The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has recently become concerned that Australian copyright law might not provide adequate protection for the public domain in the digital environment. They have decided to approach a number of legal experts and stakeholders for their views.
The Department has asked you to prepare a briefing paper that includes all of the following:
- A clear definition of the ‘public domain’ and your view as to the most persuasive reason for ensuring a robust public domain;
- Your recommendation of one reform that could be made to Australian copyright law that would improve the protection of the public domain without unduly compromising the interests of creators and the creative industries;
- A justification for your recommendation that includes an explanation of:
(i) why the reform is needed;
(ii) why your suggested reform is the bestoption over any alternative possibilities; and (iii) why you think that it does not unduly compromise the interests of creators and the creative industries.
From a stylistic point of view, it is important to bear in mind the needs of your audience. The best answers will be tightly focussed on the brief. They will be clearly written, concise, precise, well supported and persuasively argued.
Whilst you must address all aspects of the brief, most attention should be devoted to parts (b) and (c). You will need to include a thorough discussion and critical analysis of the aspect of copyright law to which your recommendation relates. You will need to consider and assess any alternative views or recommendations before coming to a conclusion. You may find it helpful to incorporate some discussion of the rationale for, or purpose of, copyright protection, especially in discussing whether the interests of copyright owners are ‘unduly’ compromised. You can take inspiration from other jurisdictions if you wish, but you are not required to do so.
This is a research assessment, which requires you not only to engage with the set course materials, but also to read widely around your chosen topics.
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