The report found that the current copyright system is weighted too much in favour of rights holders and a “fair use” system would deliver net benefits to Australia.
Australia’s current copyright exceptions are “too narrow and prescriptive, do not reflect the way people actually consume and use content in the digital world and are insufficiently flexible to account for new legitimate uses of copyright material”, the report stated.
“The draft report’s recommendations are sensible, practical and will bring Australia’s intellectual property arrangements into the 21st century”, Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said.
The report acknowledges the important work that Australian universities are doing to make their own intellectual property (IP) more accessible to Australians and Australian businesses.
Every Australian university has listed their patents on IP Australia’s Source IP site, making it a comprehensive searchable source of Australia’s university-held patents.
Easy Access IP has been adopted by seven Australian universities and allows businesses to access IP quickly and for free, under a one page agreement.
- In summary, the Productivity Commission report:
- recommends the Australian Government amend the Copyright Act 1968 to introduce a broad, principles-based fair use exception which was advocated in Universities Australia’s submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry. This approach was recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its 2014 report Copyright and the Digital Economy;
- recommends the Government expand the “safe harbour” copyright shield for online service providers (which could include universities);
- supports increasing the degree of inventiveness required for a patent;
- supports the ongoing work of Governments and universities to release research under open access arrangements;
- recognises that universities should have flexibility to decide how best to make IP available to the public; and
- recommends against the adoption of ‘use it or lose it’ provisions for patents, and proposes that new measures like Easy Access and Source IP be given further time to work before additional provisions are considered.