14.1 Government uses of copyright material are currently the subject of a statutory licence in pt VII div 2 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The ALRC proposes the repeal of the statutory licence in Chapter 6, in favour of voluntary licensing. Governments should continue to pay for many uses of copyright material.

14.2 However, there are certain uses that are essential for the proper conduct of the administrative, judicial and parliamentary work of government. The fair use exception proposed in Chapter 4 should be applied when determining whether a government use infringes copyright; and ‘public administration’ should be an illustrative purpose in the fair use exception.

14.3 This chapter considers some government uses that have caused disagreement and uncertainty under the existing legal arrangements: use required by statute —especially under freedom of information and planning and environment laws—and use where there may be an implied licence—including use of incoming correspondence, material on free websites, and other government material. The ALRC proposes that these uses should be considered under a fair use exception, and anticipates that many of these uses are likely to be fair. However, the fairness factors will ensure that uses that cause unwarranted harm to copyright owners will not be fair use.