Universities Australia strongly supports the reform options proposed by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and the Productivity Commission to replace inflexible copyright exceptions with a flexible fair use exception and to unlock access to orphan works. Universities Australia urges the Government to proceed with these reforms so that the Copyright Act 1968 can serve our needs in the digital age.
Copyright law reform is no longer just a matter relevant to cultural policy. It is fundamental to fulfilling the research, education and innovation policy goals clearly articulated by the Government. If our copyright laws do not enable Australia to compete internationally in critical emerging fields of inquiry, we will suffer economically.
The ALRC and Productivity Commission recommended urgency to modernise copyright and Universities Australia believes this opportunity to underpin our economic growth cannot be missed.
Universities Australia submits that modernising Australian copyright law by enacting a flexible fair use exception is long overdue to support current and future innovation, teaching and research. It would ensure that the technologies and innovations of the future are enabled, rather than being automatically ruled out by a restrictive list of purpose-based exceptions.
This submission outlines specific instances where Australian universities and researchers are being held hostage by outdated, inflexible copyright laws that are inappropriate for research and education in a digital age.
This submission also provides evidence that refutes the false and misleading claims promulgated by rights holder groups that the introduction of a fair dealing exception in Canada has negatively affected the publishing industry in that country.