Policy Proposal – Copyright safe harbour

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Under the current copyright regime, companies that host content online may be found liable for the copyright infringement of their users (known as ‘authorisation liability’). The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Copyright Act) establishes that copyright is infringed if someone ‘authorises’ another to copy or make available a copyright-protected work.

This situation creates an unreasonable operational risk for businesses which host content from a large user base – in particular, online marketplaces and platforms. Local businesses such as RedBubble, Envato and 99designs which host user-submitted designs and creations are either at risk of or have a history of legal action directed at them for alleged copyright breaches committed by an individual user – even win cases where they removed infringing material as soon as they were notified.

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