On 6 December 2017 the Government introduced to Parliament the Bill which would extend the ‘safe harbour scheme’ in Division 2AA of Part V of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) to service providers operating in the disability, educational and cultural sectors.
The safe harbour scheme currently only applies to carriage service providers (CSPs) as defined under Telecommunications Act 1997 (Tel Act). The scheme limits remedies that are available against CSPs for infringements of copyright that occur in the course of CSPs carrying out certain online activities. There are four categories of online activities:
- Category A Activity where the CSP acts as a conduit for internet activities through the provision of facilities or services for transmitting, routing or providing connections for copyright material or through the intermediate and transient storage of copyright material in the course of transmission, routing or provision of connections;
- Category B Activity where the CSP caches copyright material through an automatic process;
- Category C Activity where the CSP stores copyright material on their systems or networks at the direction of a user; and
- Category D Activity where the CSP refers users to an online location using online information location tools or technology.
A CSP must satisfy the relevant conditions, specified in the Act, to take advantage of the scheme. The Bill will extend this scheme to institutions and organisations in the disability, education, library, archives and cultural sectors.
As the Bill simply aims to extend the application of the current safe harbour scheme to the newly defined institutions and organisations, no amendments are made to the activities or conditions of the safe harbour scheme. The Bill defines the new service providers to which the scheme will apply to by making textually minor amendments to remove the reference to ‘carriage’ and inserting a definition of ‘service provider ’in Division 2AA, Part V of the Act. The scheme is being extended to institutions and organisations which are:
- educational institutions including schools, universities, TAFEs and private training colleges;
- libraries that make their collection available to the public and Parliamentary libraries;
- the National Archives of Australia and specified state archives, galleries and museums;
- other libraries and archives which have a statutory function under a Commonwealth, State or Territory law to develop and maintain collections; and
- organisations assisting people with a disability.