[NetBehaviour] New Copyright Laws Risk Criminalising Everyday Australians.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Nov 21 10:10:22 CET 2006

New Copyright Laws Risk Criminalising Everyday Australians.

The Internet Industry Association today warned that changes to 
Australia’s copyright laws being rushed through Parliament risked making 
criminals out of everyday Australians.

The IIA which represents a broad range of internet businesses in 
Australia, in conjunction with the QUT Law Faculty Intellectual Property 
Research Program, has identified a number of scenarios which could trip 
up Australians in their everyday use of copyrighted materials.

Said IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos: “We can’t be sure if this is 
the government's intent, or whether there has been a terrible oversight 
in the drafting of this Bill. Either way, the consequences for the 
average Australian family could be devastating.”

“As an example,” said Mr Coroneos, “a family who holds a birthday picnic 
in a place of public entertainment (for example, the grounds of a zoo) 
and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ in a manner that can be heard by others, 
risks an infringement notice carrying a fine of up to $1320. If they 
make a video recording of the event, they risk a further fine for the 
possession of a device for the purpose of making an infringing copy of a 
song. And if they go home and upload the clip to the internet where it 
can be accessed by others, they risk a further fine of up to $1320 for 
illegal distribution. All in all, possible fines of up to $3960 for this 
series of acts – and the new offences do not require knowledge or 
improper intent. Just the doing of the acts is enough to ground a legal 
liability under the new ‘strict liability’ offences.”



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