Back in March, Australia shelved plans to extend its copyright safe harbor provisions to services such as Google and
Facebook. Now, following consultations with the entertainment industries, the government has revealed it will indeed exclude such platforms from safe harbour provisions.
Services such as Google, Facebook and YouTube now face massive legal uncertainty as they themselves can be held responsible for copyright infringing posts by users. The logical result would be that the companies will have to check every post
before upload. The vast quantity of posts to check would make this an economically unviable option.
Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act earlier this year would've seen enhanced safe harbor protections for such platforms but they were withdrawn at the eleventh hour due to lobbying by media companies. Such companies accuse platforms like
YouTube of exploiting safe harbor provisions in the US and Europe, which forces copyright holders into an expensive battle to have infringing content taken down.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has confirmed the exclusions, so now it is up to Google and Facebook to consider how they can operate under this law.