This page contains information on recent copyright reform in Australia.

Copyright (International Protection) Regulations Amendment 2018

In 2018 the Government updated the Copyright (International Protection) Regulations 1969 to extend protection for the secondary broadcast and public performance of sound recordings to 32 other countries in accordance with Australia’s commitment to protecting international sound recordings.

The Explanatory Statement contains detailed information about the changes.

Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018

The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 extends the operation of the ‘safe harbour’ scheme to a broader range of service providers in the disability, educational and cultural sectors. The extension limits liability for those service providers regarding copyright infringements that occur in the course of carrying out certain activities online.

Following consultations in early 2017, the Government introduced the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 into Parliament on 6 December 2017.

The Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee recommended passage of the Bill, which was supported by the Government in its response.

The Bill was passed on 28 June 2018 and received royal assent on 29 June 2018. The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 came into force on 29 December 2018.

The Government also consulted on minor amendments to the Copyright Regulations 2017 to ensure the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 operates effectively. These amendments, the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Regulations 2018, came into force on 29 December 2019.

Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 enables website blocking injunctions to be extended to search engine providers, as well as carriage service providers. It broadens the range of infringing websites that can be addressed through website blocking orders to include sites such as cyber lockers, and enables the Federal Court to make more responsive blocking orders.

Following the release of a discussion paper, a public submissions process and forum in 2014, the Government enacted the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015. The Government committed to reviewing the amendments 18 months after commencement.

The Government initiated this review in early 2018 with the release of a discussion paper which received 20 stakeholder submissions.

The Government introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018 into Parliament on 18 October 2018.

The Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee recommended passage of the Bill, and the Minister provided a Government response in the second reading speech.

The Bill was passed by the Senate on 28 November 2018 and received Royal Assent on 10 December 2018. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 came into force on 11 December 2018.

Review of the Code of Conduct for Collecting Societies

On 1 April 2019, we released the final report on the Review of the Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies (the Code). The review examined the extent to which the Code promotes fair and efficient outcomes for copyright owners and users.

We commenced the review on 25 August 2017 with the release of a discussion paper for public consultation.

The 25 submissions received for this process informed the development of options for improving the Code, which were outlined in a draft report released on 14 February 2018.

The review’s recommendations aim to increase clarity around the Code’s role and objectives, improve transparency around collecting societies’ operations, and strengthen the Code’s governance arrangements.

Copyright Regulations 2017

The Copyright Regulations 2017 (Copyright Regulations) consolidated the Copyright Regulations 1969 and the Copyright Tribunal (Procedure) Regulations 1969 into a single instrument. The changes modernised and simplified the previous regulations and introduced some new exceptions for Technological Protection Measures (TPM).

Public comments on the draft Copyright Regulations 2017 were sought in September 2017 and 22 submissions were received.

Response to the 2016 Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements (the PC Report) was released in December 2016.

In line with its response to recommendations made in the PC Report, the Government commenced the Copyright Modernisation Review in 2018.

A consultation paper was released in March 2018 and 89 submissions were received. We also conducted six roundtable sessions and undertook extensive consultations with industry and stakeholders in relation to the issues of copyright exceptions, orphan works and contracting out.

Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017

The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017 improves access to copyright materials for people with disability, while simplifying and streamlining the copyright framework for the education, library and archive sectors.

An exposure draft of the Bill was released in December 2015 with 87 submissions received. The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was passed by the Senate on 15 June 2017 and received Royal Assent on 22 June 2017.

The Act also set new standard terms of copyright duration for published and unpublished materials and for Crown copyright in original materials. These changes came into effect on 1 January 2019.