Tuesday, 23 May 2017 06:56

Wikipedia begins campaign for fair use copyright exceptions

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Wikipedia has begun a three-week campaign to push for fair use copyright exceptions in Australia, and will display banners promoting the concept on English articles that are viewed in the country.

A statement said the campaign was aimed at making Australians aware of the need for the country to reform its copyright laws.

“Wikipedia uses FAIR USE to share knowledge across the world. Soon Australia could too, with your help,” one of the banners says.

The statement said the campaign would focus attention on both the importance of fair use to Wikipedia — around 10% of the English Wikipedia’s more than five million articles have some fair use content — and to the recent proposal from the Productivity Commission that Australia should also introduce a fair use exception.

“Australians benefit from fair use every day,” said Jon Lawrence from the digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia.

“When you look up the ABC on Wikipedia and see its logo, that logo is there because a Wikipedia editor has uploaded it as a fair use of the image.

"Wikipedia users can only upload this content because they are able to rely on the US’s fair use provisions. If Wikipedia was based in Australia you wouldn’t see that logo.”

A website has been launched by EFA and copyright advocacy group the Australian Digital Alliance in support of the campaign.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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