Planned copyright changes facilitate 21st century learning

CSA welcomes today’s announcement by the Government of its planned changes to copyright law to support remote and distance learning in Australian schools.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted a serious issue where Australia’s current copyright laws do not technically allow many of the activities that teachers need to do to provide remote learning to Australian students. The proposed changes announced by the Government will ensure that schools are able to continue to provide high quality teaching to students without exposing schools and teachers to unnecessary legal risks. 

The Government’s plans to ensure that schools can rely on the ‘special cases’ exception where required, to enable reasonable uses of copyright material that do not impact on creators’ commercial interests, are helpful.  This is particularly so in times of regional and national crisis. 

Today’s announcement also signals positive intentions by the Government to solve other long-standing issues with the Copyright Act, including: 

  • Enabling schools and teachers to take advantage of contemporary teaching practices, including ensuring that teachers can use copyright materials in all forms of teaching, whether a lesson happens in a classroom or online.
  • Ensuring that educational exceptions no longer “stop at the school gates”, and copyright exceptions can also take place outside of the school premises.
  • Providing better support for remote learning and online learning as well as improving administrative efficiencies.

CSA appreciates the Government’s planned consultation on these important issues. Copyright laws should no longer make distinctions between whether teachers and students are in a classroom, learning at home via Zoom, or accessing lessons on-demand.

These reforms will be an important step to ensuring Australia’s schooling system is appropriate for the digital age.

CSA looks forward to these changes being introduced into Parliament as a priority given the ongoing need for remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.