Friday, March 04, 2011

Righting the Copyright Imbalance

Greetings from "Policy Form: Righting the Copyright Imbalance", 4 at the National Library of Australia, in Canberra. This is a one day event organised by the Australian Digital Alliance, which is in effect a lobby group of libraries and educational institutions worried that publishers will limit their access to digital materials. The ANU is a member of the ADA, so I took the opportunity to come along and find out about the issues, but I don't know if the ANU has a position, nor am I here to put that position.

The title of the forum is ‘righting the imbalance of copyright law’, which clearly pits the ADA's position. There is Background Information for the forum and a list of ADA Submissions with details. The first speaker is Helen Daniels from the Attorney-General's Department. She has set the scene by mentioning the numerous international copyright agreements which limit what Australia can do. There are also legal disputes under-way which might require legislative intervention. There are also Australian Government initiatives still being bedding in, such as the decision to release government documents under a Creative Commons licence.

I am not a lawyer, nor a copyright specialist, more someone who helped create the problem by fostering use of electronic publishing. It is interesting to see how some of the consequences of this technology, which has been under development for decades, are still being worked out.

At question time the issue of the government use of creative commons was raised. In my view there is a problem for the government caused by the Attorney General's Department failure to finalise guidelines on its use. This is of interest as I am running a course for public servants on how to implement such policies (COMP7420: Electronic Document and Records Management). In the absence of clear guidelines, I will have to get the students to write them.

I will make further postings as the day progresses.

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

The podcasts and PowerPoint slides are now available for the Policy Form: Righting the Copyright Imbalance, by Australian Digital Alliance, National Library of Australia, in Canberra, 4 March 2011