Government should Consider Libraries as Stakeholder in Treaty Negotiations

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Copyright advisor to the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) Trish Hepworth and ALIA CEO, Sue McKerracher, yesterday gave evidence to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee on the Commonwealth's Treaty Making Process.

Copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) issues often come up in treaties and unintended consequences occur.

Hepworth: 'IP obligations entered into under treaties have a significant and increasing impact on our domestic laws and legislative policy space. The current situation where teachers in Australian schools face a choice between criminal liability and being able to caption DVDs for their hearing impaired students is a direct result of the technological protection measure provisions in the Australian-US Free Trade Agreement'.

'Situations such as these could be avoided if libraries were a stakeholder in negotiations from the start and treaty negotiations followed a more transparent process', she added.