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New copyright laws strengthen Australia’s digital landscape

The Turnbull Government has today delivered important reforms that will extend the current safe harbour scheme in the Copyright Act 1968 to institutions in the educational, cultural and disability sectors.

The passage of the Copyright Amendment (Services Providers) Bill 2017 builds on the Government’s commitment to modernise Australia’s 50 year old copyright laws.

Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, said the new legislation will improve copyright protections for the disability, educational and cultural sectors and facilitate more confident use of digital technologies and tools, particularly in the digital education environment.

“The safe harbour scheme will protect these sectors from legal liability where they can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to reduce copyright infringement on their online systems or networks,” Minister Fifield said.

“Schools and universities play a vital role in providing services to millions of students and staff every day. Classrooms are increasingly interactive and connected, with virtually every aspect of education today involving some use of digital technology.”

The Bill will help nearly 9,500 primary and secondary schools and 41 universities across Australia to confidently provide digital services to their 3.5 million school and more than 1.3 million higher education students.

Libraries, archives and key cultural institutions will also have greater flexibility to provide vital connectivity services and support to millions of Australians, including caching user searches, hosting social media content, and providing internet access.

The successful passage of the Bill is the result of extensive consultation with copyright users and rights holders. The Government is continuing to work with stakeholders on a number of other copyright modernisation reforms.

Media contacts:
Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au
Guy Creighton | 0438 815 302 | Guy.Creighton [at] communications.gov.au