eBay Responds to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Copyright and the Digital Economy Issues Paper

November 19, 2012

Last week eBay provided its submission in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Copyright and the Digital Economy Issues Paper. eBay believes that any changes to Australian copyright law should support and enhance commerce.

The submission covers eBay’s position in relation to: digital material; modern application of copyright law; parallel importation; exhaustion of rights; caching, indexing and other internet functions; cloud computing; online use for social, private or domestic purposes; data and text mining; and fair use.

eBay is a member of the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI), a coalition of businesses, associations and organisations with a common aim to protect ownership rights in the United States. The ORI operates under the fundamental principle that the ownership of personal property incorporates inherent rights. This is encapsulated in the ORI’s central premise that "if you bought it you own it", and individuals should have the right to sell, lend or give away the property they lawfully own.

eBay recognises that copyright and trademark owners need the tools to protect themselves online and has created the Verified Rights Owners program (VeRO program) to help brand-owners inform eBay merchants about their trademarks and copyright material, monitor eBay merchants for infringements, make complaints, and have offending material removed.

The VeRO program includes: fast removal of listings reported to eBay by more than 5,000 intellectual property rights owners; proactive monitoring and removal by eBay of listings that violate eBay policies designed to prevent the listing of infringing items on eBay; ability to save searches and have the results emailed to you; suspension of repeat offenders; and cooperation with rights owners seeking information regarding alleged infringers.

eBay’s submission also refers to a recent report by Lateral Economics commissioned by the ADA (Australian Digital Alliance), which found that investors would value the reduced risk and uncertainty from more flexible copyright exceptions at around $2 billion a year. The report also found that a more flexible and technology neutral copyright regime in Australia will boost annual productivity gains to the economy by $600 million per annum over the next 10 years.