The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

The gutless way to change copyright

Some months ago, I posted about proposed changes to copyright law that would have made life much less painful for anyone using copyrighted material in this country. I only just found out that the Attorney-General today announced legal changes as a result of that review; there’s an excellent (and detailed) summary over at LawFont.

The good news: we will finally have law that makes format-shifting legal.

The bad news: the AG chickened out. The amendment allows format-shifting and time-shifting, and provides new exceptions for libraries, schools, and people with disabilities — but beyond that, there’s nothing to help shift the balance of copyright back towards consumers and away from owners.

What’s being done is little more than the bare minimum changes proposed in the original Issues Paper! Never mind the fact that most of the submissions were strongly in favour of big changes, with widespread calls for a broad ‘fair use’ doctrine.

The opportunity for some real reform of copyright law has been blown, and instead we’ve got an amendment that panders to the big businesses who said “the sky will fall down if you allow fair use!”. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, but this is very, very disappointing.

  1. [...] While not writing the essay that I should be writing, I thought I’d check out what other people wrote after the changes to copyright law announced two Sundays ago. Turns out pretty much anyone with a brain agrees that the changes are ridiculous — or in SJ Hutcheon’s words, “dumb and dumber”. [...]

  2. [...] The amendment act was changed from the one proposed a few months ago just before the vote, and Kim Weatherall offered up a thoughtful assessment: Yes, despite the rising chorus of concern about the criminal provisions; despite the complete absence of any serious consultation process prior to these laws being released, they’ve done only a token amount to assuage people’s concerns here. They’ve removed the provisions that people were carrying on about the most – the ones that most directly affected ordinary consumers. [...]

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