15 September 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Fair use for Australia could future proof copyright

A “principles based” fair use exception for Australia could be more flexible and help to future proof copyright, according to Rohan Singh, special counsel at DLA Piper.

As the country discusses the balance of fair use and safe harbour laws to protect users, rights holders have complained that such laws could make it easier for large corporations to use Australian content without fair payment.

Key backers of proposed changes say that fair use and safe harbours would “future proof the Copyright Act”.

Singh has argued that the laws could “be more flexible, and may adapt to the changing landscape of content use, rather than waiting for legislative changes to catch up with community practice”.

He said: “Critics of general fair use exceptions claim they create uncertainty and reduce the incentives to create. While likely to be more beneficial for users than copyright owners, the productivity commission’s report asserts that the US system provides more certainty than in Australia and that US creative industries thrive.”

Australia could likely follow a US model of fair use, and the government says copyright reform should be considered in a holistic context, rather than focused on individual issues.

The government wants to create a framework that will keep pace with technological advances, and one that is flexible and works for everyone.

Subscribe for free to the next issue of IPPro The Internet, published on 19 September, to read this article in full.

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