The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) recently released an exposure draft of proposed amendments to the Australian Copyright Act provisions dealing with technological protection measures (TPM). These amendments are designed to implement Australia’s final commitments under the United States Free Trade Agreement, which require Australia to significantly tighten its legal protection of TPMs. The new laws must be in place by 1 January 2007.

As part of the release AGD called for public submissions to be provided by 22 September. Researchers from IP:KCE and associated projects worked collaboratively on a submission regarding the proposed amendments.

Overall, the draft legislation is better than expected; however, it includes few safeguards to prevent copyright owners from using TPMs to extend their control in the digital environment. It remains to be seen whether the Government will make any changes based upon the public feedback.

At the same time as the exposure draft was released, the Government also called for submissions as part of a separate review of additional exceptions to the TPM provisions that are to be included in the regulations. The initial submissions for the exceptions review (but not the broader TPM provisions) are published online, and reply comments are invited on these submissions.

Australian TPM Review

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