Terms of reference for Copyright Act inquiry released

The Australian Law Reform Commission's inquiry into the Copyright Act will primarily deal with exceptions in the digital environment

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has released the terms of reference for its inquiry into the Copyright Act.

The ALRC inquiry will primarily deal with existing exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act and attempt to determine whether they have kept pace with the digital environment or whether further exceptions should be introduced.

The scope of the inquiry will include the impact of legislative solutions and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations and government reviews and their recommendations, such as the Convergence Review.

In particular, the ALRC will look at existing exceptions in the context of the fair use of copyright material, whether exceptions allow for the innovation and collaboration of copyright materials and whether exceptions allow for the access, use, interaction and production of digital copyright material for social, private and domestic purposes.

The inquiry will not address copyright infringements on peer-to-peer networks, the safe harbour scheme for ISPs, technological protection measure exceptions or copyright works for people with print disabilities.

Professor Jill McKeough will head up the commission for the copyright inquiry.

“We have been informed that over 60 submissions were made to the government on the draft terms of reference and the goodwill from stakeholders and high level of interest in the inquiry bodes well for the process,” McKeough said.

Australia’s copyright laws are currently undergoing considerable debate, with the ALRC inquiry, the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA/TPP) all including potential impacts on Australia's copyright laws.

The ALRC will report no later than 30 November next year.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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