By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Copyright Future Copyright Freedom
Edited by Brian Fitzgerald and Benedict Atkinson (Sydney University Press, $40.00, paperback, 254 pages)
The papers which comprise this book were presented at the ‘Copyright Future Copyright Freedom’ conference that was held at Old Parliament House, Canberra, in May 2009.
Marking the 40th anniversary of the commencement of Australia’s Copyright Act 1968, the conference sought to place the issues in copyright law in both their historical and contemporary contexts.
It encouraged informed debate, a constructive clash of opinions and stimulated bold and inventive thinking. That’s why this book is valuable: all the proceedings are in this collection, with positives and negatives, working towards one common goal – helping to encourage consideration of law reform, both at international and national level.
The conference brought together Lawrence Lessig, Julie Cohen, Leslie Zines, Adrian Sterling, Sam Ricketson, Graham Greenleaf, Anne Fitzgerald, Susy Frankel, John Gilchrist, Michael Kirby and others to share the “rich fruits of their experience and analysis”. Zines, Sterling and Gilchrist outline their roles in the genesis and early growth of Australian copyright legislation.
In his opening speech at the conference two years ago, the then Attorney-General Robert McLelland spoke of the interesting times for copyright policy.
The former Attorney-General, Nigel Bowen, had introduced the Bill into Parliament in 1967. Its “practical and economic importance” is still relevant today.
Copyright Future Copyright Freedom has lots of merit. In it, former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Justice Michael Kirby, surveys the current debates on copyright law and intellectual property from an international and human rights law perspective, highlighting the daunting challenges to copyright law.
Conference convenor, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, rightly says that: “In an era where information flow is seen as a key ingredient to social and economic lie, we need to shape a copyright law that accommodates social practices and builds prosperity on the back of dissemination”.
Professor Adrian Sterling, who is one of Australia’s most distinguished copyright law scholars, has set out a list of important current and future issues and a proposal for global internet licensing.
Principles and values of copyright should be continuously examined - worldwide.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.