ALRC to review Copyright Act

Inquiry will determine if the Act’s exceptions need to be changed for the digital age

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has decided to conduct a review into the use of copyright in a digital setting.

The inquiry will consider whether the exceptions in the Federal Copyright Act 1968, which was amended in 2006, are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment.

These exceptions include fair dealing and private copying when time-shifting or for special purposes.

The review follows Optus’ court case win against Telstra. Optus was accused of infringing the Act by screening live sports games on its TV Now mobile service, but it was determined that the service did not infringe copyright because a person is allowed to make a copy of a broadcast to view it at a more convenient time solely for their personal use.

Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, said that it was important to ensure copyright laws are keeping pace with change. “The Gillard Government is determined to get the balance right between providing incentives for creators and innovators and encouraging new opportunities within a digital economy including via the National Broadband Network [NBN],” she said in a statement.

University of Technology Sydney dean of law, Professor Jill McKeough, has been appointed to lead the review.

Draft terms of reference for the review are expected to be released by the end of March this year.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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