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Catholic Schools Welcome Passage Of New Copyright Laws

Posted on 29 June 2017
Catholic Schools Welcome Passage Of New Copyright Laws
All Australian schools will benefit from changes that have made copyright use simpler and more up to date and will make material more accessible for students with a disability, the National Catholic Education Commission has said.

Both houses of Parliament have now passed the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill, bringing Australia's copyright laws into the digital age, NCEC executive director Christian Zahra said.

"The Turnbull Government and particularly Communications Minister Mitch Fifield deserve credit for modernising copyright laws so that they better reflect contemporary practice in our classrooms and libraries," Mr Zahra said.

"Many of Australia's copyright laws were written in the era of spirit-soaked duplicating machines and photocopiers, and were therefore woefully inadequate for modern classrooms where apps, educational games and cross-border student collaboration are standard practice.

"The new Act will allow copyrighted material to be copied digitally, so that works used in printed exam papers can also be used in online testing environments a use that was previously not permitted."

The NCEC, which represents 1,737 Catholic schools educating more than 765,000 students, has been working with other educational bodies to simplify the copyright system, allow greater access to material for students with disability and remove some anomalies that have existed for long periods without review and revision.

Mr Zahra says the Government still needs to give schools greater protection from inadvertent infringements by staff or students.

"At the moment, a school is liable for copyright infringements if a student or teacher breaches the law while using the school's IT services," he said.

"Protection exists for big commercial internet service providers like Telstra and Optus under so-called 'safe harbour' exemptions.

"We believe that protection should be extended to schools, universities, libraries and other places of learning," Mr Zahra said.
Tags: Government NCEC

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