Australian Law Reform Commission – Copyright and the digital economy

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently reviewing Australia’s copyright exceptions to make sure they are suitable for the digital environment.  This review is critical for Australian teachers and students.  Delivering world class education requires copyright laws that are fit for purpose in a digital age. 

Teachers, parents and schools all expect to be able to use the most modern and effective teaching methods for the benefits of Australian students.  However, Australia’s current copyright laws are stuck in the age of the photocopier.

Australian teachers currently face a complex copyright environment, which sets different rules for different types and different uses of copyright materials.  These rules also apply differently to different technologies and formats.  This just does not make sense in a digital age.

The ALRC has proposed two reforms that will ensure Australia’s copyright system is appropriate for teachers in the 21st century:

  • Introducing a fair use provision. This will future proof Australia's copyright laws and ensure that fair uses of copyright materials are permitted in Australian schools.
  • Repealing the current statutory licences and replacing them with voluntary collective licences. This will allow Australia's educational licences to be modernised to make sure that teachers can continue to use copyright materials in their teaching, and copyright owners will continue to receive fair remuneration.

The Australian school sector supports these reforms.

Additional resources

More information

If you would like to read more about why Australian schools support the ALRC's proposed reforms, please read the Copyright Advisory Group - Schools' submissions to the ALRC's issues paper and supplementary submission.

You can also contact the National Copyright Unit on (02) 9561 1204 or email at

The National Copyright Unit provides - and will continue to provide - clear and straightforward guidance to teachers about how copyright materials can be used in Australia's classrooms.