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Australia To Review Copyright Fair Use

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the prepare-to-be-blacklisted dept.

Australia 87

New submitter freddienumber13 writes "The Australian Government has announced a review of the copyright act to look at the provisions of fair use and exceptions with a view towards considering whether or not the law has kept pace with technology and thus if further provisions are required to ensure the act remains relevant and effective." Don't hold your breath; the committee has until November 30th, 2013 to create their report. Maybe Australians will see their Fair Use rights expanded in a time when it's in fashion to expand copyright protections.

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87 comments

I spend half of my time in Australia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522833)

I usually summer here in the States, and head to Australia from about October through March. Haven't seen a snowflake in years. Maybe I'll have to start spending all my time down under!

Re:I spend half of my time in Australia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523163)

More cocks to suck down there or something?

Re:I spend half of my time in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523707)

Yep, since you took interest. Ten million big throbbers just waiting for your welcoming lips.

Re:I spend half of my time in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525305)

I was wondering what the Treaty between America and Australia contained, obviously a revision of copyright... hmmm....

/. paying for my new keyboard? (5, Insightful)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about 2 years ago | (#40522855)

Maybe Australians will see their Fair Use rights expanded in a time when it's in fashion to expand copyright protections.

After spraying my keyboard with Pepsi, I honestly couldn't stop laughing....

Good luck with that.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522893)

Indeed. anyone that thinks something like this will lead to more freedom needs to put the joint they are smoking down and come back to reality. as much as I would like to see the right thing done here I hardly expect it to happen.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523173)

If you want things to improve, help the Pirate Party Australia get a voice into parliament by joining.
http://pirateparty.org.au/join

Joining is currently free.
Help get your voice heard.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523801)

Thanks. Have signed up!

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525343)

The issue with the pirate party is the name, it has double meaning. They should consider changing their name to something else

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | about 2 years ago | (#40529551)

Or you could write your representative .. not that there's anything to write about yet since there aren't even recommendations yet let alone legislation.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523223)

Indeed. anyone that thinks something like this will lead to more freedom needs to put the joint they are smoking down

Eh what? The people using drugs who are otherwise not criminals in any way already understand how oppressive, hypocritical, and unreasonable the law can be and often is.

It's the naive goody-goodies who believe the "for your own good" bullshit who need a wake-up call.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523213)

After spraying my keyboard with Pepsi

Oh, so you're an impulsive fuckwit. Thanks for sharing.

Posing the question is giving the answer. (5, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 2 years ago | (#40523247)

Good luck with that.

You're new to this government thing, aren't you? In all the decades you have been reading ALRC reports, or the reports of other government appointed inquiries for that matter, when have you ever read "everything is OK as it is, and we have no recommendations?"

Read between the lines of the terms of reference. The ALRC has been asked to "to consider whether existing exceptions are appropriate and whether further exceptions should recognise fair use of copyright material ..." Are existing exceptions anywhere near appropriate, say in ensuring "fair use" such as it might be understood in the US? ALRC is going to have hard time answering that in the affirmative! The further exceptions they are being asked to devise should you know. And they will ...

This is another step towards harmonising our law with that of the US and for a change from all the punitive harmonisations, this will introduce some small measure of freedom. It is well known that the government has for some time wanted to introduce some kind of fair use provision into Australian copyright law. Just don't expect an overly broad one.

Re:Posing the question is giving the answer. (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 2 years ago | (#40523685)

Why even consider harmonizing with US law? Ours is restrictive enough as it is and thsoe with money are doing their best to make them even more so.

Re:Posing the question is giving the answer. (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#40524245)

It's not harmonizing. The game is leapfrog.

Country A has stricter copyright provisions than Country B.
Trade group in Country B: "Oh no. We're going out of business immediately unless we get copyright provisions at least as good as Country A. Better give a little extra just to make sure we can stay in business."
Wait 5 minutes after the law passes.
Trade group in Country A: "Oh no. We're going out of business immediately unless we get copyright provisions at least as good as Country B. Better give a little extra just to make sure we can stay in business."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Re:Posing the question is giving the answer. (5, Interesting)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 2 years ago | (#40524257)

Why even consider harmonizing with US law?

You're harmonising [sic] with US spelling, why do you expect the law to remain immune?

Seriously though, the reason is the net. The late C20th and early C21st has seen IP law move into 2 related directions. Firstly attempts to reduce the risk digital communications pose to IP holders and the concomitant internationalisation of the Law. Given the position of the US as the world's major content creator (Silicon valley and Hollywood) and the decline of their "hard" manufacturing sector, it is unsurprising that (after a century of isolating themselves from the international IP scene) they have sought most vigorously to establish a regime which protects the value of their exports.

The code apocryphally dreamt up in the legal depts. of your Disneys, passed onto US negotiators at the WTO has been incorporated via instruments such as TRIPS, into the municipal law of WTO member countries. Thus similar provisions to those found the in the US DMCA, were incorporated into our copyright law via the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 (C'th). Nor were these the last. Such is the price of membership and we are not about to drop out of the WTO any time soon..

