Copyright Amendments 2017

In 2017, amendments were made to the Copyright Act.

The amendments covered five key areas:

  • The Part VA and Part VB statutory licences for educational purposes,
  • use of copyright material in exams and tests, including online assessment,
  • provisions relating to preservation and administration of library collections (including archives),
  • disability access, and
  • duration of copyright in unpublished and orphaned works.

Statutory Licences

The Part VA (TV and radio broadcasts) and Part VB (text and images) statutory licences have been replaced with a single simplified statutory licence covering broadcasts, text and images. Under the old licences, the Copyright Act included restrictions and conditions on using copyright material for educational purposes. The new statutory licence does not specify any restrictions or conditions. Instead, any restrictions and conditions of the new licence will be negotiated between universities and Screenrights and Copyright Agency - collecting societies who represent copyright owners for the statutory licence.

Currently, as we have existing agreements in place with Screenrights and Copyright Agency, most of the existing restrictions and conditions of the statutory licence will continue to apply until new agreements are in place with Copyright Agency and Screenrights. This is unlikely to happen before the end of 2018. Subjects using Readings Online are unlikely to notice any changes since the transition will all be managed by the Readings Online team. Universities Australia will be negotiating on our behalf with Copyright Agency and Screenrights during 2018.

The copyright warning notices for using material under Part VA or Part VB have been replaced with a new single copyright warning notice. The new notice has been implemented in Readings Online and Lecture Capture but will need to be included in powerpoint presentations and class handouts if using copyright material. The coversheet for print course packs has also been updated.

For more information about the new statutory licence, see The Statutory License for Educational Purposes.

Exams and Tests

The existing provisions covering the use of copyright material in exams and tests have been amended to include online exams and tests. For more information see Copying Material for Exams & Test Questions.

Library Provisions for Preservation, Research and Administrative Purposes

The amendments introduced a simpler preservation exception for library and archives that allows material to be preserved in line with international best practice. Previously, there were different rules for different types of material and there were limits on the number of copies and format that could be used.

More information about Library Provisions for Preservation can be found here.

Disability Provisions

The previous disability provisions for individuals with print and intellectual disabilities have been replaced by two new exceptions: an exception for institutions providing access to those with a disability and a fair dealing exception for assisting someone with a disability. The University will be able to rely on both provisions.

Both exceptions apply to any person with a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. This includes people with print or vision impairment, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illnesses, deaf or hearing impaired, or physical disabilities. Both permanent and temporary disabilities are covered.

The exception for institutions applies to all copyright material. Previously, there were restrictions on some types of material. Material can be converted into whatever accessibility format is required, so long as it not commercially available in the specific form required by the client.

The fair dealing provision is very flexible because it covers any material and any use, so long as it is for the purposes of providing access to a person with a disability and it is “fair”. The Act provides a list of factors to help determine what is consider “fair” and they are similar to the “fairness” factors for fair dealing for research or study.

For more information, Guidelines for Assisting People with Disabilities.

Changes to Duration in Unpublished and Orphaned Works

The Amendments also introduced changes to how duration in unpublished and orphaned works is determined – and therefore whether the work is in the public domain. These changes come into effect on 1 January 2019.

Previously, unpublished works remained in copyright perpetually until they were published. Even unpublished works that were hundreds of years old, for example Jane Austen’s letters, were still in copyright. From 1 January 2019, the same rules regarding duration apply regardless of whether a work has been made public/published or not.

For more information, see Duration of Copyright.