The final, official version of the Copyright Amendment bill has now been released. Misleadingly titled press release here. At a measley 219 pages, there is no way that this bill makes copyright ‘more flexible’. In certain key respects, which I’ve commented on in the past, it takes away flexibility.

The bill includes:

  1. The TPM Amendments (the OzDMCA, or new anti-circumvention laws) – material that I’ve discussed
  2. The new copyright exceptions (outcomes of the iPod inquiry)
  3. The new copyright enforcement provisions; and
  4. Some stuff on signal piracy/pay television; and
  5. Some stuff on the Copyright Tribunal.

It is only now that we can see, altogether, the whole unholy complicated mess that this piece of legislation is. Just wait until you see the next edition of the consolidated Copyright Act.

The whole bill has been referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Submissions are due 30 October; the Committee will report by 10 November (and we assume, the Bill will pass in substantially unamended form shortly thereafter).

Information about the committee process can be found here.

Unfortunately, the Parliamentary Bills website’s permalinks are useless, which makes it practically impossible to give you a link to the Bill. To get the bill, what you need to do is:

  1. go to BillsNet, which is here
  2. Click on current bills, either by TITLE (and go to the copyright Amendment Bill 2006) or BY PORTFOLIO and go to the AG’s portfolio.

I’m really not sure that I will be making any kind of submission, given the timetables etc, and given the extreme apparent unlikelihood that anything that gets submitted to a committee turning around a bill that technical, that big and that complicated, that fast. However, my collected thoughts on the bill are, of course readily available due to the wonders of the web. I’ve collected a set of links on my comments over the fold.

On anti-circumvention law, I’ve discussed already:

  1. the basic shape of the bill here, including issues of region-coding,
  2. the implications for consumers here (including more on region coding),
  3. whether the bill addresses cases like Lexmark (printer cartridges) here, and
  4. the issues of interoperability and the impact of these laws on interoperability here (summary: the provisions on interoperability may well be useless).

Interestingly, though, the government has changed the definition of access control TPM from that in the exposure draft. This will have some impact on my comments on region-coding and Skylink. Will have to think through implications of that… Unfortunately, they do not appear to have fixed the interoperability issue.

On the copyright exceptions:

  1. I’ve analysed the Exposure Draft here, and
  2. I’ve discussed the basic idea of including the three step test in legislation here (summary: it’s appalling) and
  3. I’ve discussed why iPods aren’t allowed under this legislation here.

On the copyright enforcement provisions, I’ve discussed why the bill is going to make quite a lot of ordinary Australians criminal, and subject to strict liability to fines) here.

If anyone has any specific questions about the Bill, I’d be happy to answer them – email me, or comment on this post.