Aufderheide et al. (2018)
|Aufderheide et al. (2018)|
|Title:||Calculating the consequences of narrow Australian copyright exceptions: Measurable, hidden and incalculable costs to creators|
|Author(s):||Patricia Aufderheide, Kylie Pappalardo, Nicolas Suzor, Jessica Stevens|
|Citation:||Aufderheide, P., Pappalardo, K., Suzor, N. And Stevens, J. (2018) Calculating the consequences of narrow Australian copyright exceptions: Measurable, hidden and incalculable costs to creators. Poetics, 69, pp15-26.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data was gathered from Australian creators (defined as “people who produce cultural products in Australia”, and including both professionals and amateurs) via an online survey (476 responses), interviews (30 participants), and workshops (15 - 30 people across three workshops).|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
“The kind and extent of exceptions and limitations to copyright monopolies are a major focus of copyright reform discussion worldwide. The debate is often portrayed as pitting the interests of creators against users. Australian copyright law features narrow and limited exceptions. Australian creators benefit from copyright monopolies; but do they suffer any costs for lack of flexible exceptions? A national survey of creators showed that they experience significant costs in time and money in making work; avoid or abandon projects because of copyright problems; and avoid developing ideas for projects that involve use of third-party copyrighted materials. These costs have previously been uncalculated and not included in national policy debate. The results provide information not only for the Australian context but for policy discussion internationally.”
Main Results of the Study
The majority of Australian creators recognise Australian-specific exceptions (83%), with 64% recognising these as “essential” or “very useful”. However, in interviews, most creators understood fair use to equate with “fairness” more in keeping with “respectful reuse” (more akin to moral rights). This does not apparently impact the views of creators in placing a high value on their own copyright, with 89% rating their copyright as somewhat, very, or extremely important to them.
When reusing work, most creators licence this (48%) though may experience significant costs both in respect of time (25% reporting spending over three months obtaining appropriate licences) and money. The largest costs were attributed to large, multi-national music, film and text firms, and as such creators often turn to artists directly as opposed to negotiating via a publisher. As a consequence of this difficulty in obtaining licences, 63% of creators reported changing a project due to copyright issues (e.g. refusing to quote, substituting for public domain material), and 66% abandoned or avoided a project entirely.
Surmising, the study finds three consequences to the Australian regime of narrow fair use: monetary costs; the costs associated with abandoned or degraded projects, and; the cost of imagination forgone (as a result of stifling and self-censorship).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study surmises that the general opinion of Australian creators is that: “I’d definitely be very keen to explore and experiment more if laws were relaxed”. As creators do not see any incompatibility with the coexistence of both copyright protection and fair use, a freer copyright regime is recommended which may include e.g. a US style fair use defence or quotation exception.
The authors also note that policy-making debates in Australia are skewed by overrepresentation by collecting societies. The study posits that policy will be better balanced by considering creators concerns (which err on the side of expanding exceptions and fair use-style rules), as opposed to over reliance on collecting society lobbying.