Something everyone should do is to spend some time browsing the website of the [url=http://www.copyright.org.au/]Australian Copyright Council[/url]
There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding by the general public about exactly how copyright works in Australia and exactly what you are and are not allowed to do in regards to copying things.
They have some very good and clear guides about how this all works and about what your rights and obligations are.
Some interesting factoids from their website and information sheets:
[quote][b]Protection is automatic[/b]
There is no system of registration for copyright protection in Australia. You do not need to publish your work, to put a copyright notice on it, or to do anything else to be covered by copyright – the protection is free and automatic. There are no forms to fill in, and there are no fees to be paid.
A work is protected automatically from the time it is first written down or recorded in some way, provided it has resulted from its creator’s skill and effort and is not simply copied from another work. For example, as soon as a poem is written, or a song is recorded, it is protected.[/quote]
What people really need to read is the information sheet on copying CDs, tapes and records. The important fact they point out is that under current Australian law, “There is no exception in the Copyright Act that allows copyright material to be reproduced for private purposes without permission from the copyright owner.”
They go on to quite clearly state what you can and cannot do – and essentially, without the permission of the copyright holder, you have no rights whatsoever to copy CDs, tapes or records, which includes digital copies such as MP3s, not even from CDs, tapes or records which you own a copy of already. You cannot even make a copy for “backup” purposes without permission from the copyright holder.
This may come as a shock for many people, especially how explicit the law actually is in this regard. They explain it quite well in their datasheet – and it’s worth reading for the clarification.
So does this mean I am going to delete all of my MP3s I have ripped from the CDs I own ? Probably not. However, I do take a very strong stance against sharing these items with other people, and I refuse to copy material from other people, or allow them to copy things from me. I have never used a file sharing service like Napster or Kazaa and I do not intend to do so.
Personally I do believe that the law is too tough in the regard of copying music you already own in one medium to another, as a duplication for purely private purposes is not an unreasonable act in my opinion, especially for the purposes of creating your own compilations or having a collection of MP3s on your PC for while you work. