Overall effect of the recommendations

The overall effect of the recommendations in the Report will be a more flexible and adaptive copyright framework. The introduction of fair use will mean Australian copyright law can be applied to new technologies and new commercial and consumer practices, without constant recourse to legislative change. Fair use will promote innovation and enable a market-based response to the demands of the digital age.

The reforms will enhance access to cultural material, without undermining incentives to create. The recommended exceptions are also intended to be more consistent with public standards of fairness.

What do the recommendations have in common? The ALRC considers that exceptions to copyright, whether in the form of a specific rule or a general standard, should only permit the unlicensed use of copyright material where this would be fair. It should therefore not be surprising that fair use and each of its illustrative purposes, and the handful of specific exceptions recommended in this Report, have much in common. Generally, they permit the unlicensed use of copyright material if this would:

  • serve an important public purpose;

  • stimulate the creation of new works and the use of existing works for new purposes; and

  • not harm rights holders’ markets—ensuring exceptions do not undermine the crucial incentive to create and publish copyright material.