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Copyright Amendment Bill tabled in Parliament

A Bill amending the Copyright Act 1968 to simplify the use of copyright materials by libraries, educational institutions, archives and people with disabilities was tabled in Federal Parliament on 22 March.

The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill includes provisions that would strip copyright from unpublished materials, introduces changes to ease access to copyright material for Australians with a disability, and simplifies and updates provisions that control how libraries and archives preserve materials.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the draft Bill released last year had the broad support of the Copyright Agency and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).

The Copyright Agency said the amendments will make it ‘even simpler for students to access a huge range of content, allow libraries to exhibit more material to the Australian public and enable people with disabilities to access copyright material more easily’. ‘These changes remove unnecessary red-tape and are a sensible step in ensuring Australia’s copyright system continues to evolve with developments in technology, content creation and consumer behaviour,’ said Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling.

ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher praised the lobbying efforts of ALIA members, ‘which helped convince our politicians that change was needed to copyright law to unlock millions of items, putting them in the public domain’.

The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) also welcomed the Bill. ‘This bounty will be a major boon for Australian artists, researchers, teachers, innovators and historians, as they gain access to materials that were previously locked unuseable behind overly strict copyright law,’ said ALCC. However, the committee noted that it was disappointed the Bill no longer includes safe harbour amendments that were in the initial exposure draft. ‘These amendments would have ensured that the libraries and archives which provide internet access to thousands of Australians daily have the same rights and protection as commercial ISPs in doing so,’ said ALCC, adding that it trusts the government will respond to the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to expand safe harbour provisions.  

To view the Bill, click here.


Category: Local news