The Report is the result of an inquiry into whether the exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment. Among other things, the ALRC was asked to consider whether further exceptions should recognise fair use of copyright material.

Policy makers around the world are actively reconsidering the relationship between copyright and innovation, research, and economic growth. A comprehensive review of copyright law in the United States was announced in April 2013 and is now under way. Recent reviews in the United Kingdom and Ireland have recommended changes to copyright law.

Reform of copyright law poses a number of challenges. The law must be relevant to a complex and changing digital environment, but must also be clear and broadly understood in the community. The law must produce reasonably certain and predictable outcomes, but should be flexible and not inhibit innovation.

Reforms must also not lose sight of the fundamental objectives of copyright law—to stimulate creation and learning by increasing the incentives to create and distribute copyright material such as books and blogs, music and mash-ups, films, photos and television programs.