Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry on Australia's Intellectual Property Arrangements

The ALCC contends that ensuring a healthy public domain and the ability to access and make use of material should be a key goal, not just a side effect of copyright regulation. As such, libraries and archives and the role they play in facilitating public access to copyright material are an essential part of the copyright ecosystem.

In its current state Australian copyright law places significant restrictions and compliance costs on libraries and archives. The current exceptions available to libraries and archives are too rigid, complex and difficult to apply, creating significant inefficiencies for the sector and presenting a barrier to the dissemination of knowledge. To add to the complexity, these exceptions are often excluded by contracts and technologies. As a result, many of the works in our collections remain locked behind the current law, unable to be used.

This submission provides specific examples of problems which Australia's current copyright laws present to library and archives and recommendations to address them, including in relation to:

  1. overly complex and restrictive library and archive exceptions;

  2. private interventions restricting exceptions; and

  3. untradeable materials.

 

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