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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Copyright. Users might get rights

In the land down under
JJ Harrison, Creative Commons
The composers of the iconic song “Land Down Under” might never have been taken to court for allegedly stealing notes from the tune “Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree” had a new law proposed by the Australian Law Reform Commission been in force at the time.

The Commission has proposed scrapping the existing piecemeal exemptions from the Copyright Act and replacing them with a simple exemption allowing “fair use”.

The “creative quotation” of copyrighted works would become legal as would “non consumptive use” where copyrighted material is incidentally copied in the process of transferring legally-aquired files from one storage medium to another.

At the moment both fall foul of Australian law even though both are allowed in the United States which specifically protects “fair use”.

“This would bring us into line with the United States with whom we have a free trade agreement,” said Australian National University intellectual property expert Matthew Rimmer.

“It would give people rights when it comes to technologies such as 3D printing which can’t possibly be provided for by specific exemptions because the shape of the technologies is not yet clear.”

“Men at Work and EMI could have used it as a defence in the Kookaburra case. I think what they did was fair use. It would have been allowed as a creative quotation"...

The Law Reform Commission wants comments on the proposal by the end of July. It will report to the government in November.

In today's Age

Recommended reading

. Down Under. The biggest hit. - Good Weekend, July 21, 2012

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