Google slams Australian copyright laws

Fair dealing no substitute for fair use, Google argues

Australia’s copyright regime is negatively impacting the country’s ability to innovate and holding back the digital economy, according to Google.

While innovation is “dynamic” Australia’s copyright exceptions are “static,” the search giant argued in a submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the country’s intellectual property regime.

In its strongly worded submission (PDF) Google argued in favour of introducing a flexible fair use exception, along the lines of the recommendation in a 2013 report issued by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The ALRC's Copyright and the Digital Economy report said that introducing a fair use provision in copyright law would assist innovation and promote the public interest.

“Google believes that the ALRC got it right,” Google argued in its submission to the PC inquiry.

“There is substantial empirical evidence showing the importance of copyright exceptions to productivity and economic growth.”

The existing fair dealing provisions in Australian copyright law can act as a fetter on innovation, in contrast to jurisdictions, such as the United States, that have fair use, the submission argued.

Attorney-General George Brandis has previously indicated opposition to the introduction of a fair use exception in Australian IP law.

After Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as prime minister, copyright became the domain of communications minister Mitch Fifield.

Read more: Financial bind for Dallas Buyers Club rights holders

Safe harbours

Google also argued for a more developed safe harbour system in Australian law. Australia currently offers safe harbour protection to commercial Internet service providers.

“Excluding other online service providers from the safe harbour scheme makes Australia a much more high-risk legal environment for hosting content when compared to countries that have safe harbour schemes with broad application,” Google argued.

“It also creates an uneven playing field for local innovations, placing them at serious commercial disadvantage when compared to commercial ISPs and global competitors.”

Read more: Dallas Buyers Club downloaders safe for now

Google recommended that Australia extend the safe harbour scheme to all online service providers.

A government discussion paper on copyright law released in 2014 canvassed the extension of the safe harbour scheme.

"This would be achieved by removing the reference to carriage service provider and replacing it with a definition of 'service provider'," the paper stated, extending safe harbour provisions to entities such as CDNs and search engines.

However, the only proposal in that paper to have so far been legislated is a scheme to force ISPs to block websites linked to online piracy.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleintellectual propertycopyright

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Rohan Pearce

Rohan Pearce

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?