Passage of the Copyright (Online Infringement) Act 2015 and the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017
The amendments to the Copyright Act 1969 introduce measures to:
- help reduce and disrupt large-scale online copyright infringement by websites operating outside of Australia
- enhance access to copyright material for people with disability, harmonise terms of copyright for published and unpublished materials and allow greater access to and use of culturally valuable materials.
Tackling online copyright infringement
The Copyright (Online Infringement) Act 2015 (the Online Infringement Act) introduced measures that enable copyright owners to apply to the Federal Court of Australia to require internet service providers to block access to an online location meeting certain conditions. The location must be operated outside Australia and have the primary purpose of infringing (or facilitating infringement of) copyright content. The amendments were designed to provide copyright owners with a targeted mechanism to help reduce online infringement.
Streamlining access to copyright material
The passage of the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017 (the DAOM Act) is another important step in bringing Australia's copyright laws into the digital age and address challenges of digital disruption. These important reforms will improve access to copyright materials for Australians with a vision, hearing or intellectual disability, as well as providing confidence to educational facilities, libraries and archives that deal with copyright materials. They simplify and improve copyright licensing provisions for the nation's collecting societies and educational institutions, and allow educators to use copyright materials more easily in the digital education environment. Libraries, archives and key cultural institutions will now have greater flexibility in preserving copyright materials and, by setting a term of protection for unpublished materials, have greater access to historic and culturally valuable materials.
Case law and survey data suggests that the Online Infringement Act has enabled copyright owners to work with providers of internet services to reduce large-scale online copyright infringement.
The DAOM Act has made it easier for a wide variety of people to more easily access culturally valuable copyright material, and therefore participate more fully in cultural life.
In March 2018 the Australian Government commenced a review of the effectiveness of the Online Infringement Act. The Department for Communications and the Arts released a consultation paper inviting submissions and held targeted meetings with key stakeholders. The Government is considering the outcomes of the Department’s review.