Australians oblivious to copyright law

MANY thousands of Australians are breaching copyright laws and probably don't know they are doing it, consumer organisation Choice reports.

A survey of 1000 people found that the proportion of tablet and smartphone users who were breaching copyright by copying music or videos they own onto their devices was as high as 14%. Choice has provided the research to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Copyright Inquiry with a call to bring Australia's copyright laws into the 21st century.

Campaigns and communications director Matt Levey said Australian law allowed a song a person had purchased to be copied on to one device but not two.

"That's exactly what 8% of Australians who answered our survey say they have done in the past year," Mr Levey said. "It's also illegal to copy a video file, say from a DVD, onto another device like a tablet, but that has not stopped 9% of Australians who say they have done it."

Choice is campaigning to have the copyright system upgraded with a "fair use" approach allowed.

"Governments can talk all they like about encouraging innovation, but when some of the biggest digital breakthroughs coming out of places like Silicon Valley aren't even legal in Australia, it shows we need to fast forward our way to fair use," Mr Levey said.


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