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Improving access to copyright material

The Turnbull Government today introduced the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill 2017 to streamline and simplify the copyright framework for the disability, education, library and archive sectors while respecting the interests of copyright holders.

These copyright reforms will support efforts to grow Australia’s economy through innovation, improved competition and creativity.  

The Bill will enable people with a disability to enjoy fair access to copyright material in formats suitable to their individual needs. This reflects the Government’s commitment to improving accessibility to published material for persons with a disability following the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, which entered into force on 30 September 2016.

The Bill includes measures to make it easier for students and educators to use copyright material in the digital education environment, for example, conducting exams online. Educational institutions and copyright collecting societies will have the flexibility to develop their own agreements for use of copyright material, instead of being constrained by prescriptive regulation.

The Bill will protect Australia’s cultural heritage and ensure that it is available for future generations. Libraries and archives will have greater flexibility in how they undertake their preservation functions, and in providing greater access to and use of unpublished material that is historic and culturally valuable.

This Bill is an important next step in the Government’s plans to work collaboratively with stakeholders to modernise copyright law.

The Bill was the subject of extensive consultation with copyright users and rights holders.

Provisions relating to safe harbour were removed from the Bill before its introduction to enable the Government to further consider feedback received on this proposal whilst not delaying the passage of other important reforms.

The Government thanks all those who worked collaboratively to provide constructive feedback on the measures contained in this important legislation.

Media contact: Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au