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Scant copyright hurts creators: lobby

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016 Luke Costin

The last cent out of Khe Sanh would be gone and the Possum Magic royalties dried up for Mem Fox under "damaging" changes to Australia's copyright laws.

A draft report by the Productivity Commission has suggested the federal government lift copyright restrictions as soon as 15 years after creation and introduce a US-style fair use exception.

Copyright Agency chairman Kim Williams said the two "major, inevitably damaging changes" undermine creators across the country and would weaken investment.

Switching from "fair dealing" to "fair use" would force small artists and publishing houses into the courts more often to battle serial copyright infringers.

"I don't know of any other area of human endeavour where you can actually take the labour of someone in creating something and simply appropriate it," he told the Melbourne Press Club on Wednesday.

He said older creators, earning superannuation from their back catalogue of protected work, would also suffer from reductions in copyright restrictions.

"Removing that income stream after just 15 or 25 years is like confiscating the capital growth of their superannuation accounts when they reach the age of 50."

The Productivity Commission is expected to deliver its final report on intellectual property to the Turnbull government in September.

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