22 April
(c) Horla Varlan. Uploaded to Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

Arts Law supports the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015

Arts Law supports the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 as it allows copyright owners to block access to online locations that engage in the flagrant infringement of copyright. The Bill balances the interests of the copyright owners, ISPs and operators of the online location as the impact of an injunction on each stakeholder will be taken into account before the Court makes a decision to block access to an online location.

Arts Law acknowledges that reducing the level of online copyright infringement requires a number of strategies.  The Bill addresses the websites that facilitate infringement. The Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code that was prepared by Communications Alliance in consultation with larger rights holders provides an educational notice scheme operated by internet service providers (ISPs), that deliver notices to consumers of infringing music and films that they are infringing copyright.  The position of Arts Law is that ISPs have a primary responsibility for ensuring internet services are not being used to defeat the policy objectives of copyright laws. Arts Law accepts that while the operators of infringing websites, cyberlockers and technically-proficient web-users may be able to circumvent the effect of blocking injunctions, the disruptive effect of blocking access to an online location combined with consumer education initiatives, is likely to reduce the level of  online copyright infringement.

Arts Law considers that it is unlikely that independent creators will be able to afford to take legal proceedings to seek injunctions. However Arts Law supports the ability of larger rights holder groups, which are in a position to obtain injunctions to block access to online locations that facilitate the infringement of copyright, as we would anticipate a positive flow-on effect to our clients as the result of changes to consumer behaviour.

The expanding number of legitimate music and film streaming services available in Australia is also an inducement to consumers to access content from suppliers that help to maintain the creators of the content. Arts Law advocates for creators to be rewarded for their creative work so that they can sustain a career in their art and craft. We also support fair and reasonable access to copyright material. We believe that balance is crucial in fostering creativity and is essential for the intellectual and cultural development of Australian society.

Read Arts Law’s submission here

UPDATE: The Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is currently reviewing the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 and is due to report to the Senate on 9 June 2015.