Following some 70-plus sets of submissions and a lot of heated debate in Parliament, the decision has apparently been taken to send the Copyright Amendment Bill back to the drawing board, again.
Whilst looking better than its predecessor that made its debut in 2015, the 2017 Bill unfortunately also failed to pass muster with words such as ill-considered, nonsensical and ridiculous used to describe its provisions and practical implications.
There were glimmers of hope with the recognition of streaming as a form of infringement and the fixation of the split of needle-time royalties between the record companies and the performers, but those small victories were not near enough to save a Bill that turned out otherwise to be fraught with difficulties and legal uncertainties.
Many, many hours have been spent by members and representatives of various stakeholders ranging from the musicians, lyricists and artists to the legal fraternity, collecting societies, academics, auctioneers and galleries in making submissions and delivering comment to counter-act the potential far-reaching and negative impact of some of the proposed amendments. The good news is that the outcries do not appear to have fallen on deaf ears and reports indicate that a special task team will be constituted to undertake a substantial redrafting of the Amendment Bill. Cue the sighs of relief.
There are indeed many voices to be heard and many considerations of which to take account. It is hoped that legal certainty will be the guiding principle throughout the difficult task of balancing the rights and interests of those that stand to be affected by the proposed amendments and that any workable draft that may come thereof will be such that the move to modernise our Copyright Act will be in a forward direction.