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ALIA, ALCC welcome Productivity Commission’s fair use recommendations

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) have welcomed the Productivity Commission’s recommendation Australia adopts a fair use exception in its copyright laws.

The ALCC, of which ALIA is a member, stated that Australia’s libraries and archives ‘believe that we should strive for a world class copyright system which facilitates uses that are beneficial to society as long as they don’t harm copyright owners,’ which will ‘never be the case while we rely on rigid exceptions that make new uses illegal by default’.

‘Without fair use, the Australian copyright system will always have gaps, always be trying to catch up with new technologies and behaviours,’ the ALCC said.

The ALCC said that in the existing copyright environment, libraries are ‘highly constrained’ in making ‘innovative use of their collection. ‘Individuals can choose to “run the gauntlet” of restrictive copyright laws, but libraries and archives cannot—they must stick with what the law says,’ the ALCC said. ‘This means that high priority projects that have the potential to provide significant benefits for society—such as digitisation, interpretation and collaboration projects, and text and data mining—just don’t happen.’

The ALCC also stated its support for the report’s other recommendations to extend Australia’s existing safe harbour provision to all online service providers, including libraries; protect copyright exceptions from being overridden by contract and technological protection measures; limit liability for the use of orphan works; and provide open access to government funded research.

 

Category: Library news