In Australia, the Department of Communications and the Arts is currently considering a Bill to update copyright law.
The aim is to introduce some minor simplifications and modernisations to the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) to help the disability, education, libraries and archives sectors operate in the digital environment. For the education sector, the changes would simplify the use of copyright material by removing many of the current complex provisions around the copying and communication of copyright works for educational purposes, replacing them with a simplified test to protect the interests of copyright owners.
The change doesn’t include all the changes suggested by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in their 2014 report which proposed the introduction of either Fair Use or Fair Dealing for Education. However; this small simplification of the statutory educational licences could be one step towards improved flexibility for educational institutions operating in the online environment.
Australian universities have just been ranked second in the Times Higher Education World’s Most International Universities 2016 so a more flexible copyright law should help Australian institutions as they expand their role in the global market.