Conjecture on copyright changes unfounded > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield

Conjecture on copyright changes unfounded

The Coalition values Australian literature and Australian writers.

Copyright protection is an essential mechanism for ensuring the viability and success of creative industries by incentivising and rewarding creators.

The Turnbull Government has a strong record of responding to concerns about copyright infringement and protecting the legitimate interests of rights holders’ intellectual property and their ability to earn a return on their creative endeavours.

We have introduced legislation which came into effect last year to address the illegal downloading of content in Australia and have consulted on further improvements to the Copyright Act to update and simplify the protections for copyright owners that will be introduced at the start of the next term of Parliament.

Recently, it has been wrongly claimed that the Government is planning to reduce the life of copyright to 15 to 25 years after creation, rather than 70 years after the death of the author as it is currently. This is not something the Government has considered, proposed or intends to do.

The false claim is based on a finding in a recent draft Productivity Commission Report into Intellectual Property Arrangements.

It is important to note the Productivity Commission is an independent agency and the reference causing concern is contained in a draft report that has been issued by the Commission to facilitate stakeholder feedback. The Commission’s final report is expected in August. It will be a report to government, not by government. Once received, the Government will prepare a full response.

The Productivity Commission notes in its draft report that Australia is a party to a range of free trade agreements and has no unilateral capacity to alter copyright terms and that to even attempt to do so would require international negotiations and the reversal of international standards.

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring that the intellectual property system provides appropriate incentives for innovation and the production of creative works. We also need a system that does not unreasonably impede further innovation, competition, investment and access to goods and services.

Australian literature is vital to our cultural and intellectual life and the Coalition values the unique role that literature and books play in communicating Australian stories.