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Law dean to head copyright inquiry

Law dean to head copyright inquiry

The dean of law at the University of Technology, Sydney, Professor Jill McKeough, has been hired as Commissioner in charge of the ALRC's inquiry into copyright law

The dean of law at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Professor Jill McKeough, has been hired as Commissioner in charge of the ALRC's inquiry into copyright law.

The Attorney-General Nicola Roxon announced McKeough’s appointment to the inquiry which will require the ALRC to consult widely on controversial areas of copyright law in the digital environment and suggest strategies for improvement.

In his keynote address to the 15th Biennial Copyright Symposium in October last year, the recently departed Attorney-General Robert McClelland confirmed his intention to provide the ALRC with a reference on copyright law.

“The inquiry will seek a review of whether the exceptions in the Copyright Act are adequate and appropriate in the digital environment. Currently the Copyright Act has general exceptions to the rules regarding infringement of copyright. These include: fair dealing, the 10 per cent rule and private copying when format-shifting, time-shifting or for special purposes,” said McClelland.

“There are also specific exceptions such as allowing the making of a copy of a computer program resulting from the process of normal use of the program or for back-up purposes. However, in a fast changing, technologically driven world it is vital for us to see whether existing statute is appropriate and whether it can be improved.”

Professor McKeough is a highly regarded academic, researcher and writer with a special focus on intellectual property, including copyright, designs, patents, trademarks, confidential information, biotechnology and indigenous cultural heritage.

ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher said McKeough’s in-depth knowledge and experience in the area will be invaluable in traversing “this complex area of law".

Professor McKeough will take leave from her position at UTS for the duration of the inquiry. She said she was looking forward to contributing to the ALRC as it undertakes this “important inquiry which raises complex and challenging issues for both creators and users of copyright material”.

The ALRC expects to receive final terms of reference once the Government's process of consultation on the draft Terms is completed by the end of March.

The ALRC will publish a regular e-newsletter with news and updates throughout the inquiry. People can subscribe here.

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