How will copyright law react to online challenges?
The rise of digital culture has provided plenty of challenges for a number of regulations, but none more so than copyright laws.
What once seemed clear-cut has been muddled by a number of concerns that are unique to the online sphere. Rights of ownership in particular have been put to the test by a world that can so easily duplicate files and other content.
For copyright and patent owners, this can be a bit of a worry. How can you be sure that your content is safe in the digital space and won't be ripped off by less reputable users?
The federal government prepares regulatory changes
Thankfully, these concerns are in the process of being put to rest by a draft bill that is set to tighten up online copyright infringement. Provided there are no more changes before it is passed, the bill will allow copyright owners to apply to have overseas online locations blocked if they are found to be illegally hosting content.
These applications will mostly target carriage service providers (CSPs) – essentially, people who allow access to the content. In the event that they are providing this access illegally, an injunction can now be sought.
However, if the bill is passed it won't allow content owners to simply block content at will, as a number of conditions have to be met before it will be considered by the courts.
One of the main criteria is whether or not the infringement can be obviously considered illegal use of copyrighted material. If so, content owners can apply for its removal.
The courts will also need to assess if the CSP in question provides other users with the means to infringe. This could include indexing the content, therefore allowing it to be accessed illegally.
Concerned intellectual property owners must also be aware that the content has to be hosted outside of Australia to be considered by the courts as of the current state of the bill.