Saturday 10 August 2013

Fair use? Australian content owners say NO

As if by magic, and no doubt having spied the 1709 Blog and IPKat's new 'fair use' poll (see the sidebar), the Australian copyright industry has responded to proposals by the Australian Law Reform Commission to introduce a new regime of fair use in Australia in the ALRC's June 2013 discussion paper. 

Simon Bush, Chief Executive of The Australian Home Entertainment Distributor's Association (AHEDA) said a regime based on fair use would lead to an increase in piracy and require litigation to be defined, saying the change “would put pressure on copyright owners to litigate directly against consumers.”  He continued:  “We don’t want to be suing end users. It’s the very last thing we want to do and any policy proposal that says you need to litigate is flawed.
adding "It's a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist". 

Back at the end of June, the Screen Production Association of Australia has warned about the proposed easing of copyright laws with SPAA’s executive director Matthew Deaner blasting recommendations by ALRC saying the reform body's “thinking is out of touch with commercial reality and shows no understanding of the issues facing our sector adding “These views, if left uncorrected, would undermine many legitimate sources of income.”

What do you think? You can have your say on our sidebar where we ask "Do you think that the US fair use defence really makes a difference in terms of user freedoms?".

More here and here


CEP said...

I'd like to suggest that the
"fair use v fair dealing" debate misses the point and is essentially meaningless. The better comparison is much more complex, particularly in light of certain flaws concerning personal jurisdiction (e.g., the Rachel Ehrenfeld and StarWars helmet fiascos):

{fair use + First Amendment free speech} v {fair dealing + regulated

As an American, I don't think this is even close... but too many people who are arguing about IP rights forget to consider the context within which those IP rights may — or, all too often, may not — be exploited/tested fairly in the first place.

One excellent historical test of this distinction was the inability of the British press to report on "mere facts" revealed in Spycatcher in the 1980s. This would have qualified as fair use under US law, and would have been possible in the first place under the First Amendment (which informs the entire fair use inquiry in a way that those who have not grown up with it seldom grasp).

john walker said...

The ALRC report recommends the ending of Australias remaining statutory (compulsory)licensing schemes, and replacing them with voluntary licensing schemes , because voluntary schemes are more flexible and efficient in a fast changing market. fair use is necessary if this goal is to be achieved. Needless to say the groups that have benefited, for decades, from the restrictions of competition created by statutory licensing schemes , are not happy.