News from Australia

Subject: News from Australia
From: Barbara Schleihagen (
Date: to 21 loka   1999 - 11:00:51 EEST

Sender: owner-ecup-list
Precedence: bulk

Dear all,

You might be interested in seeing a press release from the Copyright Agency
Limited giving their view on the draft Copyright Amendment Bill in Australia.

Best wishes,
Barbara Schleihagen
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 17:11:13 +1000
From: "Charles Maddison" <>
To: "" <>
Subject: Digital law will protect consumers
Content-Length: 10538


21 October 1999

Consumers will be protected by new digital © law

If the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Bill its true aim, consumers
will enjoy the same rights to buy, borrow and copy literary works online
as they do now with printed material, Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
said today.

The House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs will tomorrow hold its final roundtable on the
Digital Agenda Bill.

At the roundtable, CAL will argue that when the Bill goes before the
House of Representatives, two principles should apply to both print and
digital publications:

1) copyright holders generally have the right to be remunerated when
their work is copied; and

2) within certain limits, students, critics and journalists have right
to copy work free of charge.

“However, we are concerned that exceptions to copyright legislation in
the digital environment (such as ‘fair dealing’ provisions for students)
should be assessed differently for digital works,” said CAL’s Policy
Officer, Mr David Emery.

“It should be a qualitative test, not a quantitative measure of value.”

A range of organisations associated with intellectual property in the
digital economy will be represented at the roundtable, including
Copyright Agency Limited, Telstra, the Australian Consumers Association,
the International Intellectual Property Alliance; Screenrights and the
Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee.

Topics to be aired at tomorrow’s roundtable include:

* fair dealing provisions for students and others;
* enforcement measures, including circumvention devices and
rights management;
* statutory licensing of digital copying;
* issues surrounding temporary online reproductions;
* reproducing and / or communicating insubstantial portions of
digital works; and
* exceptions for libraries and archives.

The roundtable will be divided into two sessions, running from 8am until
3.30pm in the Wentworth Hotel, Sydney. Observers are welcome to attend.

Mr Emery said the roundtable was the Committee’s last opportunity to
hear the range of views about digital copyright before preparing its
report to the Government (which is due to be delivered in the week
beginning December 6).

“The most important thing about the Bill is that, when passed into
legislation, it will provide the legal infrastructure for Australia’s
online market for books, journals, articles and other content,” he said.

“Despite some extreme statements about the Bill’s possible effects from
user-group representatives, CAL believes the Bill proposes a reasonable
technologically neutral solution.

“Students and others who benefit from ‘fair dealing’ provisions will
retain their current rights to free copying in the digital environment,”
Mr Emery said.

“The Bill allows the same level of public access to information– just as
you go to the library to borrow a book, you will be able to go there and
download information online.

“In fact, in addition to all the free use copying provisions open to
libraries now, the libraries will have many more under this Bill. They
will be able to make digital copies of articles and up to 10% of books
and communicate these to library users via email or internet for
research and study purposes,” he said.

“All we ask is that the copyright owner be allowed to participate in
this digital market, by ensuring a fair copying fee is charged.

“The issue is that the test of what is fair digital copying, and
therefore free of copyright fees, should be different to the test
applied to photocopying, because PCs and the internet are exponentially
more powerful copying tools than photocopiers, delivering 100% perfect
digital copies of complete works within seconds.”

Representing thousands of authors and publishers both in Australian and
overseas, CAL argues that systematic and commercial copying of works
should provide some payment to the copyright owner.

“But there’s no denying it will be a new commercial environment, and we
hope the Digital Agenda Bill will recognise how changed patterns of
consumer behaviour and usage affect copyright owners,” he said.

“Educational publishers, for example, will be competing online with such
free information products as Encyclopaedia Britannica. Various business
models, no doubt, will work for different niche markets,” Mr Emery said.

“Reading is not an infringement of copyright. Never was, never will be.

“But if you don't respect the copyright system, what will there be to

CAL media contact

David Emery
Policy Officer
Copyright Agency Limited

Phone: 02 – 9394 7600

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