A bright future for libraries in Australia’s copyright modernisation review

(5 July 2018) Australia is looking at reviewing its Copyright Act of 1968 with the aim of bringing its copyright framework up to date with the digital world.

After earlier reviews such as the safe harbour extension, this time the government is consulting on a few specific aspects of Australia’s copyright. The Government sought to understand whether there is general support for several provisions, namely flexible exceptions to copyright, access to orphan works and contracting out of copyright exceptions.

In the submission, IFLA underlined the need for flexible exceptions and thus welcomed the introduction of a fair use exception, and alternatively an extended fair dealing exception that among its purposes recognised “library and archive use”, “certain educational uses” and “text and data mining”, among others.

IFLA also welcomes the introduction of an orphan works exception that relies on a mandatory diligent search of rightsholders, with no specific sources to be consulted to avoid putting in place burdensome requirements.

Finally, IFLA insisted on the need to protect all exceptions and limitations to copyright from contract override, to guarantee that private contractual provisions cannot go before what is established by law, especially in times where libraries rely strongly on licenses to give access to materials.

Overall, IFLA has expressed support for the copyright modernisation process, and the acknowledgement that an effective, efficient, accountable and especially adaptable system is needed.

Read IFLA’s full submission.

For more information, read the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee’s submission.

The announcement is here.