Changing patterns of government use

15.8 Government use of copyright material has changed significantly in response to the emergence of digital technologies. Governments are much less likely to subscribe to hardcopy newspapers, books, journals and looseleaf services, and government officers are less likely to photocopy these items. Instead, governments subscribe to online libraries and media portals.[10]

15.9 Governments now receive large amounts of copyright material via email and online, scan and digitally store documents sent to them and email documents internally. Legislation and policy related to open government principles (discussed below) means they are now more likely to publish material on external websites.

15.10 The effect of these changes is that government use of commercially available material is more likely to be under direct licence. An increased amount of material is being used under the statutory licence, but most of it is not commercially available. Some of the problems with the statutory licence have been discussed in Ch 8. This chapter considers whether some of the uses now made under the statutory licence would be better dealt with by exceptions.