Copyright Enforcement Review
The Intellectual Property Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (the Committee) provided a submission to the Attorney-General's Department in response to the Copyright Enforcement Review: Issues Paper.
The Committee further welcomes the recognition in the Issues Paper of the importance of ensuring that Australia’s copyright laws protect Australian artists and allow them to earn a living from their creative efforts.
The announcement of this review emphasised the importance of protecting artist incomes from ‘theft or leakage’. Given that emphasis, we note that copyright infringement is not the only way in which creative workers face difficulties in enforcing their rights. They also face well-documented struggles to find out how their works are being used, what revenues are generated, and how their share of those revenues is calculated. These difficulties can arise in their relationships with those who invest in their work (such as record labels, or book and music publishers) as well as those who simply distribute their work (eg, Amazon for ebooks, Audible for audiobooks, Spotify for music streaming, and YouTube for online video). The European Union has sought to address these issues with its 2019 Digital Single Market Directive, which requires member states to give artists and performers various new rights, including rights to transparency on the above matters. We encourage consideration of such mechanisms for Australia, to help ensure creative workers can enforce their rights.