Copyright holders in Australia have hit out against calls to implement Fair Use legislation in the country.
Fair Use clauses are exceptions to existing copyright law. These exceptions exist for limited purposes in order to ensure copyright does not hinder creativity, freedom of expression and research. Fair Use rights could prevent rights holders from abusing copyright law to silence criticism and remove unfavorable opinions, for example.
While the United States, which has some of the toughest copyright laws around the world, has a Fair Use provision, the same does not exist in Australia. This is why the Australian government's own independent advisory body, the Productivity Commission, called for the introduction for such a provision earlier in the year.
The Productivity Commission also called for a ban on the use of geo-blocking, in order to protect competition and consumer rights.
These recommendations, however, have not been met with open arms by copyright holders in Australia, with most coming out against Fair Use.
Most centered their argument on the grounds that any watering down of copyright laws would harm "innovation", as these groups believe that it's strong copyright laws that help to protect creativity.
"The music industry exists because of copyright. Copyright drives innovation and creativity, enables record companies to invest in artists and repertoire, and gives creators an income," says music group IFPI.
Local pay television operator Foxtel mirrored the same sentiment.
"Fair use will have negative economic consequences and have a significant impact on creative output due to the associated uncertainties. Foxtel strongly believes that this type of reform will have a significant impact on creative outputs due to the uncertainties it will create," writes Foxtel in their submission to the Productivity Commission.
Ironically, Hollywood's staunch pro-copyright stance does include room for Fair Use. Hollywood's trade group, the MPAA, has previously offered support for Fair Use in court cases, and as the group explains in this article, Fair Use is something that rights-holders often rely on as well, when producing their own unique work.
"Our members rely on the fair use doctrine every day when producing their movies and television shows – especially those that involve parody and news and documentary programs," wrote the MPAA.
[Via TorrentFreak and MPAA]