Submission in response to the Intellectual Property Arrangements Inquiry issues paper

04 Jan 2016

Libraries and archives are crucial to a healthy public domain but are hindered by complexity, contractual override, TPMs and orphan works.

The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) made a submission to the Productivity Commission in response to their Intellectual Property Arrangements Inquiry issues paper.

The ALCC contends that ensuring a healthy public domain and the ability to access and make use of material should be a key goal, not just a side effect of copyright regulation. As such, libraries and archives and the role they play in facilitating public access to copyright material are an essential part of the copyright ecosystem.

In its current state Australian copyright law places significant restrictions and compliance costs on libraries and archives. The current exceptions available to libraries and archives are too rigid, complex and difficult to apply, creating significant inefficiencies for the sector and presenting a barrier to the dissemination of knowledge. To add to the complexity, these exceptions are often excluded by contracts and technologies. As a result, many of the works in our collections remain locked behind the current law, unable to be used.

This submission provides specific examples of problems which Australia’s current copyright laws present to library and archives and recommendations to address them, including in relation to:

  1. overly complex and restrictive library and archive exceptions;
  2. private interventions restricting exceptions; and
  3. untradeable materials.

About the inquiry

On Thursday 18 August 2015 then Treasurer Joe Hockey and then Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson announced that the Productivity Commission would undertake an inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements.

Initial submissions closed on Monday 30 November 2015.

The issues paper

On Wednesday 7 October 2015 the Productivity Commission released an issues paper as part of the inquiry.

Submissions in response to the issues paper closed on Monday 30 November 2015.

The draft report

On Friday 29 April 2016 the Productivity Commission announced the release of a draft report as part of the inquiry.

Submission in response to the draft report closed on Friday 3 June 2016.

The final report

The Productivity Commission sent its final report to the Government on Friday 23 September 2016. It was released publicly on Tuesday 20 December 2016.

Download our submission

You can download our submission as a Portable Document File (PDF).

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