[LINK] On the stupidity of Australians
Mon, 5 Mar 2001 11:15:05 +1100
As someone, Bruce I think said, these laws (the DA Act) are not unique to
Australia. They're very much part of 'international harmonisation' and are
primarily driven by US copyright industry interests.
So our laws are not radically different from those overseas. It's just that
we appear to be ahead of the pack in developing them. The US got there first
and the European Union is dragging its feet. I don't think Canada has
updated it's copyright laws yet and as we know there are only four or five
countries in the whole world... So we look idiots for doing something the
whole human race (by way of its appointed leaders) is contemplating... But
that is no defense of course
Regarding the AG's reassuring words, his spin is as bad as the original
Contrary to alarmist media reports, sharing e-mail is not banned by
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 ridiculous.
>> Well of course not, making something an infringement of copyright
does not 'outlaw' it. That would be ridiculous. He's on safe ground here by
misstating the argument.
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.
>> I find this argument to very weak. The level of originality
required for copyright to subsist in a literary work is very low. Copyright
almosty certainly would subsist in a re-hashed joke or office gossip. It's
just that the 'rehasher' would not own copyright, the original author would.
>> And of course people forward material other than office gossip
all the time such as interesting articles from online newspapers in which
(i) copyright clearly subsists and (ii) has a commercial value.
>> Better response to the alarmism would be: (a) you infringe
copyright when you forward an email now and you haven't been sued yet. (b)
it is almost never worth suing someone over an such an act of copying
because it just isn't worth it (and attracts bad publicity) and (c) people
who write email often impliedly licence on-sending.
But the potential is there (as unlikely as it will normally be) and
the defences provided by the law are not exactly clothed in certainty. (For
that matter, nor is the AG's defence: you can feel safe forwarding someone's
email because it is probably not a literary work in which copyright
subsists... How safe would you feel using that argument?)
Executive Officer :: Australian Digital Alliance
Copyright Advisor :: Australian Libraries Copyright Committee
PO Box E202 \\ Kingston ACT 2604
Ph: 02 6262 1273 \\ Fax: 02 6273 2545
Email: email@example.com \\ Web: www.digital.org.au