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Consumers the winners from reforms to import laws.

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Joint News Release


The Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP

Senator the Hon Richard Alston

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

The Hon John Fahey

Acting Treasurer


The Government will amend the Copyright Act to allow for parallel importation of legitimately produced books, periodicals, printed music, and software products including computer-based games.

The decision will allow Australian importers to obtain these products and make them available to consumers as soon as they are released anywhere in the world without having to wait for local companies to release them in Australia.

Australian businesses and consumers will particularly benefit from the abolition of import restrictions on packaged business and educational software.

The Government’s reforms will also pave the way for future cost savings on these products for consumers and business. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) analysed the prices of books and software early last year and indicated that consumers would be the main beneficiaries of the repeal of current Copyright Act restrictions on imports.

A range of products will be affected by the changes including popular computer games, video arcade games, and popular applications for word processing, database management, and graphical analysis.

The reforms will also eliminate the import monopoly of a small number of multinational software

companies and book publishers, which has kept prices artificially high.

The Government will ensure that current anti-piracy measures covering sound recordings will be extended to apply to all parallel imported products.

The introduction of parallel importation for books will be implemented 12 months after the passage of amending legislation, as recommended by the Interim Report of the Intellectual Property and Competition Review Committee. This timeframe will assist industry in the transition to the new business environment.



27 June 2000

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