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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2744


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(12.40) —For reasons already indicated the Government opposes this amendment. I am not able to give an unequivocal undertaking of that kind--


Senator Chaney —You may not be in government.


Senator GARETH EVANS —Not for the reason inserted into the record by Senator Chaney, with my co-operation-on the contrary-but rather because an effective longer term response really does, to a significant extent, depend on what is happening internationally. We are all hoping that the international effort that is being devoted to getting an appropriate protective regime for copyright will get itself sorted out within that kind of time span. As such we can lock into the network of international protections that are necessary if this essentially international industry is to be appropriately protected. But certainly within two years I would expect that we would be able to address a number of the kinds of concerns that have been expressed by Mr Langer, of Software Liberation, and other fellow travellers with that organisation who have raised a number of questions, obviously of large policy significance and which need and deserve to be addressed with sensitivity, care and considerable attention. We will be doing all those things within the time span I have indicated.

The interests of educational institutions to some considerable extent are protected by the existing fair dealing and other provisions in the copyright legislation so far as computer programs are concerned, like everything else. Nonetheless, questions arise as to whether some additional exemptions might be appropriate in that area and we will certainly be able to address that within that time frame. It is my great desire to be able to bring together an effective legislative regime for the longer term within the period that Senator Jack Evans mentioned, but for the reasons I have indicated I cannot be absolutely clear cut and decisive in giving him an affirmative response.

Question resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.