Having imported many of the new restrictions, it is thought we ought also to access a few of the liberties. However, the decision to devise "fair use" exception must also be understood in the context of facilitating international business. Take the concrete example of some US based vendor who incorporates what is there allowable fair use content into a product which could be sold also in Australia. The dangers posed by a non-harmonised legal framework poses for such transactions ought to be obvious.

Re:Posing the question is giving the answer. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40525437)

It's a price of a "free trade" agreement that doesn't let us sell you any sugar, steel, wheat or beef until 2030, and makes it no more easy to sell you any other goods and services than before it was signed. It's a dud deal signed while the clock was running out and an idiot called Vale had to come home with something or admit failure.
So it's the price of keeping a promise.

Re:Posing the question is giving the answer. (2)

Artifakt (700173) | about 2 years ago | (#40523723)

Once a country has codiifed 'fair use' and established some basics, it actually becomes easier to lobby to expand those basics. Not really spelling out what counts as even minimal fair use makes it hard to change things for better or worse, and when a related area such as infringement law gets more codifed, it tends to drive the uncodified area into that pesky 'for worse' category just as a side effect. Just think of how much less abusive U.S. law would be if we had a lot of fair use exceptions spelled out in good detail and all these laws such as the DMCA had riders that said , for example, "Nothing in this bill offsets Title 18 Section Foo04 - Codiefied minimum Fair Use exemptions.".

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#40523845)

This is an independent ALRC review, not a Senate committee or something. The ALRC has a long history of liberalising laws where it's appropriate to do so and where other jurisdictions are making moves in that direction. I think your derision of the process is premature.

Either way though it will be a long time before we see any actual change. The ALRC reviews usually only take a year or so, but getting the government to actually enact any of their recommendations is another thing. For instance, the ALRC review of the Privacy Act was finished five years ago but the government itself is only now starting to work towards enacting some of the recommendations (after however many drafts and Senate reviews and blah blah).

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (4, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40525069)

Maybe Australians will see their Fair Use rights expanded in a time when it's in fashion to expand copyright protections.

After spraying my keyboard with Pepsi, I honestly couldn't stop laughing....

Good luck with that.

Yes, Pepsi is hideous, you are right to spit that out but good luck with your laughing issue as well.

Re:/. paying for my new keyboard? (1)

shione (666388) | about 2 years ago | (#40526617)

Australia should take note of what the EU courts have just handed down and irrevocably allow the sale of second hand software. http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/07/03/1245200/used-software-can-be-sold-says-eu-court-of-justice [slashdot.org]

Secondly it can bring back the right to photocopy up to 5% of a book/article for educational purposes. It usedto shit me off to no end hearing lecturers say they found some good content but couldn't give it to us because it exceeded the copying allowance.

Change the rule back to "plus 50" on when a work enters the public domain.

I know the plus 70 rule was just to follow the EU and the US but copyright was originally intended to provide authors with $$$ to create content, but the copyright does not expire until decades after the creator has died. By that time it might be useless for derivative works especially in software where technology changes at a alarming rate.

Can we lead the way?! (5, Funny)

balzi (244602) | about 2 years ago | (#40522881)

After what seems like years of having Europe and America laugh at our foolish ISP filtering proposals, our crazy tech and content prices, maybe... just maybe, we will lead the way and have everyone cheer us instead.

Aussie aussie aussie, free! free! free!

Re:Can we lead the way?! (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40524269)

Aussie aussie aussie, free! free! free!

Huh? After Europe opposed ACTA (and Australia signed it [wikipedia.org] without a blink) you still cheer for Australia? (maybe you should change the tone to a "booo" and let the politicians know about it).

I would suggest you to stay tuned on the next step, which is TPP [wikipedia.org] - also negotiated in secret, with a higher potential to damage the "free! free! free!". Maybe you'd feel opposed to it? If positive, let me point you to a petition to be signed [stopthetrap.net] (backed, among others, by EFF).

Is that so? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522913)

Considering past news coming from Australia, I wouldn't be surprised if Fair Use became even more restricted after the review.

Re:Is that so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523175)

Past news, like the the fact that our courts told AFACT to go AFUCK themselves?

Re:Is that so? (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about 2 years ago | (#40523245)

Past news, like the the fact that our courts told AFACT to go AFUCK themselves?

The courts did, the politicians didn't. The Minister for Communications etc, Stephen Conroy has stated many times that he leans to the AFACT side in all of this.

Re:Is that so? (4, Insightful)

xQx (5744) | about 2 years ago | (#40523883)

Stephen Conroy is a douche.

Never trust an Australian who doesn't drink.

But we do thank him for the NBN (even if it might mean we will soon have a national debt to rival greece to pay for it).

