Copyright lost in the cloud

KPMG reckons that cloud computing will add $3 billion to our GDP in 10 years. But will the opportunities of the cloud be constrained if we don’t fix copyright law?

Until now, the issue of copyright and the internet has been focused on the consumer space, but the implications could soon be felt in the business world, too.

As Tim Webb from law firm Clayton Utz explains in this week’s Twisted Wire podcast, the Federal Court ruling on the Optus TV Now case said that Optus infringed copyright because it was “involved” in the decision to make the recording. Yet, the internet is all about copying data, says Jon Lawrence, executive officer at Electronics Frontiers Australia. By caching content on its network, isn’t your ISP involved in any decision to view material? And what about the myriad applications that allow you to view content later, perhaps on a different platform? Shouldn’t the answer be as simple as: if you have the rights to content, you should be able to use it anywhere you like, so long as you don’t pass it on to other people?

Senator Stephen Conroy said that the copyright issue will be fixed by the inquiry into copyright reform being undertaken by the Law Reform Commission (LRC). The question is, of course, whether the inquiry will try to add to the existing complexities of copyright law, or whether it set a few high-level principles that will enable us all to benefit from the cloud. The LRC has a big, important job on its hands.

First published on ZDNet

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