Google and perhaps more importantly YouTube will be excluded from new proposed extended safe harbour provisions which form part of the copyright law reforms in Australia. Australia had a very narrow definition of safe harbour and currently these only apply to commercial Internet service providers.
After extensive lobbying by the technology sector in Australia, who of course want wider safe harbour provisions, the Australian media and music industries hit out at proposed reforms pointing out that current safe harbour systems that operate in America and the European Union under review. And the Austrlian government seems to have listened, and the new beneficiaries of the safe harbour under the latest proposals are libraries and educational or cultural institutions.
Australia’s Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said that safe harbour protection would initially be extended to organisations that “provide beneficial services to all Australians and who are working collaboratively with copyright owners to address infringement”. The Government now plans further consultation on extending the safe harbour to the technology sector and in particular the likes of Google and Facebook but Fifiled added they would be “mindful of the need to ensure the rights of creators are properly protected” adding “Australia’s copyright industries make a significant contribution to our economic and cultural life, including collectively generating approximately AUS$122.8 billion in economic activity, AUS$6.5 billion in exports and employing more than one million Australians”.