Creative industries welcomed revisions drafted in democratic freedom, the advancement of the digital age and the 2011 Copyright Review Commission’s valuable advice for negotiating this new landscape. However, artists across the board were confused and disappointed by the Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament.
A particularly jarring and unprecedented inclusion in the bills is “user rights”, which means that unauthorised commercial use of a composition could not only be permissible but that infringing parties could be liable to share in licensing and royalty earnings.
Following protests by creative industries and the legal profession, Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry fortunately realised that this was unacceptable.
The term “user rights” is used in tandem with “fair use”. In its present form, the bills allow the public to use copyrighted works in an open-ended and wholly unspecified way.