FAIR welcomes proposed changes to copyright law

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thursday 24 December, 2015 Canberra: FAIR welcomes the Federal Government's recognition that Australian copyright laws need to change.

The Department of Communications and the Arts yesterday released for public comment proposed changes designed to modernise and improve to our copyright laws.

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive of ALIA said: "We are pleased that the Federal Government has acted to address the library and information sector's concerns about the current Copyright Act, which is incredibly complex and based on old technologies.'

'Our profession supports the right of creators to be rewarded for their work, while seeking a legal framework that enables public access where there is no financial disadvantage to writers, illustrators, publishers, photographers and filmmakers.”

In 2015, ALIA ran the FAIR campaign 'Cooking for Copyright'. The campaign raised awareness of one particular issue – perpetual copyright for unpublished works. While copyright is limited to 70 years after the death of the creator for published works, for unpublished works copyright lasts forever. Unpublished works include old diaries, letters, company records, theses – even recipes. The copyright rules as they currently stand mean that these manuscripts, are locked away – to no one’s benefit.

The proposed change to the laws will align the terms of protection for unpublished works with published works which means that millions of items can be unlocked for the use of researchers, family historians, students, inventors and anyone with an interest in our cultural heritage.

Sue McKerracher said: “This is a great Christmas present for the library and information sector and will also benefit galleries, museums, archives, historical societies, RSLs, sports clubs and other collecting organisations.”

Comments on the exposure draft are due by 12 February 2016.

About the Australian Library and Information Association

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au

Contact:  ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher | 0404 456 749