Re:Is that so? (1)

obeythefist (719316) | about 2 years ago | (#40524201)

But we do thank him for the NBN (even if it might mean we will soon have a national debt to rival greece to pay for it).

Wow, get your facts straight.

http://nbnmyths.wordpress.com/how-are-we-paying-for-it/ [wordpress.com]

The NBN is already paid for with government bonds, which will return 4% to investors, however, the NBN itself will make 7% ROI, which means Australian government will pocket 3% from the exercise. Which will probably be spent on even more infrastructure. Which is a lot better than Telstra did, I think all the money they ever made went straight to Sol Trujillo's retirement fund. How on earth can you describe 3% profit as sending Australia into debt?

Please Mr Abbot, stop mucking around on Slashdot and go develop a real policy alternative instead of just spreading FUD and automatically gainsaying whatever the ALP comes up with.

Re:Is that so? (4, Insightful)

xQx (5744) | about 2 years ago | (#40524281)

Let me preface this with the statement that I actually support the NBN. It's like building railways in the 1800's or highways in the 1900's. It just makes sense.

And considering we spend about $4,000 per taxpayer per year on cardiac health-services - I don't give a rats arse what it costs - it makes more sense to spend the money on the NBN than it does to spend it on general government waste (health/military/elections etc.)

But don't believe everything you read about the Labour government's estimations of finances - they are based on the following "facts":
1. NBN Co. will have a (compounding) Internal Rate of Return of 7% in an industry that has been declining for the past 10 years.
A statement that is predicated on the following assumptions:
    2. Most consumers will he happy to get 12M/1M fibre services.
    3. Consumers will keep buying a voice service to go with their data service!
    4. Everybody who buys ADSL or ADSL2+ now will be happy to spend at least as much on NBN services (even though the NBN is effeciently being overbuilt by Telstra 4G that meets the needs of most consumers today).
    5. Even though NBN Co only made $356,000 of their estimated $3,000,000 profit in 2012, the finances are still right on track.

And finally the last MOTHER of an assumption:
6. The NBN will only cost $27bn.

So to answer your question of: How on earth can you describe 3% profit as sending Australia into debt?

Well, I think our current Labour government are a lying sack of bastards, and the only person in that party who could organise a root in a brothel is no longer a member of the party because that's exactly what they did!

Re:Is that so? (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40525183)

2. Most consumers will he happy to get 12M/1M fibre services.

Recent surveys and take up data have suggested a larger than estimated number of consumers will buy the higher speed plans.

3. Consumers will keep buying a voice service to go with their data service!

This bit I doubt, even the best consumer VOIP services in Oz are mediocre (I say this as a Node customer, internet service great, VOIP service severely lacking) as most Australians are using their mobile as their main phone and eschewing land lines.

4. Everybody who buys ADSL or ADSL2+ now will be happy to spend at least as much on NBN services (even though the NBN is effeciently being overbuilt by Telstra 4G that meets the needs of most consumers today).

I believe that this will hold true, A$60-80 p/m is what we expect to pay and comparative to our wages it's not expensive at all. but I believe also the NBN will be slightly cheaper by about $10 ish mainly due to cheaper line rental. I had some data to support this but cant find it ATM (something to do with AVC costs compared to rental prices for copper).

I also don't think LTE (no I will not call it 4G) wont meet the needs of most consumers. Not at the woefully low caps mobile broadband offers. Wireless BB accounts for less than 10% of our total downloads, this percentage is dropping despite the number of mobile BB connections rising. In the 3 months to Dec 2010 wireless accounted for 9% of downloads, in the three months to Dec 2011 wireless accounted for 7% of downloads. Anyone thinking wireless is a replacement for wired connections on a wide scale is fooling themselves something shocking. What this data does support, is the notion more people are getting wireless broadband as a secondary connection, to use as a backup, on the road or tied to a device like a laptop or tablet.

And finally the last MOTHER of an assumption: 6. The NBN will only cost $27bn.

I'll give you this but my money is on a repeat of the Collins class sub project. Delivered on budget but late. Though, even at twice the price the NBN is a bargain, for teleworking alone with increasing in fuel costs and worsening traffic conditions in our major cities.

Well, I think our current Labour government are a lying sack of bastards,

The problem you have here, is the other guys are an even worse sack of lying, cheating bastards... in budgie smugglers.

Re:Is that so? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40525465)

Internal Rate of Return of 7% in an industry that has been declining for the past 10 years.

Internet service providers appear to be thriving and expanding instead of declining and the mobile telcos are not in a decline. The entire bleeding mess that is Telstra, landlines and all, is a different thing that is mostly destroying itself so I don't think that is a valid comparison

G'Day- throw another cork hat on the barbie mate! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#40531739)

Stephen Conroy is a douche. Never trust an Australian who doesn't drink.

