Back in May, we wrote about a draft report by Australia's Productivity Commission on how Australia's copyright and patent laws could be reformed to foster domestic production and innovation. That report is back in the news this week, after it
was released in its final form , and a consultation seeking public feedback was opened.
The most important proposed change would introduce a fair use right into Australia's copyright law. Currently Australia's copyright flexibilities are narrowly pre-defined; for example, it is lawful for Australians to backup their computer
software and to digitize their video tapes (remember those?), though there is still no similar exception allowing them to back up their iTunes downloads or to rip copies of their DVDs. This approach has made Australia's copyright law a
complicated and anachronistic mess.
By swapping these kinds of narrow exceptions out for a broad and flexible fair use right, Australians would be permitted to make any use of a copyright work that is fair, taking into account the purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the
amount copied and the effect on the potential market value of the work. This would make the day to day operation of copyright law much simpler and more adaptable to changes in society and technology. It will also stimulate the development of
innovative new products and services that rely on fair use.
A second important change proposed in the Productivity Commission report is to guarantee Australians' right to circumvent geoblocks that prevent them from accessing videos, music, books and software from overseas online stores or streaming
services. These geoblocks mean that Australians pay more money for the same products, or are forced to wait for longer for their local release. The result is that some users resort to piracy. Clarifying that circumventing these geoblocks is
lawful is therefore likely to create a win for users and copyright holders alike.
Although the Productivity Commission makes many more recommendations, we'll stop at one more--that universities, schools, and libraries should receive the benefit of the same safe harbor that protects ISPs from copyright liability for
infringements by their users. This reform is a sensible one, which would bring Australia into line with U.S. and European law, and with our Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability . In practice, it means for example that if a student uploads
a copyright-infringing file to their school's website, the school won't be held responsible until they are notified of the infringement and refuse to remove the file.
It's predictable that copyright monopolists are up in arms about the proposed changes, dragging out the usual doomsday scenarios about job losses , tear-jerking celebrity pitches , and even some frankly bizarre similes . And the worst thing is
that these tactics, which have previously been successful in obstructing reform, may be so again . Yet the facts are difficult to argue with; Australians pay more to access copyright works lawfully, suffer tight constraints on what they can do
with works to which they do have access, and risk legal liability for acts that harm nobody. The time for reform is long overdue.
Further comments on the Productivity Commission final report are due by Valentine's Day 2017 . If the government resists the monopolists' uproar and legislates to implement the Commission's recommendations, that will be the love letter that
Australian users and creators have been waiting for.
Embrace is a 2016 Australia / Canada / Dominican Republic / Germany / USA / UK documentary by Taryn Brumfitt.
Starring Renee Airya, Jade Beall and Taryn Brumfitt.
When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the
global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.
Ausralia's Classification Review Board has received an application to review the classification of the film Embrace.
Embrace was classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice Strong nudity by the Classification Board on 7 July 2016. Director Taryn Brumfitt is asking for the MA 15+ (age 15 restricted) to be reduced to M (age 15 advisory).
The Classification Review Board will meet on 13 October 2016 to consider the application.
The film features explicit detailed vagina imagery in a feminist 'feel good about your vagina 'context and aims to communicate this message to teenage girls.
Australia's advert censor has upheld a complaint against Sony Pictures Australia over online advertising for animated comedy movie Sausage Party that a couple of viewers found 'offensive'.
The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) released the case reports of two separate complaints about the advertising, one appearing on Facebook and the other appearing on news.com.au.
The advertisement shows characters from the movie with dialogue including fuck you up, move your fucking ass, and shit . The dialogue is not only spoken, but the words appear written on the screen in large letters.
The complainants told the ASB the advertisement was a pop-up, which they did not choose to open, and involved no warning of inappropriate language.
In a response to the complainants and the ASB, Sony claimed the advertisement was purchased programmatically and was not intended for viewing by people under the age of 15. In response to the complainant who saw the video on Facebook, Sony said,
Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account . Sony claimed that due to the programmatic purchasing of the online advertisement, which is intended to limit the age groups that can view the ad, the
content did not breach the code.
However the ASB disagreed, believing the advertisement's use of the word fuck infringed on the code of ethics, and upheld the complaints. The ASB also determined the ad's placement on Facebook would include people under the age of 15, as
website allows users to register once they turn 13.