Government urged to invest in copyright registry

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Government urged to invest in copyright registry

Academic calls for a "National Content Network" alongside the NBN.

A leading figure in Australian copyright has called for the creation of a Government-owned "National Content Network" registry to provide content creators with the means to protect their work from piracy.

Professor Michael Fraser, Director of the Communications Law Centre at the University of Technology Sydney and former CEO of Copyright Agency Limited told a seminar last night that "it is the government's role to build a new framework for content along with the infrastructure [of the NBN]."

"Governments must mandate interoperable standards access," he said.

Under the proposed scheme, it would be mandatory for content owners to submit their content with the registry, marked with a "unique tag" for users to access.

The model would make adhering to copyright easier for users, who would be provided with rights access along with the content in the one transaction.

Professor Fraser said that content owners could still opt to publish their work outside of the registry if they wished, but the content would still need to be submitted to the registry.

"The future of Australia lies in knowledge-based industries. It is early days to build a knowledge community," he said.

The system is designed to address current problems in copyright enforcement, such as Nintendo's successful $1.5 million lawsuit against Brisbane student James Burt earlier this year after he was found to have illegally copied and uploaded one of Nintendo's games.

"This defensive approach can't work; it is unsustainable and alienates consumers, whom these companies rely upon for business," Professor Fraser said.

"Copyright is broken because the copyright market for content is broken."

While the National Content Network would initially be government-run, Professor Fraser said that its daily activities would have to eventually fall to a not-for-profit organisation.

"There is a danger for government censorship concerns with a government controlled registry," he said.

Professor Fraser estimated that a National Content Network would provide an increase of 10 percent, or $10 billion per annum to Australian creative and knowledge-based industries.

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