Recent copyright news and developments

Copyright news and developments, and changes to copyright law and policy are highlighted here and incorporated when relevant, into the information provided in the Copyright Guide.

COVID-19 and Copyright

As the University responds to COVID-19, providing access to educational resources to those who are unable to travel to Australia, and moving to delivering all lectures online, it is important to note that obligations under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and existing educational licences still apply.

The Teaching page of the Copyright Guide provides guidance on online delivery for different types of source material. The Copyright Act does allow for exceptions under certain conditions, however these are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Publishers have been responding to access issues, and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) has provided a list of COVID-19 Resources and Publisher Responses with details on any freely available resources related to COVID-19.

QUT also encourages the use of Creative Commons (CC) licensed material and Open Educational Resources (OER), which are free to access, modify and share.

You can read more about providing access to material at The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee's page: Remote supply - information for libraries and archives during the COVID 19 shutdown.

Copyright Agency Agreement

For many years, all 39 universities have had an agreement in place with Copyright Agency, negotiated for the sector by Universities Australia. The agreement historically set out the amount that universities were required to pay for statutory licence copying, and the administrative arrangements that applied to that copying.

The last agreement terminated on 31 December 2018. After a period of negotiation, the universities and Copyright Agency couldn't agree on the amount to be paid from January 2019. So, in November 2018, Copyright Agency commenced proceedings in the Copyright Tribunal to ask it to decide for the parties what the amount and administrative arrangements should be.

You can read more about this in What's going on with copyright agency and the universities? (PDF, 419KB).

Safe Harbour Expansion

This amendment took effect on 29 December 2018. The "safe harbour scheme" which gives organisations additional legal protections from liability for copyright infringing activities on their network and services under certain conditions has been extended to organisations including schools, universities and disability organisations.

You can read more about it in the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee's Guide for Libraries and Archives.

Site-Blocking Legislation - Section 115A of the Copyright Act

This amendment took effect on 11 December 2018. Section 115A enables the Federal Court to grant an injunction requiring a service provider to take reasonable steps to block access to online locations which infringe copyright and have the primary purpose of infringing copyright or facilitating the infringement of copyright.

You can read more about it in the Australian Copyright Council's updated information sheets:

Information in the Copyright Guide has been updated to reflect the changes.