions should be provided to:
  • facilitate legitimate use of copyright works to create and deliver new products and services of public benefit; and 
  • allow legitimate non-commercial use of copyright works for uses on the internet such as social networking.
The review is not to duplicate work already being undertaken with respect to the  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 blind and visually impaired people.

I strongly recommend readers make a submission in support of the legitimate non-commercial uses of copyright works on the internet as Australia does not have fair use but rather specific fair dealing provisions that at this point do not allow for the use of material on social network sites. You could also include in your submission the need for a sampling right - I propose that all creators should be able to sample up to 5 seconds of existing work without the need to license - this would be particularly relevant and useful for mashups including film and music.

You can find more about the Draft Terms of Reference here.  Unless otherwise specified submissions will be made public.

Submissions should be sent to the Attorney-General’s Department via email: (preferred method), fax: 02 6141 3488 or mailed to:
Assistant Secretary
Business Law Branch
Attorney-General’s Department
Robert Garran Offices
3-5 National Circuit

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