To the Copyright Act in 2003
Recent amendments to the
Copyright Act have had a positive effect on anti-piracy activities.
The amendments fall under the following broad categories:
- Improvements to provisions relating to proof of subsistence and
ownership of copyright;
- Extension of the jurisdiction of the Federal Magistrates Court;
- Increases in criminal penalties to $71,500 per offence for individuals
and $357,500 per offence for corporations;
- Additional damages criteria; and
- The offence of advertising for the supply in Australia of infringing
copies of computer programs has been extended and will now apply
to all copyright material, including sound recordings.
By extending civil jurisdiction
for copyright matters to the Federal Magistrates' Court, the amendments
provide copyright owners with a quicker and more convenient forum
in which to conduct smaller and more straightforward copyright infringement
The creation of this jurisdiction
has already enabled our members to conduct quite a number of copyright
actions more cost effectively.
There has been an extension
of the criteria under the Act that authorises the court in civil proceedings
to award additional damages to those damages proven in any proceedings
for copyright infringement. Specifically the court must now take into
- The need to deter similar infringements of copyright; and
- The conduct of the defendant after the act constituting the infringement.
The first of these is particularly
useful as it allows copyright owners to file evidence in relation
to the impact of piracy on the industry more generally and the need
for the courts to award damages having regard to that impact.
As a package, these recent
amendments to the Copyright Act are enormously beneficial to the ongoing
fight against piracy. The most significant benefit relates to the
proof of subsistence and ownership of copyright in both criminal and
The recent amendments also
allow these facts to be established on a prima facie basis using the
relevant copyright labels, marks, certificates and or "P" lines. In
the absence of any evidence (or any persuasive evidence to the contrary),
the labels, marks, certificates and or "P" lines will be sufficient
evidence to prove the relevant facts.
These measures streamline
evidentiary requirements resulting in substantial savings in terms
of both time and money. They will, in effect, allow the industry to
apply anti-piracy funds far more cost effectively.
For details of how to appropriately
use the "P" line and safeguard copyright in your recordings,
please download the attached