Dear < name >,
Thank you for your email regarding the proposed introduction of a ‘fair use’ exemption into Australian copyright law, which has been recommended by the Productivity Commission’s report on intellectual property arrangements in Australia.
Labor has acknowledged the rigour and depth of research that went into this inquiry, involving over 600 submissions, four roundtables, and six public hearings.
I am a representative of an electorate with a significant arts and creative industries community, and so I support a copyright regime that strikes an appropriate balance between the interests of consumers and the rights of arts/creative producers.
Let me also point out that we don’t currently see copyright actions being taken in Australia in relation to forwarded emails or social media ‘memes’, and there is already an existing fair use provision for schools. So if it’s in relation to these matters that you believe ‘fair use’ needs to be introduced, then there really isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed.
Any proposed changes must consider the importance of creators owning the work they create and being able to derive a benefit from that work, in addition to the public benefits that exist in having access to creative works and innovation. But we should be clear that unless artists and other creatives can undertake their work on a sustainable basis, there will be no ‘content’ – and this is especially important in a relatively small market like Australia. On that basis I am inclined towards a precautionary approach; one that doesn’t risk the livelihood of artists, or the health of our creative industries as a whole. Arts production involves an enormous amount of value that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, and shouldn’t be solely considered in terms of economic efficiency.
The Productivity Commission’s report was tabled in Parliament by the Treasurer, Scott Morrison on 21 December 2016. The Government’s consultation on their response to the report closed on 14 February 2017, but the final response has not yet been released. The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, has a terrible record. In the last parliament he promised an ambitious modernisation of the Copyright Act that would be “a thorough and exhaustive exercise in law reform” in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry that the former Labor Government commissioned. Yet Senator Brandis and the Turnbull government are yet to respond to that report, almost three years later.
Again, thanks for writing to me on this important issue.
Josh Wilson MP | Federal Member for Fremantle
Electorate: 62 Wray Avenue, Fremantle, WA 6160 | TEL: 08 9335 8555
Canberra: Suite R2.113 | TEL: 02 6277 2081
Postal: PO Box 1224 Fremantle WA 6959
Web: www.joshwilson.org.au cid:image001.jpg@01D20827.3992E280 josh4fremantle