Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Changes to Australian copyright law

This year has seen important changes in copyright to strengthen creative protections, promote greater access and simplify copyright duration.

2018 marks 50 years since the passage of the Copyright Act 1968. Copyright plays a very important role in our markets and communities, and we've been working hard to update Australia's copyright law for the future. 

Strengthening powers to fight piracy

Online piracy has a serious impact on our creative industries. New laws give copyright owners greater options to fight copyright infringement.
Owners seeking injunctions in the Federal Court can now target a broader range of infringing websites and quickly and effectively block proxy and mirror sites that reproduce this content.

The Court can also order search engines to demote or remove search results for infringing sites.

The laws came into force on 11 December 2018 and will help protect our creative industries.

Promoting greater protection and access

From 29 December 2018, the safe harbour scheme will be extended to our educational, cultural and disability sectors.

The scheme provides sectors with protection from legal liability where they can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to reduce copyright infringement on their online systems.

These changes will help nearly 9,500 primary and secondary schools and 41 universities across Australia to confidently provide digital services to their 3.5 million school and more than 1.3 million higher education students.

Simplifying and harmonising copyright duration

From 1 January 2019, new standard terms of copyright protection will apply to works, sound recordings and films that are not made public before 1 January 2019, or that are created or made public on or after 1 January 2019. The changes will simplify and harmonise duration terms for these materials.

If you own the copyright for any unpublished material you may wish to consider publishing, or otherwise making your material public, before 1 January 2019. This may give you a longer copyright term in some circumstances as the current duration rules will apply.

New Copyright Protection Terms. From 1 January 2019 - Works (literary, dramatic or musical) - 70 years after authors death. Works with unknown author – 70 years after making or 70 years after first made public (if within 50 years of making). Sound and film recording – 70 years after making or 70 years after first made public (if within 50 years of making). Crown (Commonwealth, State or Territory) – 50 years after making

If you’d like to talk to someone about these changes you can contact our Copyright team.