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1.15 Liability of schools, TAFE institutes and individuals for copyright infringement

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    1. Technology Protection Measures (TPMs)

      1. Exceptions

        Until very recently, schools were almost never permitted to circumvent (eg disable or remove) Access Control TPMs. Following copyright law reforms that came into effect on 22 December 2017, however, schools are now permitted to circumvent Access Control TPMs for the following purposes: 

        • Making a copy under the Statutory Text and Artistic Licence or the Statutory Broadcast licence
        • Making a copy under the flexible dealing exception in s 200AB of the Copyright Act
        • Making a copy under the organisational disability exception in s 113F of the Copyright Act
        • Making a copy under the fair dealing for disability exception in s 113E of the Copyright Act.

        Schools are not permitted to circumvent an Access Control TPM for any other purpose (eg a teacher or student making a copy for their own fair dealing purposes). 

        Teachers and Schools are allowed to circumvent Copy Control TPMs.

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    2. Rights Management Information

      1. What is RMI?

        RMI is information (or numbers or codes that represent information) attached to or embodied in copyright material, such as a digital watermark which:

        • identifies the copyright work
        • identifies the copyright owner
        • contains any terms or conditions of use in respect of the copyright material
      2. Prohibited acts

        The Copyright Act prohibits:

        • the unauthorised removal or alteration of the RMI
        • importation, distribution or communication of material where the RMI has been tampered with
    3. Liability for breaches of the TPM and RMI provisions of the Copyright Act
      1. Civil

        A student/teacher will be liable for a civil infringement unless they can show that they did not know or suspect that their actions infringed or were likely to infringe copyright in the above ways.

      2. Criminal sanctions

        If a student/teacher commits an offence with the intention of obtaining commercial advantage or profit, they may be liable to fines or even imprisonment. For example, the maximum fine for circumvention of an access control TPM is $12,600.

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