Copyright and the U.S. Free Trade Agreement

Canberra: The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC) today released a Statement of Principles in respect of Australia's commitments in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

"The Statement of Principles sets important standards for Australia's commitments under the Free Trade Agreement, " said Tom Cochrane, Chair of the ALCC "The implementation of FTA obligations may disturb the balance in our current copyright regime"

The Statement of Principles urges policy makers to adopt a balanced approach in finalising the terms of the Agreement and in the implementation of any amending legislation. These include consideration of:

  • the public interest basis for the creation of copyright
  • Australia's cultural and legal history
  • The balancing function of "fair dealing" exceptions
  • The limited term of copyright protection
  • The special needs of libraries, archives and educational institutions

The Australia- United States Free Trade Agreement was concluded on February 7th and the text of the agreement is anticipated in the next two weeks. If the requisite approval processes for the Agreement are satisfied without delay, comprehensive changes to Australia's copyright laws may be made within 18 months.

The Statement of Principles can be found on the ALCC ( and ADA website (

Contact: Miranda Lee 
Executive Officer 
Ph 02 6262 1273

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