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Crown copyright

Fitzgerald, Anne M. (2011) Crown copyright. In Fitzgerald, Brian F. & Atkinson, Benedict A. (Eds.) Copyright Future Copyright Freedom : Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Commencement of Australia's Copyright Act 1968. Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 162-179.

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Abstract

Copyright protects much of the creative, cultural, educational, scientific and informational material generated by federal, State/Territory and local governments and their constituent departments and agencies. Governments at all levels develop, manage and distribute a vast array of materials in the form of documents, reports, websites, datasets and databases on CD or DVD and files that can be downloaded from a website.

Under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), with few exceptions government copyright is treated the same as copyright owned by non-government parties insofar as the range of protected materials and the exclusive proprietary rights attaching to them are concerned. However, the rationale for recognizing copyright in public sector materials and vesting ownership of copyright in governments is fundamentally different to the main rationales underpinning copyright generally. The central justification for recognizing Crown copyright is to ensure that government documents and materials created for public administrative purposes are disseminated in an accurate and reliable form. Consequently, the exclusive rights held by governments as copyright owners must be exercised in a manner consistent with the rationale for conferring copyright ownership on them. Since Crown copyright exists primarily to ensure that documents and materials produced for use in the conduct of government are circulated in an accurate and reliable form, governments should exercise their exclusive rights to ensure that their copyright materials are made available for access and reuse, in accordance with any laws and policies relating to access to public sector materials. While copyright law vests copyright owners with extensive bundles of exclusive rights which can be exercised to prevent others making use of the copyright material, in the case of Crown copyright materials these rights should rarely be asserted by government to deviate from the general rule that Crown copyright materials will be available for “full and free reproduction” by the community at large.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 41647
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: crown copyright, government, public sector information , CAL v NSW , copyright ownership
ISBN: 9781920899714
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Anne Fitzgerald
Copyright Statement: The version uploaded is the author's version accepted for publication (but not the final formatted version).
Deposited On: 12 May 2011 08:11
Last Modified: 15 May 2011 00:28

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