‘Fair use’ copyright exception proposed for Australia

Posted On June 5, 2013
In Copyright in Cyberspace / Reply

The Australian Law Reform Commission has recommended adoption of a broad, flexible exception to copyright infringement for ‘fair use’.

Australia, like the UK, currently has only ‘fair dealing’ exceptions. These exceptions are limited to dealings for specific purposes, such as research, study, criticism, review, and news reporting.

The ALRC’s Discussion Paper recommends that the new fair use exception should contain:

  • an express statement that a fair use of copyright material does not infringe copyright;
  • a non-exhaustive list of the factors to be considered in determining whether the use is a fair use (‘the fairness factors’); and
  • a non-exhaustive list of illustrative uses or purposes that may qualify as fair uses (‘the illustrative purposes’)

Other proposals of the ALRC include:

  • making void contractual provisions that seek to limit the operation of copyright exceptions – i.e. banning ‘contracting out’ of exceptions; and
  • repealing the statutory licences for use of copyright material by governments, educational institutions, and institutions assisting the blind – which should instead be negotiated voluntarily.

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