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Intellectual property (IP) arrangement changes recommended by Australia’s Productivity Commission

Action must be taken to rebalance intellectual property (IP) arrangements, according to a draft report released by Australia’s Productivity Commission.

The report concludes that a good IP system balances the interests of rights holders and users, but that Australia’s system has swung too far in favour of vocal rights holders and influential IP exporting nations.

Copyright is also questioned:

Copyright is important for rewarding creative endeavour. But in Australia, it is more a case of ‘copy(not)right’. Copyright is pervasive, affecting everyone from hip hop artists sampling music, school children watching a documentary in class, libraries and museums preserving Australia’s history, to innovative researchers accessing databases for data mining.

Copyright protection lasts too long — a book written today by an author who lives for another 50 years will be protected until 2136.

The Productivity Commission argues that to correct these imbalances, Australia needs a new, principles-based, fair use exception, to protect user rights without undermining the incentive to create.

The Commission is inviting submissions on the draft report by 3 June 2016 and will hold public hearings in June.

An overview of the draft report infographic.

Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine ( and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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