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Is Australia keeping up with the global copyright debate?

How has the internet affected intellectual property?

The internet has impacted business models worldwide and has significantly changed the way copyright law operates. A new report details just that, looking at how intellectual property has affected developed economies. 

This topic is not new to Australian society, with many prominent figures weighing in on how the internet influences copyright infringement. 

What impact does the internet have on protecting intellectual property?

A new report has been released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that looks into the economic impact of intellectual property. 

The study, Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact, emphasises the importance of knowledge-based capital to a country's economy. 

Digitalisation has radically altered economies, with firms investing in innovation at higher rates than physical capital, such as machinery, equipment and buildings. In light of this change, the report looks at how various countries have responded, including Australia.

The growth of the internet transformed Australian industries by introducing new ways of purchasing products and experiencing services. The emergence of platforms such as Netflix showed that consumers will pay for a convenient and legal option.

According to the OCED report, Australia was able to embrace faster broadband along with the digital change of business models. With legal limits ensuring intellectual property is protected, innovation is more likely to flourish. 

Relative to the other countries discussed in the report, the OECD states that Australia's debate surrounding copyright law was more advanced. As our discussion is not new and received attention from public figures and experts in their fields, the conversation is well and truly part of our civil society.

Australia relatively ahead in global discussion

In June this year, then Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill and continued the debate surrounding the legislation. 

"The internet has been a very positive development, with profound social, educational and economic benefits," said Mr Turnbull.

"But it has also caused some people to treat all content online as something that they are entitled to access for free, regardless of the views or the rights of the owner."

Mr Turnbull acknowledged that the legislation should not be considered as a solution to digital copyright infringement. Nevertheless, the direction of this issue can be viewed as a substantial contribution to protecting intellectual property. 

The OECD study confirms that the global conversation surrounding digital disruption is reflected in Australia's copyright law debate. In order to encourage innovation, Australia needs to keep having these discussions. Patent registration and design protection are key aspects in keeping our economy moving forward. 

For advice on the best way to protect your innovation, contact the copyright lawyers at Alder IP.