Indeed- it's well known that he was kicked out of the University of Woolloomooloo for breaking rule #4 (they don't want to catch anybody not drinking). There were also moves to kick him out under rules #1, #3, #5 and #7, but he maintained he wasn't a poofter.

Also, the fact that his name isn't "Bruce" caused too much confusion.

Re:Is that so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525057)

Stephen Conroy should be dragged kicking and screaming out into the streets. Then lynched in front of AFACT HQ as an enemy of the people.

Re:Is that so? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40524301)

Past news, like the the fact that our courts told AFACT to go AFUCK themselves?

Did the court said anything about ACTA before the govt signed it [dfat.gov.au] ? You think it won't happen the same with TPP [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Is that so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523473)

This IS the current Australian government. Tax & Spend; Tax & Spend; lie, lie, lie.

They will probably review copyright and decide to wack a 1% levy on our taxes to compensate some poor starving artist in some communist contry somewhere.

Re:Is that so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523581)

Strictly speaking, we don't have Fair Use at all over here.
It's been a while since I read it all in detail, but we've only got very limited exemptions for legal, review and academic use. You can present a copyrighted piece and have it entered in court records if it's relevant to a trial, and you can have limited excerpts for review and academic purposes. I forget the precise amounts, we just said "no more than 10%" which was enough to keep anyone from hassling us. What we used to have instead of Fair Use was much more reasonable copyright terms and time limits.

The past reviews have already screwed us over in various ways. Since the 2006 "harmonization" of our laws due to the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it's now illegal for me to make the little steampunk badges I used to make based on 1880 colonial government blueprints without getting a several thousand dollar commercial agreement.
Why the fuck are 130 year old, taxpayer funded documents locked up behind a pay wall? Basically, because if someone, somewhere, wants them, then someone else can make money off that someone, and in todays society, it's immoral not to take money off everyone for everything.

Re:Is that so? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40524821)

On the upside, since the 2006 changes it's now legal to record stuff off TV and put music onto your iPod.

Re:Is that so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525903)

No one has "Fair Use" (capitalized) other than the USA. We have Fair Dealing. You'll note that the actual enquiry is about "fair use" (lowercase, common English usage, rather than actual legal term). The result may be changes to our existing Fair Dealing laws, or it could result in a switch to USA style Fair Use. Or it could be nothing.

Fair Use is a fuzzy approach, where the courts are given a set of criteria, and make a judgement on a case-by-case basis. Pro: It's flexible and more likely to adapt with technology. Con: You have no idea if your actions actually _are_ Fair Use (unless heavily precedented) until you actually stand in court, facing copyright infringement charges (Fair Use is a defence to prosecution, not an exception to the law).
Fair Dealing is a more straight forward explicit set of rules with little room for interpretation. Pro: You know exactly where you stand. Con: It doesn't keep up with technology so well, as a result, where you stand might be in a pile of crap.

Re:Is that so? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40524277)

Considering past news coming from Australia, I wouldn't be surprised if Fair Use became even more restricted after the review.

Highly likely given the TPP negotiations [wikipedia.org] context. Please, do sign a petition [stopthetrap.net] .

Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (4, Interesting)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40522917)

The file-sharing issue aside, I believe copyrights shouldn't be used like patents on ideas, where mere similarity in plot, character or overall design becomes grounds for suing the developer of another work. For instance, fanfiction should be legalised, where there's a clear distinction between the author of the original work and the author of the derivative.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (2)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 2 years ago | (#40523093)

On the subject of fanfiction, I saw a post in another thread (ages ago) that had a really good way of fixing this problem. As the author, release a CC-BY-NC-SA licenced "universe bible" that is specifically built to allow fanfiction. As long as your fans publish whatever they write as a derivative of that document and license it under the CC-BY-NC-SA licence, then they're legally protected. Even if the author goes all Lucas on them.

I'm drafting something like that for my own novels, but I've been snowed under with other writing commitments and my day job that I haven't finished it. A draft is here though:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hIZbgp1qdfXiML-MkQl-pxvCIjSdDqaXiQTIQIYK6tk/edit?pli=1# [google.com]

Re:I'm drafting something like that for my novels (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#40523125)

Rule 34, here it comes!

Re:I'm drafting something like that for my novels (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 2 years ago | (#40523167)

Rule 34/slashfiction/etc is legally protected assuming it's licensed correctly.

I want to be very clear about that point. I don't necessary have to agree with, or like, whatever someone writes using that document. That's the whole point.

Anyone who uses it does *not* need my approval and even my explicit disapproval will not remove their protection, again, assuming they're following the licence correctly.

Re:I'm drafting something like that for my novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523471)

Rule 34/slashfiction/etc is legally protected assuming it's licensed correctly.

I want to be very clear about that point. I don't necessary have to agree with, or like, whatever someone writes using that document. That's the whole point.

Anyone who uses it does *not* need my approval and even my explicit disapproval will not remove their protection, again, assuming they're following the licence correctly.

