Terms of Reference received for the ALRC Copyright Inquiry

The Attorney-General, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, has provided the Australian Law Reform Commission with final Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into Copyright and the Digital Economy.

Professor Jill McKeough, Commissioner in charge of the ALRC’s Inquiry into Copyright Law, stated ‘The Terms of Reference ask us to look at both the commercial and non-commercial spheres where copyright laws impact on creators, owners and users to ensure that Australia’s economic and cultural development is supported by these laws. We have been asked to look at both the adequacy and appropriateness of exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act and to consider whether further exceptions are required. We must also have regard to our international obligations. These final Terms of Reference reflect the input of stakeholders following a consultation process conducted by the Attorney-General’s Department. The ALRC understands that over 60 submissions were received and we are very pleased that there is already such an interest in this Inquiry from the community’.

Professor McKeough—a highly regarded academic, researcher and writer with a special focus on intellectual property and copyright—has taken leave as Dean of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney, to join the ALRC for the duration of this Inquiry.

ALRC President Rosalind Croucher stated, “While the Copyright Act has been amended on occasion over the past 12 years to account for digital developments, these changes occurred before the digital economy took off. The ALRC will need to find reforms that are responsive to this new environment, and to future scenarios that are still in the realm of the imagination. It is a complex and important area of law and we are looking forward to some robust debate and discussion during the course of this very important Inquiry. The ALRC will provide a variety of ways for the community to engage with us during this Inquiry.”

The ALRC will work towards releasing an Issues Paper in August 2012, and will call for submissions at that time. The ALRC is required to provide a Final Report with recommendations for reform by November 2013.

The ALRC will publish a regular e-newsletter with news and updates throughout the inquiry and people can subscribe to this newsletter or find further information about the Copyright Inquiry on the ALRC website. The ALRC also uses Twitter to update followers about the ALRC’s work.