Some assorted thoughts on the ALRC fair use report

The ALRC Report on Copyright and the Digital Economy was released earlier this month. It’s an extremely thorough and well-reasoned analysis of exceptions in Australian copyright law. The main thrust of the report is to recommend that Australia introduces fair use; in the alternative, the ALRC recommends consolidating the fair dealing defences and expanding the category of uses to which they can apply.

Overall approach

The ALRC adopts a conservative approach here. The suggestions it makes are by no means radical – usually, the ALRC suggests that existing Australian copyright jurisprudence will inform any new law, and the report steers well clear of making any suggestion that fair use would reverse some of the more controversial decisions.

This is the report’s greatest strength. The reasoning is unassailable, and the reforms suggested by the ALRC are mostly in the relatively minor form of clarifications, simplification, and fixes to issues that are commonly understood to be problematic in the current law. The ALRC seeks to build consensus on this limited approach – in such a way that pragmatic law reform might be politically feasible. Where there is real disagreement, the ALRC punts to the courts (in terms of identifying whether existing cases would have different outcomes under fair use) or to future law reform processes.

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CCI submission to ALRC Copyright Inquiry

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) has made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of Copyright and the Digital Economy. Our submission can be viewed hereor downloaded from the ALRC web site. The main points of the submission were: There is little evidence in Australia or elsewhere Read more about CCI submission to ALRC Copyright Inquiry[…]

ALRC Copyright Exceptions Review submission

My submission to the ALRC Copyright Exceptions Review issues paper is available here. In the submission, I argue that: Australia should introduce a transformative use exception. Transformative use is an important part of the copyright balance: it provides a mechanism through which to balance the rights of past authors against the interests of future authors. Read more about ALRC Copyright Exceptions Review submission[…]