On Friday 7th May at 11am BST we are delighted to be joined at our regular Copyright and Online Learning webinar series by three colleagues from Australia to share their experiences of copyright during the pandemic. Jessica Coates is Senior Rights Adviser for the National Library of Australia. Trish Hepworth is the Director of Policy and Education at the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Ben Rice is Copyright Law and Policy Adviser for the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee. Ben tells us……
The COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of physical venues hit the Australian library sector hard. In a sector built on an assumption of physical access, demand for online services has skyrocketed during the pandemic and libraries have seen a demonstrable rise in demand for services. For example, at the start of the pandemic, the State Library of Western Australia saw more than a 100 percent increase in monthly membership applications and a 50 percent increase in online and phone enquiries. This increase was greatest across online resources. As is now apparent, neither the sector nor legislators could have anticipated that online access would so rapidly become the expected norm.
The pandemic has highlighted some gaping inadequacies in Australian copyright law – particularly around online access to library collections and resources. Thankfully, long before the pandemic caused library facilities to suddenly close, the sector had been working to address many of these issues in collaboration with the Government as well as publishers and authors. Quick responses like the virtual storytime agreement negotiated by libraries helped libraries to rapidly adapt to new ways of serving the public. The Australian Government has also announced a raft of changes to the Copyright Act which are designed to address many of the inadequacies exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this session we will talk about some of the measures put in place prior to the pandemic that helped the Australian library sector to respond to COVID-19, as well as the efforts that are currently underway to ensure that Australia’s copyright law is adaptable and more suitable for the digital world.
We are really looking forward to this webinar, so do tune in to the session, which is taking place in our usual Blackboard Collaborate classroom and open to all.