As you may be aware, the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) recently released an [exposure draft]( of proposed amendments to the Australian Copyright Act provisions dealing with technological protection measures (TPM). These amendments are designed to implement Australia’s final commitments under the United States Free Trade Agreement, which require Australia to significantly tighten its legal protection of TPMs. The new laws have to be in place by 1 January 2007.

As part of the release, the AGD called for public submissions to be provided by 22 September. We here at Creative Commons Australia got together with a number of other open access advocates (including representatives of the [OAK Law project]( to comment on the proposed amendments. You can find our [submission]( here.

All in all, the draft legislation isn’t as bad as it could have been, and certainly isn’t as strong as the US probably wanted – but it still includes few safeguards to prevent copyright owners from using TPMs to extend their control in the digital environment. All we can do now is wait and see whether the Government takes the public comments on board, or if the deal with the US has already been cemented behind the scenes.

Interestingly, at the same time as they released the exposure draft, the Government also called for submissions as part of a separate review of additional exceptions to the TPM provisions that are to be included in the regulations. They’ve published the initial submissions for the exceptions review (but not the broader TPM provisions) online, and are currently [inviting reply comments]( on these submissions.