Are you surprised by these copyright facts?
Earlier this month, the Australian Digital Alliance launched a new micro-site highlighting how Australia’s copyright law is not keeping up with the digital world. Discussion on Twitter about these issues has been lively using the #copywrong hashtag.
In early June, the ALRC released its Discussion Paper. It’s a very lengthy document, being over 380 pages, so don’t just hit the print button!
However, the central proposal is the introduction of a:
“broad, flexible exception for fair use of copyright material and the consequent repeal of many of the current exceptions in the Copyright Act, so that the copyright regime becomes more flexible and adaptable.”
Unlike the US, Australia’s copyright law does not have a general ‘fair use’ defence.
Instead, our Copyright Act has limited “fair dealing” exceptions that only apply to certain specified purposes:
Even in these specified cases, the use of the copyright work still has to be “fair” which will depend on the circumstances.
One issue discussed by the ALRC that should be of interest to those actively engaged in social media, is the topic of transformative uses. Transformative uses cover, for example, sampling, mash-ups or remixes, that is where pre-existing works are used to create something new. While some of these creative acts may be permitted by existing fair dealing exceptions such as parody or satire, many would not. An everyday example is using a song covered by copyright in a home video.
One prominent example cited in the Australian Digital Alliance’s submission is Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra, created by Gotye, which samples and remixes YouTube covers and parodies of his hit single Somebody I Used to Know.
Another high profile example is EMI Songs Australia Pty Ltd v Larrikin Music Publishing Pty Ltd where EMI’s recordings of the iconic Men at Work song ‘Down Under’ were found to have infringed the copyright in the song ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’, composed and written by Marion Sinclair in 1934.
In contrast, a fair use exception would be expected to allow individuals to use copyright materials more freely in transformative uses. Indeed, one of the ALRC’s proposals is that the fair use exception should be applied when determining whether a ‘transformative use’ infringes copyright.
We’ll discuss in a future post the options to use content legally and reduce your risk of copyright infringement under Australia’s existing copyright laws.
The good news.
You can also have your say on how the law can be reshaped to fit the digital world. As Australian Digital Alliance highlighted in their submission, under Australian copyright law, Pinterest ‘fans’ who follow pinboards and share and disseminate, for example, a photographer’s work, could be considered copyright infringers. In contrast, its users in the US are arguably entitled to claim that sharing via these sites is fair use under US copyright law.
If you are interested in these issues you can provide your views to the ALRC. Submissions in response to the Discussion Paper close on 31 July 2013 and members of the public are strongly encouraged to make their views heard. You don’t need legal qualifications, and your submission need not be formal.
The ALRC is due to provide their final report by 30 November 2013.
What a crazy few weeks. For me, the last time the world felt this gloomy was in 2008, during the…
The donor landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented. Need response. Regular giving. Peer-to-peer. These are earmarks of modern fundraising. They all…
We extend our deepest sympathy to the communities and lives affected by the unprecedented bushfires ravaging our country. These bushfires…
As the year comes to an end, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how marketing is changing —…
Our research shows a clear link between digital success and having a digital strategy. But for many organisations we speak…
When you work in marketing at a not-for-profit, you often feel like you are behind. The industry is growing at…
WISE Employment is a leading disability employment services provider. Yet when their main referral source stopped providing them with leads, they partnered with us to develop a digital strategy and help execute the campaign to attract job seekers and employers, and fast.View Case Study