Australian Government Launches Consultation Over Private Use of Photographs

The Australian Government is reviewing the operation of two copyright exceptions that permit photographs and cinematograph films to be reproduced in a different format for private use, subject to certain conditions.

The exceptions were introduced by the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 and allow for a consumer to copy a photograph or film into a different format for private use. For instance, the exception allows for the printing of a paper copy from a digital photograph. Other copying envisaged by this exception is the scanning of a hard copy photograph in digital form in the memory of a personal computer or of a portable playing device.

The exception, however, does not allow for ‘serial copying’. A reproduction made from the original photograph may not be used to make further reproductions.

At the time of adoption of the 2006 Act, some interests believed that these exceptions were unnecessarily limited in comparison to the wider exception also introduced in the Act for copying sound recordings for private use. Those with this view called for consumers to have similar exceptions for copying audio and audio-visual material.

The Act 2006 requires that a review of the operation of these exceptions be carried out by 31 March 2008.
Submissions are invited from interested parties by 29 February 2008.