Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

The Attourney General is still mulling over the possibility of a “fair use” exception to copyrights in Australia, something the US takes for granted, and makes creepy laws like the DMCA less scary for them. Recently there was a call for submissions on an issue paper. Below is my contribution to the murky pool of IP debate.

Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

Ms Helen Daniels

Assistant Secretary

Copyright Law Branch

Attorney-General’s Department

Robert Garran Offices

National Circuit

BARTON ACT 2600

Dear Ms Daniels,

Please find my submission regarding fair use and copyright exceptions listed below.

Firstly, I note that the issues paper states copyright promotes content creation “It does this by providing exclusive economic rights to copyright owners to control certain uses of their works.” I would remark that it is essential that these rights be applied only for a limited time, allowing the entire community to benefit freely from the works when they enter the public domain.

Secondly, I urge the Attorney-General to reform copyright law in Australia to provide enhanced flexibility for end users. Such a reform is necessary to maintain the balance between rights holders and the community that has been shifted in favour of rights holders by the adoption of the USFTA.

Thirdly, I would urge the addition of a broad fair use exemption to existing laws that is technology neutral and that eliminates anomalies in current laws operation (such as format shifting, time shifting and non-commercial sharing amongst friends).

Fourthly, I would oppose the introduction of any tariff on blank media, as these media can be used for many purposes other than copyright infringement

Fifthly, should either a fair use exemption or a statutory licence be adopted, I would urge that a complementary regulation be adopted to prevent rights holders limiting fair use or statutory licensed copying by technological means.

I thank the Attorney-General for this opportunity to comment.

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