Everything you need to know about the Productivity Commission’s findings on copyright: Part 2

February 23, 2017

Everything you need to know about the Productivity Commission’s findings on copyright: Part 2

Since the Productivity Commission’s (PC) final report on Australia’s IP arrangements was released by Government in December, there has been a lot of activity. Here’s a quick summary of what’s happened to date.

The report recommends a number of damaging changes to Australian copyright including introducing the complex US doctrine ‘Fair Use’ and removing parallel import restrictions on books.

Submissions to the Government closed on 14 February and they are expected to respond to the report by the middle of this year.

On 9 February, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Head of IP, Patrick Kilbride, wrote in The Australian newspaper that: “…the [PC] report seems to say, that because a lot of American and British content is imported into the country, why not go the whole way and just forget about Australian content altogether? I’m not sure the community within Australia or the United States would agree. When you’re producing music hits like Sia’s Chandelier and Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know and the film Lion – we all want more of that, not less.” Download a PDF of the full article

Indigenous creators issue an Open Letter

On 16 February, an Open Letter rejecting the PC’s recommendations, and signed by leading Indigenous organisations and creators – such as Jessica Mauboy, Anita Heiss and Vernon Ah Kee, was circulated to media (and published in the Koori Mail 22 February). Coverage appeared on NITV, The Australian, themusic.com.au, Tone Deaf, Music Feeds, Daily Review and elsewhere.

Also on 16 February, all the major creative industry groups including ourselves, the Publishers Association, Society of Authors, Screen Producers Association, ARIA and others in the music, media and screen industries issued a joint media release opposing the PC’s recommendations and calling on the Government to rule out the proposed changes.

If you’re wanting to know more…

In December, the Copyright Agency issued a Media Release in response to the report and our CEO, Adam Suckling wrote in the Fairfax press that: “Until now, copyright might have been thought of as the dry but necessary detail – but the Government’s Productivity Commission has taken a massive swipe at Aussie creators, influenced by US Big Tech, by suggesting we throw out our fit-for-purpose copyright system and replace it with a complex US doctrine that has enabled profitable enterprises in that country to use the hard-earned work of others for free.”

For a summary of the report and reactions from other stakeholders, click here.