One of the excellent things about running Copyright Week—and there were many—is that copyright activists around the world gave some top-level overviews about what is going on in their countries. Two of my favorite came from regions where copyright reform has been long promised but yet to materialize: Australia and Brazil.
Here’s what’s going on in Australia:
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has now delivered its final report on Copyright to the government. Current copyright exceptions have not kept pace with the digital world, and don’t adequately protect important internet-related activities such as caching or cloud computing. From a consumer perspective, sharing photos (when you don’t own the copyright) on sites such as Facebook and Tumblr is off-limits – unless you have permission from the rights-holder. Or, in a professional context, you can watch a video on YouTube, but you can’t include it in a presentation to colleagues at work, or for a conference. (Check out other examples of how Australia’s current copyright law is out of touch at the Australian Digital Alliance’s #copywrong site.)
The Attorney-General announced in December that the ALRC recommended “the introduction of a flexible fair-use exception as a defence to copyright infringement”, similar to that in place in the US.
…what is most troubling about the future ahead is that the entire copyright reform process could lose considerable momentum in 2014. A lot was already lost during 2013, considering civil society has turned its focus to Marco Civil. On top of that, the Snowden leaks and the upcoming Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, to be held in São Paulo, have turned copyright into a secondary concern. Privacy and surveillance seem to have taken the front stage.
It’s great to follow copyright around the world, especially as deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership threaten to export laws from all different countries. So it’s nice to have people in these countries laying out what’s happening on the ground there.