Terms of Reference

Copyright and the Digital Economy

Having regard to:

  • the objective of copyright law in providing an incentive to create and disseminate original copyright materials;

  • the general interest of Australians to access, use and interact with content in the advancement of education, research and culture;

  • the importance of the digital economy and the opportunities for innovation leading to national economic and cultural development created by the emergence of new digital technologies; and

  • Australia’s international obligations, international developments and previous copyright reviews.

I refer to the ALRC for inquiry and report pursuant to subsection 20(1) of the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 the matter of whether the exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968, are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment.

Amongst other things, the ALRC is to consider whether existing exceptions are appropriate and whether further exceptions should:

  • recognise fair use of copyright material;

  • allow transformative, innovative and collaborative use of copyright materials to create and deliver new products and services of public benefit; and

  • allow appropriate access, use, interaction and production of copyright material online for social, private or domestic purposes.

Scope of Reference

In undertaking this reference, the Commission should:

– take into account the impact of any proposed legislative solutions on other areas of law and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations;

– take into account recommendations from related reviews, in particular the Government’s Convergence Review; and

– not duplicate work being undertaken on: unauthorised distribution of copyright materials using peer to peer networks; the scope of the safe harbour scheme for ISPs; a review of exceptions in relation to technological protection measures; and increased access to copyright works for persons with a print disability.


The Commission is to report no later than 30 November 2013.