Yeah yeah. You post and you post in this story. All your posts can be summed up to: "I wrote something, I am special, pay attention to ME!"

Re:I'm drafting something like that for my novels (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40523817)

In my opinion, if someone puts in the time and effort to produce something genuinely creative and original that furthers the intellectual state of the human race, they deserve some attention.

I'm going to go read a draft about a universe now...

Re:I'm drafting something like that for my novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40538775)

Nobody cares for your opinion here you jackass.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#40523701)

I'd put some thought into this a while back. Here's my solution:

Create a fanfiction license. As long as it is not-for-profit (with a specific exemption for "posted on a site that has ads"), the fanfic author makes no claims of copyright/trademark ownership of the original characters and whatnot, and agrees to indemnify the original authors in any lawsuit over the fanfic, the fanfic author can obtain a license, at no cost, to use any trademarked or copyrighted material associated with the original work.

This protects both sides. It protects the original authors, by blocking other people from exploiting their work (outside the bounds of regular fair use - remember, nothing says you have to agree to this license; if you think you're protected by Fair Use, you can do for-profit stuff), and by making them explicitly not responsible for anything the fanfic writers do. The fanfic writers, meanwhile, are *explicitly* protected against any legal problems - the license *will* lack a "this license may be amended at any time" or "unilateral cancellation" clause, so even if the original authors DO become assholes, they can't "take it back".

The only clause that would be controversy-worthy would be the "if the original authors read your work, and later produce another work that bears similarities to the fanfiction, the original authors shall not be held liable for plagiarism unless significant portions of the actual work were copied". And that's mainly so the original authors can read fanfics without worrying that they'll be sued because their sequel incorporates one or two elements that a fanfic happened to include (many authors actually refuse to read fanfics for this reason). Hopefully, if they actually *do* decide to copy some fan work, they'd compensate them appropriately. That's what I would do, at least. But it does rely a bit on the authors not being thieving scumbags.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40523333)

I don't know, I think there should be a reasonable protection for authors and their worlds/characters. For instance, Rowlings should be able to publish her Harry Potter series, without other authors spewing out "Harry Potter and the ...." knockoffs between books in order to capitalize on her work. Although I agree copyright shouldn't be used for those purposes - the correct tool, I think, is a trademark.

And I imagine it'd be pretty easy for a piece of fan fiction, which is generally distributed for free, digitally, on fan-fiction sites, that it has little chance of being confused with the real thing (given as trademarks are supposed to be there to address customer confusion).

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40523373)

Back in the 90s when Star Trek DS9 and Babylon 5 were going head-to-head in the syndication market, their respective companies handled fanfiction and sites VERY differently:

- Paramount issued cease-and-desist letters to webowners and fans (else they would be prosecuted).

- Meanwhile PTEN (offshoot of Warner Bros) asked JMS how he thought fans of Babylon 5 should be handled. They decided fans would be free to use B5 images and characters, so long as a copyright notice was immediately underneath or ahead of the image.

On another note: It seems studios have no qualms about stealing ideas from others. Ever notice how many movies/TV shows arrive, in the same year, with the same concept? DS9/B5. Armageddon/Deep Impact, The Illusionist/Prestige, ANTZ/A Bug's Life, Mission to Mars/Red Planet, Dante's Peak/Volcano.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40523857)

On another note: It seems studios have no qualms about stealing ideas from others. Ever notice how many movies/TV shows arrive, in the same year, with the same concept? DS9/B5. Armageddon/Deep Impact, The Illusionist/Prestige, ANTZ/A Bug's Life, Mission to Mars/Red Planet, Dante's Peak/Volcano.

It makes it hell on those of us who confuse them. "Let's go see the meteor movie" "The Bruce Willis one, or the other one" And I still don't know anyone who can tell Mission to Mars and Red Planet apart from name alone. I've managed to convince more than one person that Mission to Mars stars Val. And wasn't the Ice Cube/Natasha Henstridge Ghosts of Mars also right about the same time? One ET (Abyss wannabe), one survival movie more about a feral robot than anything else, and one video game-esq movie.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40524133)

i dunno, i don't have a problem with it.

Armageddon - Aerosmith
Deep Impact - Leelee Sobieski

The Illusionist - Edward Norton
The Prestige - Christian Bale

ANTZ - Woody Allen
A Bug's Life - I honestly don't remember a thing about this movie.

Mission to Mars - Gary Sinise (I don't remember the plot though.)
Ghosts of Mars - Ice Cube (Also don't remember this plot. There's a train at one point!)
Red Planet - Carrie Anne Moss/Val Kilmer

Dante's Peak - Pierce Brosnan
Volcano - Tommy Lee Jones

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40525341)

Don't forget the Pixar/Dreamworks rivalry.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40523795)

Let's get the misconceptions out of the way, then, with a short lecture on copyright law. IANAL, but I've done the research repeatedly over the past few decades. I apologize in advance for the length of the post.

