[LINK] sharing e-mail banned by law - 5 years jail or
Mon, 05 Mar 2001 09:51:35 +1000
At 08:41 AM 5/03/2001, Richard Chirgwin wrote:
>I wonder if the original opinion was fully informed ...
It would appear not. See attached release from the A-G.
The Hon. Daryl Williams AM QC MP
4 March 2001
E-MAIL AND COPYRIGHT LAW
Contrary to alarmist media reports, sharing e-mail is not banned by law.
Amendments to the Copyright Act that came into effect today do not outlaw
the practice of forwarding personal e-mails to other people. That would be
The Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act updates copyright law to
ensure it provides the same protections in an electronic environment as
exist in a hard copy environment. For example, musicians whose music is
distributed online without their permission will be able to take action to
stop it, in the same way they can if pirate CDs are sold over the counter.
Forwarding a personal e-mail is unlikely to breach copyright laws. A court
would need to find that the contents of the e-mail were an "original
literary work". For example, if the e-mail was simply a joke that everyone
had been re-hashing for years, it is doubtful it would have the necessary
originality to be protected by copyright. Similarly, a casual exchange of
personal information or office gossip would probably not be original enough
to have copyright in it.
The Digital Agenda Act brings copyright law into the electronic age. It is
an important reform that will further protect the rights of musicians,
artists, writers, film makers and other creators of original works. It will
also continue to allow users, especially libraries and educational
institutions, reasonable access to copyright material through new
communications technologies. It will not impose hefty penalties on everyday
users of personal e-mail.