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April 17, 2024

Copyright amendments to clarify remote learning rules

On 11 April 2024, the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, KC MP announced that the Government will introduce amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 to make clear that existing rules for use of copyright materials in the classroom also apply when lessons are delivered online. 

The proposed changes are the result of a collaborative process through the Copyright Roundtables held last year where all stakeholders, including the ASA, agreed that section 28 of the Copyright Act (which relates to the performance of a copyright work in the classroom) should apply to either a physical or virtual classroom. The impetus for this discussion was heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic when learning moved online. 

The proposed amendments will also make clear that parents and guardians can assist students in lessons, and individuals and organisations can make presentations to a class in which copyright material is used.

The ASA supports these changes, which are intended to clarify how we understand remote learning arrangements have always operated. Read the Attorney-General’s media release.

Next on the reform agenda is further consultation on the design of a proposed Australian ‘orphan works’ scheme. Orphan works are copyright works for which it is not possible to identify or find the copyright owner. We know that many of our members may have encountered difficulties securing copyright permission to reproduce extracts of ‘orphan works’ due to fruitless searches for the owner, particularly owners who are deceased. 

The ASA is supportive of the introduction of a new orphan works scheme, provided that the obligation of diligent searching is clear and if a copyright owner is later found, that person is entitled to reasonable compensation. 

We look forward to providing input on the design of a proposed Australian orphan works scheme, and will update our members with more developments as they arise.