New Zealand Launches its Copyright Review: Calculating the Economic Benefits will be a Key Issue

source: shutterstock.com

New Zealand has just launched its long-anticipated Copyright Act review, releasing an Issues Paper on November 23. This paper kick-starts a consultation process that will continue through to until next April. The release of the paper is the first stage of consultation in the review of the Act, and involves “identifying problems with the way the Copyright Act is operating or opportunities to improve its operation”. The paper outlines the background of copyright law in New Zealand, puts forward a number of factors potentially affecting the application of the law, and poses no less than 97 questions on which the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking input. These questions are wide-ranging and cover everything from the scope of fair dealing exceptions to the potential impact of copyright on Maori culture. Continue reading “New Zealand Launches its Copyright Review: Calculating the Economic Benefits will be a Key Issue”

Fair Use or Fair Dealing? The Debate Continues “Down Under”

source: shutterstock.com

The ongoing debate as to which system of copyright exceptions works better, US style “fair use” or the “fair dealing” (specified exceptions) approach common to most countries–and particularly to those whose copyright laws are based on the UK Copyright Act of 1911–continues “Down Under”. Both Australia and New Zealand have the issue currently under review. Proponents of fair use in Australia have been provided with ammunition from two government reports, the Report of the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2014 and the Report of the Productivity Commission in 2016. Both recommended that Australia move to a fair use system based on the argument that it is more suitable for the digital economy and will support greater innovation. This argument is based on the premise that technology moves fast and specified fair dealing exceptions cannot adapt quickly enough to technological change. In other words, fair use is more flexible, or so the argument goes, because a fair use approach could be applied to new situations not foreseen by legislators at the time that fair dealing exceptions are enacted or updated. Continue reading “Fair Use or Fair Dealing? The Debate Continues “Down Under””

Canada’s Notice and Notice Regime: The End of Speculative Invoicing (It Won’t be Missed)

source: shutterstock.com

In what was an entirely predictable move, the Government of Canada has announced, in draft omnibus legislation, that it will end the practice of allowing settlement demands (speculative invoices) to be incorporated into notices forwarded by ISPs and other platforms on behalf of content rights-holders to users suspected of engaging in online copyright infringement. The demise of this practice will not be lamented by anyone except perhaps the law firm working for Voltage Pictures, the most prolific user of the system. Continue reading “Canada’s Notice and Notice Regime: The End of Speculative Invoicing (It Won’t be Missed)”

Hyperbole Alert! EFF and Cory Doctorow on Australia’s Very Effective Site Blocking Regime: What Are They So Afraid Of?

source: shutterstock.com

When you see a blog with the title SOPA.au, you know the BS machine is getting cranked up over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF and Cory Doctorow seem to be particularly frantic that Australia’s regime for blocking offshore pirate websites is not only working well but is being strengthened. Doctorow has reached into his hyperbole bag to pull out epithets to try to discredit a regime that is working very well for Australians, calling it “the world’s most extreme” and describing it as a “failed censorship system”. Doctorow claims that;

the entertainment companies insisted that the censorship system in the 2015 law would drive people away from infringement and into legit markets. Three years later, they’ve admitted failure… (and) are now calling for much more censorship in a new copyright bill”.  Continue reading “Hyperbole Alert! EFF and Cory Doctorow on Australia’s Very Effective Site Blocking Regime: What Are They So Afraid Of?”

Entering the Era of Internet Accountability: The Implications for Copyright (An Address to the Copyright Society of Australia)

source: http://www.shutterstock.com

Last week in Australia on October 23 I had the honour to be invited to give a guest lecture to the Copyright Society of Australia in Sydney. My talk focussed on how the Internet has evolved over the past twenty years, leading to a severe imbalance between Internet platforms and the creative community because of the abuse and misuse of safe harbours, and how recent events have put the big platforms in the spotlight—indeed in the crosshairs of the public and politicians. Because of the unwillingness to date of the big platforms to accept real responsibility, the new era of Internet accountability that we are entering is going to be difficult for them. If the platforms cannot embrace reform and start to accept responsibility for their business models and behaviour, then governments and politicians will do it for them by changing the policy settings and rules. There will then be a risk that the pendulum could swing too far in the other direction. The big Internet intermediaries and the content community have shared interests. Distribution needs content; content needs distribution. But for this partnership to work, there has to be a recognition on the part of the platforms that fighting rights-holders and creators tooth and nail, in a form of trench warfare, is counter-productive. This is the right time to forge a new partnership between Internet platforms and the creative industries. However it will require the intermediaries to grasp the opportunity and start to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem when it comes to digital piracy and de facto free riding on the content of others. Continue reading “Entering the Era of Internet Accountability: The Implications for Copyright (An Address to the Copyright Society of Australia)”