ACCC Complicates Copyright Takedown in Australia

Filed under Letters & Opinion ~ by Editor on  28 Jul 2019

The final report of the ACCC Digital Platform Inquiry released today ignores the advice of numerous government reviews and instead recommends adding further complexity to the Australian copyright takedown system.

The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) is concerned that the ACCC has chosen to side with large rights holders in recommending a separate takedown system for digital platforms. This will unnecessarily duplicate and compete with the existing Australian safe harbour scheme and further complicate the handling of copyright infringement online.

All the previous reviews, including the Productivity Commission’s IP Inquiry, have recommended that we extend the established copyright safe harbour scheme to platforms operating in Australia,” said ADA Executive Officer Jessica Coates.

Yet this doesn’t seem to have factored into the ACCC recommendations.”

The existing system already applies to ISPs and non-profits like schools and libraries, and includes important consumer and free speech protections, as well as incentives for all players,” Ms Coates said.

Under this new scheme creators and users alike will need to learn a second set of rules for copyright infringements, and know which applies when.”

The ACCC proposal opens the door to draconian measures being fought for by rights holders, like mandatory copyright filtering that would compromise the rights of consumers.

By obliging all digital platforms operating in Australia to adopt these measures, the system foreshadowed by the ACCC will create real challenges not only for the large international players but also the smaller local companies and startups who are trying to serve customers globally.

Even if local companies do follow the rules they will still be able to be sued for material they have already taken down. This could shut businesses down, or push them out of Australia,” said Ms Coates.

About the ADA

The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) provides a voice for the public interest in access to knowledge, information and culture in copyright reform debates.

Officially launched in February 1999, the ADA is a broad coalition of copyright users and innovators who support copyright laws that strike a balance between providing reasonable incentives for creators and the wider public interest in the advancement of learning, innovation and culture. More than 20 years later, the ADA continues to be a respected and active participant in the Australian copyright reform debates.

The ADA is a respected and active participant in the Australian copyright reform debates, regarded for its depth of copyright expertise and advocacy efforts on behalf of a diverse membership. ADA members span various sectors, and include universities, schools, disability groups, libraries, archives, galleries, museums, research groups, technology companies and individuals.

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