July 13, 2005

Copyright Reform: Reflecting Reality?

APRA has called for legalised private copying in Australia in its submission to the Attorney General's Department review of Australian copyright law. This is generally known as format shifting, ie when you transfer music files to an mp3 player.

Performance royalty collection society APRA has used its submission to the Attorney General's Department review of Australian copyright law to renew its call for legalised private copying, backed by a blank media levy. "In APRA's view, private copying of copyright material - particularly music - is so widespread, and poses such problems of enforcement and compliance that a statutory licence is the only workable solution," APRA says. "Private copying levies already operate efficiently in many European countries. Any administrative costs and issues can be dealt with routinely and effectively by collecting societies, such as APRA, which are experienced at administering statutory licences." While peak record industry body ARIA has yet to publicly release its submission to the AGD's review, it has consistently opposed the idea in the past. APRA does not support the introduction of US-style fair use exceptions in copyright law - it says Australia's fair dealing provisions work fine, and fair use would be too pro-user.

#463 13/07/05

I understand there's some revision planned for NZ copyright law, and it seemed safe to assume that APRA has made/will be making a similar submission... until I did some investigation and found this, which (at first glance) seems to state the opposite. Wait a minute...

It takes some close reading to absorb the gist. It seems that APRA consider format shifting to be bad, unless some compensatory measure for copyright owners is introduced, like imposing a tax on the media employed. I can understand tax being added onto blank CDs, blank cassettes and mini discs (is this already done?), and the logical extension would be a tax added to mp3 players. The summary of submissions states, "The majority of respondents who addressed this question considered that some provision should be made for private format-shifting of legitimately purchased copies of sound recordings without infringing copyright."

The Ministry of Economic Development's Discussion Paper is viewable here, and you can access all the submissions made here. It's not a new issue...

If anyone has more up to date information on the New Zealand position, I'm interested!


Post a Comment