Mar 202017

[Originally posted on, (CC-BY) Link] Last month, I traveled to Australia and New Zealand as part of a group of experts to discuss copyright fair use and fair dealing. The trip included several public talks, meetings with government officials, a book launch on Reimagining Copyright, and the chance to discuss copyright policy directly with publishers, educators, and librarians. Videos of some of the panels are available online, including a New Zealand forum on copyright and innovation and a panel on comparative copyright limitations and exceptions at the Australian Digital Alliance annual conference. Continue reading »

Mar 202017

Photo: Constance Wiebrands (CC-BY)

Last month, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, the Australian Digital Alliance and Internet NZ hosted a series of meetings and workshops on user rights in copyright reform in Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are debating copyright reform, and Australia is debating a proposal to add fair use to its copyright exceptions.

Participants in the events included Michael Geist, Bill Patry, Sang Jo Jong, Kimberlee Weatherall, Rebecca Giblin, Suzy Frankel, Jessica Coates, Heesob Nam, Peter Jaszi, Patricia Aufderheide, Sean Flynn and Meredith Jacob.

Below you will find video from two of the events, some of the follow up blogs and news stories from the trip.  Continue reading »

Feb 282017

At the Australian Digital Alliance Forum, the first keynote from the Productivity Commission’s Deputy Chair Karen Chester busted myths about fair use. “Fair use has become not a nice-to-have, or even a good-to-have, but a policy must-have,” she said. She also charged in Q&A that those myths are being fecklessly promoted by industry actors. Continue reading »

Dec 222016

The Australian Government Productivity Commission has released its final report on ‘Intellectual Property Arrangements,’ which recommends a number of reforms to IP law, including changes to the law on patents, copyrights and enforcement.

Regarding copyright and related rights, the Australian Government Productivity Commission warns that the scope of works eligible protection is too broad and the term of protection is too long, forcing copyright users face higher costs. It recommends clarifying the law on geoblocking and allowing parallel trade in books in order to expand access to works. The report recommends “Introducing a system of user rights, including the (well-established) principles–based fair use exception.”  Continue reading »

Nov 062016

aftinettextlogo_0[AFTINet Press Release, Link] “The Australian government should reject the push from US Republican Congress members to increase biologic medicine monopolies by seven years, even more than the extra three years which has already been agreed in the TPP text,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Continue reading »

Jul 052016

australia flag[Isabella Alexander, Catherine Bond, Kathy Bowrey, Robert Burrell, Michael Handler, Graham Greenleaf, Dianne Nicol, Jane L Nielsen, and Kimberlee G. Weatherall ]  This Submission by nine intellectual property academics responds to the Draft Report in the Inquiry into IP Arrangements published by the Australian Productivity Commission on 29 April 2016 (‘Draft Report’). In broad terms, the submission supports many of the goals of, and recommendations of, the Productivity Commission expressed in the Draft Report, but expresses concerns that some recommendations may not achieve the overall goals of the Commission, or reflect misunderstandings of the statutory framework. The submission addresses many of the Commission’s draft recommendations concerning copyright, patents, trade marks and geographical indicators, IP and public institutions, and IP’s institutional and governance arrangements.

Click here for the full submission on SSRN. 


Jun 062016

australia flagCopyright Advisory Group to the COAG Education Council

Executive summary: Australia’s copyright laws operate as a serious roadblock to preparing children to be the creators and innovators of the future.

Government policy and community expectations require schools to take an increasing role in STEM education, industry collaboration, and equipping students with the digital skills they need to be successful in the workforce of the future. However, Australia’s copyright laws – designed in the age of classroom-based “chalk and talk” teaching – are simply not appropriate for today’s world of flipped classrooms, digital learning, and collaboration. Laws designed for photocopiers are ill-equipped to cope with interactive whiteboards, tablets and robotics. Continue reading »

May 092016

aust productivity commPrevious infojustice posts about the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements have focused on its recommendation that Australia adopt fair use in its copyright law (here and here).  This post highlights the findings regarding the extension of terms for pharmaceutical patents. Australia’s law, in effect since 1999, grants extensions to pharmaceutical firms to make up for time during which the patented drug is awaiting marketing approval.  Total patent term may be extended up to a total of 25 years. Continue reading »

Dec 222015

rimmer[Cross posted from Medium] Published by the Australian Government on the 20th March 2014, the independent “Pharmaceutical Patents Review Report” recommends to shorten and reduce patent term extensions, to address the problems of evergreening and data protection, and to reverse Australia’s passive approach to the negotiation of intellectual property and international trade. The report emphasizes the need for Australia to protect its public health interests in the negotiation of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

This week, the secrecy surrounding an independent Australian report on patent law and pharmaceutical drugs has been lifted, and the work has been published to great acclaim. Continue reading »

Sep 262014

australia flagExcerpt from Competition Policy Review, Draft Report, September 2014, published under a CC-BY license.  The review is being conducted by a panel chaired by Professor Ian Harper.  It is accepting comments until November 17, and will issue a final report by March 15.  The full draft report (and instructions for comments) is available here.  The excerpt below is from pages 87-88.

For individual countries, the optimal design and level of IP rights depends on the extent to which they are net importers or exporters of different forms of IP. Australia is a net importer of IP.[45] With trade and commerce-related aspects of IP crossing national borders, IP has been the subject of international treaties. Frameworks influencing Australian IP law and trade and commerce in IP both within Australia and internationally, include: Continue reading »

Sep 152014

australia flagProfessor Henry Ergas and Professor Allan Fels
A Submission to the Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper
Click here for the full submission

Authors’ summary of Key Points:

The changes proposed in the government’s recent discussion paper on “Online Copyright Infringement” have the potential to impose costs that greatly exceed their benefits.

By extending authorisation liability, the proposals will place on ISPs and on a broad range of other entities, including cloud service providers, schools and libraries, risks they are poorly placed to manage. This inefficient allocation of risk will increase costs for end-users and chill innovation. Continue reading »

Feb 172014

australia flagCopyright Act needs reform: must balance benefits for creators against a range of public interests

[Australian Digital Alliance, Link (CC-BY)]  It has been a big week for Australian Copyright.  On Thursday the Attorney-General, the Hon George Brandis QC, tabled the long-anticipated final report from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Copyright and the Digital Economy inquiry.  This inquiry was charged with determining if copyright exceptions and limitations were working in the digital age.  The conclusion was that reform was needed.  The ALRC recommended: Continue reading »