The ALCC is very supportive of the proposed recommendations set out in the Productivity Commission’s draft report into Australia’s IP Framework. In particular, we support the Commission’s recommendations that:
The ADA and the ALCC strongly support the policy reforms proposed by the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill. We feel these are important changes that provide significant benefits for Australian consumers and businesses. They will particularly benefit the cultural, educational, disability and technology sectors.
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.
Copyright is traditionally a civil matter. However, the scope of the property rights, protections and limitations are creatures of statute. The ADA and ALCC submit that the Act currently inappropriately inhibits free speech, shifts the burden of proof in one criminal (and a number of civil) offence(s) and contains unjustified offences of strict liability. We propose:
● Removal of some of the existing copyright exceptions (as previously identified by the ALRC), to be replaced with a fair use exception to copyright infringement
As our intellectual property laws are increasingly regulated by rules set in international agreements, the processes by which we negotiate, approve and enter into those agreements is of crucial importance. The move away from open, multilateral fora to secret trade-based treaties has added to the complexities of ensuring appropriate IP policies.
As such the ADA and ALCC were happy with the opportunity to submit to the Senate inquiry into the treaty making process. We made the following proposals to improve the treaty making process:
The ALCC submission strongly supports the extension of the 'safe harbour' scheme to cover libraries. The safe harbours mean that libraries will not be liable for financial penalties for copyright infringements that occur for activities such as provision of internet and caching, as long as they follow the preventative steps prescribed.
Fair use, limiting geoblocking, removal of parallel import restrictions and ensuring intellectual property is subject to rules limiting restrictive trade practices were the key submissions the ADA and ALCC made to the Competition Policy Review
We believe that these reforms would provide a regulatory framework with the right incentives to enable and promote healthy competition, leading to innovation, better choices for consumers and lower prices.