Major reform to copyright safe harbour legislation
6 December 2017
The Turnbull Government will today
introduce the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 to extend the safe harbour provisions
in the Copyright Act to the disability, education, library, archive and
This represents the first step taken to
significantly reform safe harbour legislation after more than 10 years of
debate and multiple reviews.
The measures in the Bill will ensure
these sectors are protected from legal liability where they can demonstrate
that they have taken reasonable steps to deal with copyright infringement by
users of their online platforms.
Extending the safe harbour scheme in
this way will provide greater certainty to institutions in these sectors and
enhance their ability to provide more innovative and creative services for all
The changes will also give copyright
owners tools to work with these sectors to prevent copyright infringement by
The Bill builds on the important reforms
that the Government has already introduced with the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and
other Measures) Act 2017. The scope of the disability, education and cultural
sectors within that Act was defined through significant consultation in 2016.
An exposure draft of that Bill included safe harbour provisions, which were
separated out to enable an intense period of further detailed consultation.
The measures in the Bill initially extend
the application of the existing safe harbour scheme to sectors that provide
beneficial services to all Australians and who are working collaboratively with
copyright owners to address infringement.
The Government will continue to work
with stakeholders on reforms to the safe harbour scheme to ensure it is fit for
purpose and reflective of world’s best practice, before looking to apply it to
other online service providers.
In so doing, the Government will be
mindful of the need to ensure the rights of creators are properly protected.
Australia’s copyright framework ensures that creators can receive a fair return
for their work. Australia’s copyright industries make a significant contribution
to our economic and cultural life, including collectively generating
approximately $122.8 billion in economic activity, $6.5 billion in exports and
employing more than 1 million Australians.