Copyright amendment to ensure social media platforms and search engines no longer covered by safe harbour in Australia

Search engines and social media platforms excluded from safe harbour in new legislation lobbied by CISAC

Australia took a positive step for creative and cultural sectors in a new Copyright Amendment Bill introduced by the Australian Federal Government on December 6th. The Bill ensures that search engines and social media platforms area not covered by safe harbour legislation, a boost for the transfer of value campaign internationally.  The development lays supportive groundwork for the current Copyright Directive proposal in the European Union, which seeks to limit applying safe harbour to online platforms that play an active role in the communication of copyright-protected content.

CISAC sent submissions to Australian government authorities in advance of the Bill’s introduction, expressing the confederation’s concerns about any inappropriate extension of the safe harbour regime in Australia.

The amendment broadens the scope of safe harbour use to include service providers in disability, educational, library, archival and cultural sectors,  in addition to the current beneficiaries (i.e. carriage service providers). Under the new provisions the additional beneficiaries are protected from legal liability if they apply an effective “notice and take down system” and are able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to deal with copyright infringement by users of online platforms.

The bill is to be referred to the Senate Legislation Committee before passage. Read this memo for further details on the bill.

CISAC member APRA AMCOS has a released a statement welcoming the safe harbour reform.