EFA welcomes today’s release by the Department of Communications of an exposure draft of proposed amendments to the Copyright Act that seeks to address a number of important weaknesses in the current law relating particularly to the educational, library and archives sectors. In particular, EFA welcomes the proposed extension in the safe harbour provisions, as we called for earlier this month.

EFA is however disappointed that the government continues to avoid meaningful progress on the introduction of a broad flexible fair use provision, as was recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in their November 2013 report on Copyright and the Digital Economy.

A broad flexible fair use exception is a well-overdue reform that is critical to ensuring Australia is able to benefit fully from digital innovation by introducing much-needed flexibility within the law that will allow new technologies and services to be developed and brought to market in Australia.

As EFA Chair David Cake said recently, “Australia’s Copyright Act is outdated and no longer fit for purpose in the digital age. A broad flexible fair use exception is central to copyright law in the United States, Singapore, Israel and other nations that are leading the world in digital innovation. If the government is serious about digital innovation, they need to move to implement fair use…without further delay.”

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