Australia Reviews Fair Use / Copyright Exceptions
The Attorney-General said that "Many Australians believe quite reasonably they should be able to record a television program or format-shift music from their own CD to an iPod or MP3 player without infringing copyright law." [press release] The issues paper provides four possible changes to the current "fair dealing" provision and is open to others:
- consolidate the fair dealing exceptions in a single open-ended provision (would require judicial interpretation)
- retain the current fair dealing provisions and add an open-ended fair use exception (flexible but uncertainty about scope)
- retain current fair dealing exceptions and add further specific exceptions (e.g. time & format shifting)
- retain current fair dealing exceptions and add a statutory license that permits private copying of copyright material (possible problems with licensing scheme and DRMs v. private use)
The issues paper gives a nice insight in Australian copyright law's fair dealing provision, while it tries to provide the basics of other countries, especially the US. It does a fair enough job at that, though its analysis can be quite shallow (for example on the EUCD, which it refers to as the Information Society Directive). It does address the DRM v. fair use issue, which is a central part of the problems the Australian government seeks to solve. I don't see an effective solution in the proposed changes. But then there is no immediate (legislative) solution for it in the US/EU either. Looks like Australia has some catching up to do, before it solves that issue for us all.