APRA AMCOS welcomes Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018

Friday, 06 Jul 2018

Australia’s existing Safe Harbour Scheme only applied to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In 2016 the Government announced that it proposed to expand the Safe Harbour Scheme to protect a much broader group of “service providers”, potentially including social media sites, online search engines and cloud services. However in 2017 the Government stepped back from this position and introduced a completely new Bill, the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017.

Protection under the new Safe Harbour Scheme is still expanded beyond carriage service providers but only so as to also include educational institutions, libraries, archives, cultural institutions and organisations assisting persons with a disability. The scope of proposed expansion is consistent with APRA AMCOS’ position that the Safe Harbour should only apply to services and facilities which are passive and technical in nature, rather than to services which derive a profit from the commercial exploitation of others’ content (such as social media and other user generated content sites).

The new Bill passed the Senate on 10 May and was passed by the House of Representatives on 26 June 2018. Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, said the new legislation will improve copyright protections for the disability, educational and cultural sectors and facilitate more confident use of digital technologies and tools, particularly in the digital education environment. “The safe harbour scheme will protect these sectors from legal liability where they can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to reduce copyright infringement on their online systems or networks,” Minister Fifield said.

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