Copyright changes to introduce much needed flexibility

Australian Libraries Copyright Committee

Canberra, Australia—The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) welcomes proposed copyright changes announced by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, today that will make it easier for libraries and archives to deliver services online. Closures of physical facilities and the transition to digital delivery during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have increased the complexity of providing Australians with access to content.

This morning Minister Fletcher announced updates to the education and library and archives exceptions and a limited liability scheme for use of orphan works. Also announced was a fair dealing exception for non-commercial quotation and updates to the government statutory licensing scheme.

‘With the impacts of coronavirus continuing to disrupt the activities of libraries and archives across the country we are thankful the government has signaled its intention to make the copyright system more flexible and adaptable,’ said ALCC Chairperson Margaret Allen.

‘The changes announced this morning will make it quicker and easier for libraries, archives and cultural collections to deliver services online. These are much needed changes, and it is encouraging to see them being addressed.’

The ALCC supports the inclusion of a scheme for handling orphan works made as part of the announcement this morning. Such a scheme will extend the orphan works amendments brought in with the Copyright (Disabilities and Other Measures) Act 2017.

‘This is an appropriate extension to the 2017 changes clarifying and streamlining the handling of orphan works by libraries, archives and other cultural institutions,’ Ms Allen said.

The ALCC thanks the government for addressing the need for more flexibility for Australia’s libraries, archives and cultural collections.

/Public Release.