Discussion paper

Copyright and the digital economy: discussion paper

Copyright Digital communications Australia

This is the second stage in the consultation process in this Inquiry into whether the Copyright Act needs amendment to allow Australia to fully participate in a modern, digital economy. The first stage included the release of the Issues Paper, Copyright and the Digital Economy (ALRC IP 42), which generated 295 submissions.

In releasing this Discussion Paper, the ALRC again calls for submissions to inform the final stage of deliberations leading up to the final Report, which is to be provided to the Attorney-General by the end of November 2013.

The introductory chapter and Chapters 2 and 3 provide an overview of the policy framework and the background to questions and proposals in the Discussion Paper. They set out in detail the issues raised by the Terms of Referen ce, the research behind the proposals, a thorough analysis and discussion of stakeholder views.

In considering whether changes are needed to the Copyright Act , and options for reform, the ALRC is required to consider wh ether existing exceptions to copyright are appropriate, and whether further exceptions should be introduced. In doing so the ALRC has to take into account the impact of proposed changes on other areas of law, consistency with Australia’s international obligations and recommendations from other reviews.

The reforms proposed in this Discussion Paper include the introduction of a broad, flexible exception for fair use of copyright material and the consequent repeal of many of the current exceptions in the Copyright Act , so that the copyright regime becomes more flexible and adaptable. An alternative model, should fair use not be enacted, suggests the addition of new fair dealing exceptions, recognising fairness factors. Other reform proposals relate to the replacement of certain statutory licences with voluntary licensing more suited to the digital environment; the use of orphan works; provisions relating to preservation of copyright material by cultural institutions; and contracting out of the operation of certain copyright exceptions. Two alternative proposals relating to the scheme for the retr ansmission of free-to-air broadcasts are set out for comment from stakeholders, in addition to other proposals relating to broadcasting.

The ALRC invites the public to make submissions in response to this Discussion Paper and, in so doing, contribute to the law reform process.

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 31 July 2013.


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