Current arrangements

14.4 The Copyright Act contains a statutory licensing scheme for government use in pt VII div 2. Under this licence, government use of copyright material does not infringe copyright if the acts are done ‘for the services of the Commonwealth or State’.[1] When a government uses copyright material, it must inform the owner of the copyright and agree on terms for the use.[2] However, if a collecting society has been declared in relation to a government copy, the government must pay the collecting society equitable remuneration for the copy.[3]

14.5 Two collecting societies have been appointed, Copyright Agency for text, artworks and music (other than material included in sound recordings or films) and Screenrights for the copying of audio-visual material, including sound recordings, film, television and radio broadcasts.[4] Equitable remuneration is worked out by using a sampling system to estimate the number of copies made.[5]

14.6 The Copyright Act also includes some specific exceptions that are relevant to government use of copyright material: reproduction for the purposes of judicial proceedings;[6] and copying in Parliamentary libraries for members of Parliament.[7]

14.7 It is unclear whether the fair dealing exceptions in pt III div 3 of the Copyright Act are available to governments in Australia, or whether a government can rely on an implied licence to use copyright material. These matters are discussed further below.

[1]Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) s 183(1).

[2] Ibid s 183(5).

[3] Ibid s 183A(2).

[4] Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government Intellectual Property Manual <> at 9 August 2012.

[5]Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) s 183A(3).

[6] Ibid ss 43(1), 104.

[7] Ibid ss 48A, 104A.