29 June 2012


The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has released the Terms of Reference for its inquiry - headed by Professor Jill McKeough - into 'Copyright and the Digital Economy'.

The ALRC is to consider "whether the exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment", having regard to:
  • the objective of copyright law in providing an incentive to create and disseminate original copyright materials;
  • the general interest of Australians to access, use and interact with content in the advancement of education, research and culture;
  • the importance of the digital economy and the opportunities for innovation leading to national economic and cultural development created by the emergence of new digital technologies; and
  • Australia’s international obligations, international developments and previous copyright reviews.
The ALRC is to consider - "amongst other things" - "whether existing exceptions are appropriate and whether further exceptions should" -
  • recognise fair use of copyright material;
  • allow transformative, innovative and collaborative use of copyright materials to create and deliver new products and services of public benefit; and
  • allow appropriate access, use, interaction and production of copyright material online for social, private or domestic purposes.
The Commission is to -
  • take into account the impact of any proposed legislative solutions on other areas of law and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations;
  • take into account recommendations from related reviews, in particular the Government’s Convergence Review; and
  • not duplicate work being undertaken on: unauthorised distribution of copyright materials using peer to peer networks; the scope of the safe harbour scheme for ISPs; a review of exceptions in relation to technological protection measures; and increased access to copyright works for persons with a print disability.