Australian copyright laws have been developed and updated regularly – making our copyright system one of the world’s most admired. Indeed, it is something that should always be updated and reviewed to ensure it continually serves creators and consumers of content.
Importantly, our copyright laws provide certainty and incentives for creators to create – literature, music, film and digital content – and many digital businesses in Australia have thrived because we have strong copyright and intellectual property arrangements.
As well as this, Australia’s blanket copyright licences allow schools and universities to copy and share everything published in the world without asking permission and for less than the cost of a book for every student, and they do – some 1.5 billion pages of valuable teaching content every year.
That money is paid by education departments and universities to the Copyright Agency which distributes it to authors, playwrights, publishers, illustrators, journalists, artists and photographers whose material has been copied and shared who are the owners of the copyright material – this includes ex-teachers who have become educational authors and creators.
These fair payments generate a whole lot of new Australian-made content for students here and around the world. For instance, anyone with school-age children will have heard of our member 3P Learning’s Mathletics or Reading Eggs. That company’s copyright royalties underpin their investment in new digital learning platforms – that are used the world over.
“…historically, Australia has been a world leader when it comes to IP legislation and is one of a small group of nations that has effective incentives to create in place, providing legal certainty to innovators investing in Australian stories, content and information in the marketplace.
“It is a balance that mobilises the creative talents of the population while also serving local and global consumers in the provision of high quality content and entertainment. That’s why the recent recommendations of the [Productivity] Commission’s report are both puzzling and alarming to myself and many other international observers.”
Patrick Kilbride, Executive Director, International IP, at the Global Intellectual Property Center of the US Chamber of Commerce, The Australian, 9 February 2017.