The digital economy is experiencing rapid growth driven by broadband penetration; parallel computing power and storage capacity continue to grow. These developments contribute to the emergence of global markets content for the benefit of rights holders, but also create a new threat – copyright, which could seriously harm the creative industries.
The intellectual property rights are central to share innovations, stimulate creativity and strengthen consumer confidence. But the digital world is in a new challenge – how to find a good balance in a context where the consumer and creator merge, where the marginal cost of copying is zero, where it is extremely difficult to enforce existing legislation and where many consider the access free as a right.
A recent report from the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) raised concerns that Australian copyright laws could be stunning the country’s growth of cloud computing market.
The report titled “Copyright and the Digital Economy,” highlights the potential for new and emerging cloud computing services to infringe copyright, or enable their customers to infringe copyright.
With the reference to copyright case of the Optus TV Now service, the report noted that if the court verdict doesn’t go Optus way, it could suspend users to watch football marches on AFL (Australian Football League), the NRL (National Rugby League) and Australian mobile device provider Telstra.
Optus TV Now allows mobile users to record and playback free-to-air TV contents on their smartphones. This was objected by football associations, since Optus TV would store match coverage data on their cloud infrastructure. This may create obstacle for other cloud providers to enter the Australian market.
“The questions we are asking in this inquiry go to whether our current copyright laws are properly aiding the development of opportunities for Australian creators and not unduly hindering the development of new business models, while at the same time ensuring appropriate protection for copyright,” the ALRC commissioner for the copyright inquiry, professor Jill McKeough, said in a statement. “At the same time, the expectations of a global community to access and use material for a whole range of creative, community, educative and commercial purposes also needs to be considered.”
The issue of copyright is also relevant to digital technologies, including business models and companies that rely on them. ALRC is keen to check the opinions from the general public about whether Australia’s copyright law is hindering cloud-computing services, and whether changes need to be made to accommodate technology sector.
A revised term for “Copyright and the Digital Economy” could lead to extensive and balance between the rights of copyright owners with the interests of new content services and the public in promoting the digital economy.