Media Neutrality or Stakeholder Inequality? Why emerging technology requires a rethinking of the stakeholder balance in copyright law.

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Kieran G Donovan


This paper considers a number of emerging technologies and how they challenge the underpinnings of copyright law in Australia. It draws upon the idea that copyright law must ‘balance’ the rights of stakeholders (creators of works, inventors of technology and users of works) in order to provide the most effective environment for the protection and use of works. This paper further suggests that existing copyright legislation can be divided into provisions that offer rights to creators of works (‘front end’ provisions), and other provisions that restrict the rights of users and inventors of technology (the ‘back end’ provisions). It analyses the use of ‘media neutral’ language in copyright legislation in both the front and back end provisions and argues that the creators of works have far broader rights and protections than those offered in the back end to users and inventors. Further, through an analysis of emerging technologies it is argued that this imbalance offers an environment that restricts the uptake of new technologies and fails to properly foster the protection of the rights of users of these new works and technologies.

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