Copyrights (like patents) are not broad prohibition against anything kinda-sorta similar. You cannot have copyright protection on an overall plot, plot elements, or even the exact progression of events for characters with specific personalities.

What is copyrighted is the exact creative work, and its marketability. The name of "Han Solo" describing the gruff smuggler pilot is protected because its use impacts the market for Star Wars. This is where fanfiction crosses the boundary into infringement, because practically by definition, it uses existing characters (usually) without license. A fan-written story that fits into the Star Wars universe without actually mentioning any characters (or places, or other specifics that are specific to Star Wars) would not likely infringe.

However, it is possible to sue anyone for anything. This is regardless of copyright or patent law, as a suit is simply a request that a court work out an issue. Most lawyers are mindful of their reputation and standing, so they won't assist frivolous lawsuits, but there is always somebody who'll do or say anything for money. This is a problem with the American legal system (with which I'm familiar far more than the Australian), in that it is possible to do nothing wrong and still face overwhelming expense. Most stupid lawsuits will never amount to anything, because nobody (including the courts) want to waste time on them. That often includes the authors, who will sometimes encourage fanfiction as an enriching influence on their own work.

However, a lawyer might make a decent case against any fanfiction. If you do write a story that is incredibly close to the details of Star Wars such that it could affect how current works (and future works, to a limited extent) are accepted and marketed, a judge might even hear it, because details might surface that lead to more straightforward infringement (such as an admission that you based all the major locations off of Star Wars movie sets. It'd be an uphill battle, but the lawyer might be able to argue that your work somehow damages the marketability of Star Wars itself. I can't stress enough how difficult that lawsuit would actually be.

Once the lawsuit is actually brought forth, you can fight against it. You can claim there's no infringement, which is a pretty straightforward situation where you explain how your work really isn't Star Wars.because there's these few (but significant) details that utterly clash with the universe, or there's many other works [wikipedia.org] that it draws from just as much, or several other strategies. If the lawsuit isn't thrown out then, you can claim any of several exceptions. If your work's a parody (like Rule 34 usually falls into), review, or other work that must use the original work as a base to have the same artistic result, and doesn't harm the original's market, it's a likely candidate for fair use [wikipedia.org] , though that's not a guarantee. If you're writing fanfiction and using someone else's characters to save the trouble of creating your own backstories, fair use probably doesn't apply.

There are four criteria to fair use: the nature of the work, the amount that was copied, the effect on value, and the purpose in copying. There are no set thresholds for any of those criteria. The opening notes of the Super Mario theme were judged too much for fair use, yet several paragraphs of a novel were judged to not be. If you aren't profiting (even indirectly) from the infringement it's better, but even recognition as a fanfiction author is considered a form of profit. A summary of a movie that gives away the surprise ending (it's his sled) could be judged harmful to the market for the movie. If you're writing a love story set aboard the Titanic, the fact that the Titanic's history is a fact will help keep James Cameron's lawyers at bay.

Overall, the purpose of copyright is to encourage creative works, just as patents are intended to encourage technological innovation. If you take an idea and significantly add your own thought and art to it, copyright law generally is in your favor. If you simply intend to use someone else's effort to make your own writing easier, copyright law is generally against you. That's where fanfiction is usually found, from a legal perspective, because the story is viewed as having most of its background in the original story. Anything that starts out with "this story takes place right after..." is effectively saying "all the background is just the original work, but I'm going to change the ending and call it my own".

All of this, of course, is completely subject to change according to a license, which can grant you either specific or blanket permission to do something. There are some works that have issued licenses to the public to use their characters and settings in specific ways, and that completely sidesteps the issue of infringement as long as you play by the rules of the license, which is a legally binding contract. Of course, if you break that contract then you aren't licensed to use the work, and face infringement again.

It's exactly that power that makes open-source licenses like the GPL work. By default, copyright law prohibits you from making your own versions of the copyrighted software. However, if you play by the rules of the GPL (or Apache, or whatever), you get the license to make copies. Since practically all computer operations require copying in some form, you effectively either follow the rules, or you don't use the software legally.

In conclusion (finally... sorry again), copyright is really just a protection on the marketability of the original author's published work, not the ideas or vague concepts used. It's a deep rabbit hole, full of bad lawyers and persistent myths (like the "30 seconds of music is fair use" notion, or "10% of a work isn't derivative"), and a lot really just depends on how aggressively the author tries to protect their work.

Re:Copyrights shouldn't be patents on ideas (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40536733)

Mod parent up.

While I don't agree on all points, his or her 12-paragraph explanation made more sense than my one-paragraph rant. I quote:

What is copyrighted is the exact creative work, and its marketability.

FUCK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522953)

Sidehackin' is the thing to do
When it doesn't hurt to have a low IQ.
Take a life you like and a little love.
The big band prize is twenty-five bucks.
Sidehackin'll quench your danger thirst
The stupid ones always seem to come in first, yeah.

