Re-Use Rights and Australia’s Unfinished PSI Revolution

Informatica e diritto- Rivista internazionale, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 341-69, 2012

REVITALIZING AUSTRALIA'S COPYRIGHT PUBLIC DOMAIN, Sydney University Press, 2012

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2011-37

29 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2011 Last revised: 9 Feb 2012

See all articles by Graham Greenleaf

Graham Greenleaf

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Catherine Bond

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 12, 2011

Abstract

An understanding of the re-use of public sector information in Australia starts from the fact that the provisions for Crown Copyright in the Copyright Act 1968 means that no PSI (including legislation and cases) is available for re-use without permission, and there are nine different regimes (federal, plus States and Territories) governing re-use permissions. Since 2008 this situation is changing rapidly, with a series of reports leading to a federal government policy that, when it licences PSI the default licence will be a Creative Commons BY licence (requiring only attribution). However, we argue that this is incomplete, because there is as yet no requirement that PSI be licensed when it is made freely available to the public (in which case Crown Copyright still applies). The State of Queensland has taken a similar approach, but it is arguable (but not certain) that it has ‘joined the dots’ so that all PSI made available to the public should, in default, be under a Creative Commons BY licence. In both jurisdictions Information Commissioners with a new pro-active role in relation to freedom of information may facilitate the transition to a ‘re-use culture’ in the public sector. In the other seven jurisdictions the position is still evolving, but the federal and Queensland practices are likely to be influential. This is a remarkable achievement in a few years for Creative Commons Australia, and for the development of Australian public policy.

Despite these very positive developments in Australian policies and practices, we argue that liberal licensing regimes are not enough, and that there is also a need to reform Australia’s antiquated Crown Copyright by abolishing it for some categories of PSI such as legislation and related information, limiting its duration in other cases of government publications, and limiting the duration of copyright in unpublished government works.

Keywords: copyright, public sector information, PSI, creative commons, public domain, freedom of information, crown copyright

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham and Bond, Catherine, Re-Use Rights and Australia’s Unfinished PSI Revolution (October 12, 2011). Informatica e diritto- Rivista internazionale, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 341-69, 2012 ; UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2011-37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1951625

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 2233 (Phone)
+61 2 9385 1175 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~graham

Catherine Bond

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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