AMPAG rejects changes to copyright law

AMPAG has responded to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s discussion paper into Copyright and the Digital Economy, firmly refuting some of its major recommendations.

AMPAG rejects changes to copyright law

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The discussion paper was released in June, with comments due by 31 July.

AMPAG does not support the ALRC’s recommendations to replace the existing exceptions in the Copyright Act with an open-ended fair use exception and to abolish the education and government statutory licences, replacing them with voluntary licensing.

Copyright is important to creators as a means of both income and artistic control. By proposing a broad fair use exception and the abolition of statutory licences, the ALRC risks diminishing both a creator’s income and the means of controlling use of their work.

Such reforms if adopted will undermine Australia’s commitment to strengthening the creative industries sector as a 21st century economic driver.

We believe the ALRC’s recommendations to remove the statutory licences introduces uncertainty and reduces the copyright owner’s ability to efficiently and effectively receive fair remuneration from the use of their copyright content.

Though modest, the major performing arts companies value the payments received through the statutory licence schemes administered by Screenrights and CAL. This area of third party copyright use collection is one that the not-for-profit performing arts companies are ill-equipped to pursue independently. The resources required for individual companies to monitor and negotiate use on a case-by-case basis would dwarf any likely returns from such use.

The current environment provides a level of clarity and certainty in relation to use exemptions.

It also provides clarity for our own use of material for review, research and clearance when incorporating other artists’ works into our own content offerings. The introduction of a ‘fair use’ term without definition would necessitate performing arts companies demonstrating at law where an infringement on copyright has taken place in instances when a user applies fair use as a defence. Not-for-profit performing arts companies are not resourced to defend such cases.

Read AMPAG’s submission here.

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