Sidehackin' is one big bash;
The favorite sport of cheap white trash.
When you're on your sidehack, make sure you don't slip;
You'll end up with five metal pins in your hip.
Lean way back 'til you scrape your butt;
Make it look like a quarter-pound of ground chuck, yeah.

Oh, sidehack it, Crow!

TPP Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40522985)

The scope of the inquiry will include the impact of legislative solutions and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations

So, this means Australians won't be getting anything that goes against SOPA 2.0, also known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Even ACTA pales in comparison.

And, yes, in both cases it was the USA, in particular USTR Ron Kirk, who is the primarily responsible entity.

YOU'LL LOVE IT you paedophile fuckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523019)

KIDZ BOP 22 is coming this summer! Featuring all of todays hottest kid-friendly hits, including "Stronger," "Call Me Maybe," and "Payphone".

Yeah, no. (4, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 2 years ago | (#40523055)

As an Australian and as a rights holder (who supports CC, fair use, fanfiction, parody/satire, etc) who sees the constant encroachment of the MPAA/RIAA/etc into our legal system, this is only going one way.

Away from expanding Fair Use. Which is a shame.

Re:Yeah, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523143)

I hope it does and I hope no talent copy cats go to jail and get the AIDS rape.

Re:Yeah, no. (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | about 2 years ago | (#40523233)

Away from expanding Fair Use. Which is a shame.

Considering that now publications are now going digital and over the next 30 years we will see a lot of new literature published to digital media that won't be available to print, I'd say it's downright dangerous not to expand Fair Use to protect the availability of literature in digital formats.

Re:Yeah, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523335)

Considering that now publications are now going digital and over the next 30 years we will see a lot of new literature published to digital media that won't be available to print, I'd say it's downright dangerous not to expand Fair Use to protect the availability of literature in digital formats.

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. "The availability of literature" is not in question, is it? You pay the rights holder what he asks for his work, it's available. Or is there some subtle point about your right to things that don't belong to you that I'm missing?

Re:Yeah, no. (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#40525331)

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. "The availability of literature" is not in question, is it? You pay the rights holder what he asks for his work, it's available. Or is there some subtle point about your right to things that don't belong to you that I'm missing?

Fair use means that you are allowed to use copyrighted material for free in certain circumstances, such as education and news reporting (subject to limitations on how much you copy, etc). If these laws for whatever absurd reason don't cover digital media, then that's a major problem. A particular problem is if Australia has a DMCA-like anti-circumvention law, which makes it illegal to break DRM, regardless of whether one has a fair-use claim to the protected material.

Re:Yeah, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523437)

Members of the rent seeking class believe it is downright dangerous to allow old literature to still be available when people could be paying full price for a new version.

Re:Yeah, no. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40524313)

Away from expanding Fair Use. Which is a shame.

Agreed [wikipedia.org] - have a look on the entire context. Please sign an EFF backed petition [stopthetrap.net]

you are kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523087)

Fair use rights will shrink to fall into line with the USA.

Internal Server Error getting a lot of those (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523249)

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, admin@please-no-spam.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

ya right (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40523319)

How much do you want to bet their conclusions are that "Fair use" is an outdated concept and should be eliminated all together? Seems like a far more likely outcome than anything beneficial.

Re:ya right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525735)

That would likely cause outrage. Instead it'll probably happen similar to what just happened in Canada. Where in the books there's supposedly expansions/confirmations of various digital rights - but if you look closely you see all of those rights are either castrated by making breaking of a digital lock for any reason illegal and/or realising that the supposed confirmations of rights are actually more restrictive than what was implicitly enjoyed anyway.

Re:ya right (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40531005)

Since when has outrage stopped a government from collecting their hard earned bribes?

Australia is on its way to a conservative govt.... (3, Informative)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#40523415)

...one that's balking at climate change, grudgingly promising not stop the National Broadband Network roll out and is portraying gays and dark people asmythical job-stealing closet monsters. So while they're dragging us back to the dark ages, I can totally see them siding with a progressive view of 'fair use'.

More than likely they'll be sticking anyone caught torrenting in the stocks while dirty faced children throw vegetables at them.

Background to this review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523539)

This review is coming as a result of the win Optus had in time shifting FTA television to their mobile phone service. Telstra/Foxtel's loss in the court has prompted the review as they had paid significant amount for exclusive mobile broadcast of Australian rules football.

The review will probably less to increased restrictions to protect rights holders.

Australia Liable to The Crown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523611)

The Australian government should be very care full what it dose with copyright law as it was not that long ago the australian government was not allowed to copyright its own works,the reason being they are liable to The Crown.
It was not that long ago either that the The Crown held all media rights,including intellectual property,but not technical manuals or approved writings or works.
The reason for this is that the Crown believes in no god,God,unlike America,The Crown knows who god is and god is nothing but male and female,the world revolves around two people,at any one time,either a male or a female,and this is where the ideas of fiction fantrasy,and gore come from.
As far as I know somewhere in this earth in the no-need-to-be-spoken world,The Crown is filing a law suit against the australian government for the treatmnent of royality or the stars on our shores,and on others shores as well,including Canada and now America.

