ALRC seeks comment on copyright inquiry

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into digital copyright is seeking comment on an issues paper.

The inquiry is examining exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act and whether they have kept pace with changing technology.

Copyright in the digital age: Australia, ACTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

The ALRC is seeking comment on several issues, such as time shifting exceptions and whether consumers should be allowed to record programs from online platforms.

The issue paper reads: “Should it matter who makes the recording, if the recording is only for private or domestic use?

"Should the exception apply to content made available using the internet or internet protocol television?”

More than 50 questions are raised in the issues paper around whether the current copyright framework is affecting both commercial and creative enterprise.

"The questions we are asking in this inquiry go to whether our current copyright laws are properly aiding the development of opportunities for Australian creators and not unduly hindering the development of new business models while at the same time ensuring appropriate protection for copyright," Professor Jill McKeough, who is heading up the inquiry, said in a statement.

"At the same time, the expectations of a global community to access and use material for a whole range of creative, community, educative and commercial purposes also needs to be considered. We are aware that, in formulating any proposals for reform of copyright law, the costs and benefits to the community must be taken into account."

The inquiry will also be examining caching, back-up copies, data mining, Cloud computing and fair use.

It will not address copyright infringements on peer-to-peer networks, the safe harbour scheme for ISPs, technological protection measure exceptions or copyright works for people with print disabilities.

Australia’s copyright laws are currently undergoing vigorous debate. In addition to the current inquiry into the Copyright Act, Australia is also in negotiation with the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP/TPPA), which also touches on copyright and piracy.

ISPs and rights holders are also currently in talks about who should police copyright infringement and who should pay for it.

The inquiry was announced in February this year, with the ALRC releasing the terms of reference in July 2012.

Submissions close 16 November, 2012. The ALRC will release a report around 12 months later in November 2013.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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