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 @ 5:16am

    Without addressing the merits of a change from one system to another, to use the US as a baseline is completely off the mark for any number of reasons, but the most important one being that our system of law is premised on concepts alien to that which forms the system of law comprising the UK and its former colonies. This is a classic "square peg, meet round hole". Yes, there are many similarities that for the most part derive from English common law (and a few statutes thrown in to boot for good measure), but our Constitution(s), federal and state, represent an incredibly important departure from what was borrowed.

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