What The Crown is asking is to protect all works,and remember where they came from.
Where do you believe the ideas come from???a from of a god,he/shes right across the world,in every music tune and every movie,every painting !
Why is science so slow,technology in proving,yet some are so smart and ahead of their time,we all dont get the same ideas,but what we do get is ideas from our Royal Heritage

Re:Australia Liable to The Crown (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#40523737)

you don't live in this century, do you?

Re:Australia Liable to The Crown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523793)

In his Honer

The Deed and Title is held by The Crown

Crystal clear, stars in the sky, so clear so bright,
Star dust , mind overhead

She’s squealing in my ears, cats at the door,
Demons screaming through my mind the’re all dead on the floor

No desire, she’s star shot she’s a sparkle in time
Spinning the world watching them fall from the sky.

Snatching at the wall, howling in the night, world so beautiful,
So real, You’re spinning the world with me tonight Gurl.

Passion in the sky, baby girl in the light, eye to the mind
She’s putting stars in the sky

I stand in a field holding the keys to the village claiming The Crown

At Her Majesty's Service - The Commonwealth

Funny who pops up on slashdot when the australian government is involved
lets just say the world works in strange ways,things happen for a reason,and its nothing to do with myself.

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Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523735)

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Not with Juliar at the helm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40523829)

I will only fairly use what dear leader allows me to use.

Re:Not with Juliar at the helm... (1)

fostware (551290) | about 2 years ago | (#40523917)

Because the Liberals (Conservatives) were blameless when they agreed to the US Free Trade Agreement that shoehorned US patent and copyright "treaties" into our body of Law.

Conjob doesn't deserve his job, but a change of government would be worse for IT and Technology in this country.

Re:Not with Juliar at the helm... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40524851)

Because the Liberals (Conservatives) were blameless when they agreed to the US Free Trade Agreement that shoehorned US patent and copyright "treaties" into our body of Law.

On the whole, IP law in Australia was less restrictive after those changes.

Prior to 2006, for example, you couldn't format-shift music (eg: to rip CDs you owned into MP3s for your iPod) and recording just about anything off TV was copyright infringement.

Re:Not with Juliar at the helm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40525917)

It didn't require bending over for the USA to implement those changes. You can't justify the horror of the FTA on that basis.

Re:Not with Juliar at the helm... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40525973)

It didn't require bending over for the USA to implement those changes. You can't justify the horror of the FTA on that basis.

Well, arguably it did given how long home video recorders and personal audio devices were around before Copyright was appropriately modified.

However, that's moot. At no point did I try to "justify" the FTA, so take your straw man elsewhere.

Re:Not with Juliar at the helm... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40525529)

Conjob doesn't deserve his job

Due to having to deal with Telstra the Communications Ministry is seen as a punishment post, which is why it has been populated by a string of useless arseholes and why Conroy's enemies in government are convinced that the bastard does deserve the job. Hopefully, now that Telstra isn't being run by a complete psychopath at war with government and shareholders, we'll eventually see a communications minister with enough appreciation of technical matters to be able to operate a toaster, and enough integrity to take responsibility for delays instead of calling press conferences to claim a lesbian cabal is out to sabotage the NBN (Conroy about 3 years back - and no I'm not making that one up, it was about two lawyers that happened to be female taking time to scrutinise contracts).

ACTA & TPP (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#40523925)

the committee has until November 30th, 2013 to create their report.

The scope of the inquiry will include the impact of legislative solutions and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations and government reviews and their recommendations, such as the Convergence Review.

Just in time for ACTA (without the EU) and TPP to be finalized. How convenient.

International Obligations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40524909)

The scope of the inquiry will include the impact of legislative solutions and their consistency with Australia’s international obligations and government reviews and their recommendations, such as the Convergence Review.

Just in time for ACTA (without the EU) and TPP to be finalized. How convenient.

Indeed. The politicians are a lot of cowards, too scared to try to advance their schemes to the public on their own merits. Instead they sign treaties such as ACTA and TPP behind closed doors and soon after begin to run about all Shocked and Alarmed that their country isn't living up to its so-called obligations.

Last month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40524629)

Last month, Hilary Clinton visited Australia and signed some secret deals with our politicians. The government has already admitted they're giving the US a proper military base in this country: Not just listening posts and R&D sites. Given the ACTA being pushed through parliaments of other nations, it's not difficult to imagine who those deals benefited. This is just the process required to change the law so their masters are happy. 'International obligations' is a weasel word.

"Fair Use rights expanded" (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#40525791)

How do I get to this universe of yours? Sounds like a lovely place.

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