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Australia: Government Proposes Update to Copyright Laws
Source: news.com.au
Source Date: Friday, October 14, 2011
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Australia
Created: Oct 18, 2011

THE Federal Government has announced plans to update Australian copyright laws, to cope with the explosion of material published on the internet.

Laws introduced in 2006 provided for so-called safe harbour schemes designed to help internet service providers and copyright owners regulate use of copyrighted material published online.
But its scope was limited to certain websites.

The Government is now proposing to broaden definitions within the Copyright Amendment Act 2006, extending its remit to material published on search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

"Today, I announce the release of a public consultation paper outlining a proposal to amend the Copyright Act to broaden the scope of the safe harbour scheme," Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said during a speech in Sydney today.

"Amending the safe harbour scheme would provide greater certainty for many entities dealing with copyright materials online."

The 2006 laws were framed using terms contained with 1997 telecommunication laws.

Mr McClelland said changes were necessary to keep pace with ever-changing technology.

"Fifteen years ago no one used Google as an internet search engine, viewed YouTube videos on iPads or listened to music on their mobile phones," he added.

"The challenge for industry and government is how to deal with the ever-growing pace of the development of digital technology."

The attorney-general said that in 2006 and 2007 Australian copyright industries employed more than 830,000 people and generated $97.7 billion in revenue.
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