Fair Use Exemption in Australian Copyright Law

Labor acknowledges the rigour and depth of research that went into the Productivity Commission’s report on intellectual property arrangements in Australia, involving over 600 submissions, four roundtables, six public hearings and over 800 research references.

Labor supports a copyright regime that strikes an appropriate balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of creative industries. Any proposed changes must consider the importance of creators owning the content they create and being able to derive a benefit from that work, as well as the public benefits in having access to creative works and innovation.

The Productivity Commission’s report was tabled in Parliament by the Treasurer, Scott Morrison on 21 December 2016. The Government’s consultation on their response to the report closed on 14 February 2017, but the final response has not yet been released.

Labor awaits the Government’s response to this report and will consider any proposals for copyright law reform very carefully. It is important that Australia has a clear and effective copyright regime that is appropriate for the rapidly evolving digital era in which we live.

In the last term of the Parliament, the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis promised an ambitious modernisation of the Copyright Act that would be “a through and exhaustive exercise in law reform” which would leave the Act “shorter, simpler and easier to use and understand.”

George Brandis’ announcement that he would achieve nothing less than a re-write of the Copyright Act was in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry that the Labor Government commissioned. The Government is yet to respond to that report, almost three years later.

Labor has urged the Government to respond to both the Productivity Commission’s report and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report without further delay.