Hard News by Russell Brown


Copyright Amendment Bill latest

The select committee report on the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers' Rights) Amendment Bill has landed. It's a mixed bag.

The copyright lobby has been largely disappointed in its bid to hamper the use of digital copies by libraries and archives.

Technical protection measures retain their exalted position under the proposed law, and the committee appears to have had little time for arguments to the contrary. The main change proposed is that you won't have to contact the copyright holder before you can take your DRM'd CD to one of those "qualified persons" who will help you exercise your permitted act.

And, further:

We also recommend inserting new section 226E(4) to ensure that such persons cannot charge unreasonably high fees for such assistance. We recommend the addition of a new regulation-making power in new section 226D(3)(d) that allows the Governor-General to specify persons as qualified persons by Order in Council.

Which sounds mildly farcical.

The format-shifting exception for music will be slightly extended so that you can use a copy made by a person in your household, rather than, as had been the case in the original text, obliging everyone in the house to rip their own CDs. You'll have to delete your digital copy if you part company with the original CD. The sunset clause is gone. And the committee wants the bill amended "to make it clearer that copyright owners always have the option of contracting out of all of the permitted acts."

(Perhaps they should be required to post a prominent warning on the front of the CD -- YOU MAY NOT COPY THIS MUSIC TO YOUR IPOD -- and see how that strikes the consumer.)

Any other comments?

Anyway, got stuff to do, but you may wish to take in The Simpsons on Drugs: The 6 Trippiest Scenes. If, of course, you can bear to embrace such a flagrant breach of copyright.

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