Digital innovations continue pose new questions to traditional copyright and patent systems around the world. Australian legislators seem to have a lead on the coming clashes between technology and intellectual property management, having recently launched an investigation into how copyright law may be affecting the nation's burgeoning cloud computing market.
In a new informational guide entitled Copyright and the Digital Economy, analysts from the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) posited that outmoded copyright regulation could be stunting the progress of a promising technology subsector.
"The questions we are asking in this inquiry go to whether our current copyright laws are properly aiding the development of opportunities for Australian creators and not unduly hindering the development of new business models," said Jill McKeough, ALRC commissioner for copyright inquiry, in a statement. "At the same time, the expectations of a global community to access and use material for a whole range of creative, community, educative and commercial purposes also needs to be considered."
For example, officials highlighted the significant role that cloud-based file storage utilities have played in facilitating the distribution of pirated digital media. But at the same time, the technology is also at the heart of any number of legitimate, and potentially revolutionary, business concepts and processes.
Also on this list of topics introduced for public comment was the rise of social media and user-generated content. Each development is significant on its own, but when paired together there could be a wave of ownership disputes and copyright protection issues brought to the surface.