In a draft entitled ‘Intellectual property Arrangements’ released by the Australian government on the 29 April 2016, imposes a significant overhaul of Intellectual property laws. Karen Chester a commissioner with the Productivity Commission, said that geoblocking technology is "pervasive."

For those of you who don't know. Geoblocking restricts access to internet 'content' based upon the user's geographical location. Chester suggested that Australians are being offered a lower level of digital services at a higher price, because of that.

In speaking to ABC News Australia (AM), Chester said that "geoblocking restrictions had the opposite effect of encouraging internet piracy."

Some of the recommendations from the commission draft were as follows:

  • Australia Commission
    IMAGE SOURCE: Australia Commission

    Intellectual property arrangements need to balance the interests of rights holders with users.

  • Improvements are needed, so Australia’s copyright and patent arrangements function effectively and efficiently.
  • Australia’s patent system grants protection too quickly, allowing a proliferation of low-quality patents, frustrating the efforts of follow-on innovators, stymieing competition and raising costs to the community.
  • Australia’s copyright system has progressively expanded and protects works longer than necessary to encourage creative endeavour, with consumers bearing the cost.
  • While Australia’s enforcement system works relatively well for big rights holders, reforms can improve outcomes for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Commercial transactions involving IP rights should be subject to competition law. The current exemption under the Competition and Consumer Act is based on outdated views and should be repealed.
  • Improving IP governance arrangements would help promote a coherent and integrated approach to IP policy development and implementation.
  • Multilateral and bilateral trade agreements are the primary determinants of Australia’s IP arrangements.

The Commission is inviting submissions on the draft report by 3 June 2016 and will hold public hearings after that.

To read more about draft report read, Peter Ryan's article here.

Th 450-page report can be located here.