Australian Copyright Industry Says Proposal To Bring In Fair Use Is 'Solution For Problem That Doesn't Exist'

from the what-planet-are-they-on? dept

A couple of months back, Techdirt wrote about Australia's proposals to shift from the current fair dealing approach to fair use as part of wide-ranging reform of copyright there. When something similar was mooted in the UK as part of what became the Hargreaves Review, it was shouted down by the copyright maximalists on the grounds that it would lead to widespread litigation. As Mike pointed out at the time, that's nonsense: the existence of a large body of US case law dealing with this area makes it much easier to bring in fair use without the need for its contours to be defined in the courts.

Well, guess what? The Australian copyright industry is using exactly the same logic to attack fair use, as this story in IT News reports:

The Australian Home Entertainment Distributor's Association (AHEDA) savaged the [Australian Law Reform Commission] in a submission paper rebutting a proposal to introduce fair use provisions to intellectual property laws.

The fair use proposal was outlined in a discussion paper the ALRC released last August.

AHEDA chief executive Simon Bush said a regime based on fair use would lead to an increase in piracy and require litigation to be defined.
As well as regurgitating the weak argument used in the UK two years ago, there's this incredible comment about fair use:
"It's a solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist," Bush said.
What, apart from the problem that people going about their daily lives typically infringe on copyright to the tune of millions of dollars each day? Or that startups are held back from creating new services and products involving online content for fear that they will get sued? Or the problem that scholars are worried they will be taken to court if they carry out text and data mining on academic papers? Apart from those problems, you mean?

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Filed Under: australia, copyright, fair use

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2013 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Australia, the US and Fair Use

    Like you, I have read every fair use decision that has come to my attention since 1978...but my initial copies were advance sheets. ;) (This is meant to be humorous, and not even a hint of a suggestion/intent that having been in the trenches since the Copyright Act of 1976 was enacted confers some special insight not apparent to others.)

    Merely FYI, I happen to be one of the few who subscribe to the belief that the basic structure of the 1909 Act should not have been relegated to the trash bin of US legal history in order to adopt then existing international principles. We are paying a dear price for having done so.

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