Scope of Copyright Act review unveiled

Submissions and comments will close on 27 April 2012

The draft terms of reference (PDF) for an inquiry into the use of copyright in a digital setting have been released for public comment.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry will examine whether the exceptions in the Copyright Act 1968, which was amended in 2006, are adequate and pertinent in the digital environment.

The draft terms of reference ask the ALRC to look into the suitability of a number of infringement exceptions in the Copyright Act, including the fair use '10 per cent rule', fair dealing of creator and user rights, private copying when format-shifting or time-shifting and whether legitimate non-commercial use of copyright works online, such as social networking, should be permitted.

“The draft terms of reference reflect the fact that technology is constantly evolving and testing the boundaries of copyright law,” Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said in a statement.

“In our fast changing, technologically driven world, it important to ensure our copyright laws are keeping pace with change and able to respond to future challenges.”

The review aims to ensure the Copyright Act remains relevant in the 21st century.

The ALRC first announced its decision to conduct a review into the use of copyright in the digital era last month.

This followed former Attorney-General Robert McClelland's keynote speech at the 15th Biennial Copyright Symposium in October 2011, where he announced that his department was finalising the proposed terms of reference on copyright with the ALRC.

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