On 14 July 2009, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy, released the report ‘Australia’s Digital Economy: Future Directions’. The paper discusses how the government might “maximise the benefit of the digital economy for all Australians.”
The paper outlines the importance of the digital economy; Australia’s engagement with the digital economy; the need for strategic action; the requirements for a successful digital economy; the government’s role; and case studies of successful engagement with the digital economy from various industries.
The paper specifically discusses open access to public sector information for the benefit of the digital economy and signals a commitment by the federal government to “provide more open access to appropriate categories of public sector information”: at 14.
The paper also discusses the copyright safe harbour scheme which limits liability for copyright infringement by online service providers in certain circumstances, noting that the federal government will consider whether the scope of the scheme should be expanded: at 22.
The issue of file sharing and the impact on the content industry is discussed, with the government recognising that there is a public policy interest in resolving the issue and indicating a desire to work with all relevant groups to find an effective solution. The paper notes that the Australian economy “benefits from a sustainable content industry and from a general respect for legal rights” but also emphasises that “issues relating to due process and consumer privacy are important”: at 38.
The report also announces a forum, entitled “National Broadcasting Network: Realising the Vision”, to be held later in 2009 (we are not aware of further details at this stage): at 58.