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Sound decision benefits and protects consumers: Truss

The Government's decision to lift restrictions in the Copyright Act 1968 on the parallel importation of sound recordings will both benefit and protect consumers, the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Warren Truss, said today.

The changes mean that local retailers and importers can now bring into Australia legitimate sound recordings from overseas.

"Consumers will benefit from this decision by being able to access a greater range of recordings, more quickly and at lower prices," Mr Truss said.

"Previously, Australian consumers had to wait - often for weeks or months - until subsidiaries of multinational companies released recordings locally. Titles available overseas were often not released on the Australian market.

"Now they can be brought in straight away. By lifting restrictions, the Government has made it possible for recordings to be made available in Australia as soon as they are released anywhere in the world. And smaller retailers will be able to specialise, importing previously unavailable recordings for which there is a niche market.

"The changes will lead to increased competition between local and overseas suppliers, which will result in price falls."

Other changes which will protect consumers include increased penalties for the manufacture, import and sale of pirated material. Maximum penalties for dealing in pirated material will be increased to $55,000 and/or five years imprisonment for individuals and $275,000 for a company or body corporate.

"This will ensure local artists, record companies and manufacturers are protected from piracy of sound recordings, and at the same time guarantee the legitimacy of goods available to consumers," Mr Truss said.

The Minister added that there was also little danger that objectionable material would be imported under the changed legislation.

"There are already adequate controls under State legislation to protect consumers from objectionable material contained in sound recordings," Mr Truss said. "Commonwealth censorship legislation protects against objectionable material printed on record and disc covers.

"Altogether, the changes to the Act will provide wins for both consumers and the local industry."


Andrew Hall, Mr Truss' Office, 02 6277 2187