Cth - AG says major copyright reforms strike balance

Commonwealth Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, announced on 14/05/2006, significant copyright reforms which make our laws fairer for consumers and tougher on copyright pirates.

Mr Ruddock said: "These are commonsense amendments which will maintain Australia's copyright laws as the best in the world for the benefit of our creators and other copyright owners and for the many Australians who enjoy their creative works," Mr Ruddock said.

The changes:

Make it legal for people to tape their favourite TV or radio program and play it at another time;

Legalise "format shifting" of material such as music, newspapers, books - meaning people can put their CD collection onto IPods or MP3 players;

Provide new exceptions allowing schools, universities, libraries and other cultural institutions to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes;

Provide new exceptions for people with disabilities to allow access to copyright materials;

Allow the use of copyright material for parody or satire, and;

Provide new enforcement measures to combat copyright piracy including on-the-spot fines.

Research also will be undertaken by the Australian Institute of Criminology on the nature and the extent of piracy and counterfeiting in Australia and how best to respond to the problem.

"Copyright is important and should be respected," Mr Ruddock said. "That is why the Government is updating our laws to keep pace with technology. Everyday consumers shouldn't be treated like copyright pirates. Copyright pirates should be not treated like everyday consumers".

15 May, 2006

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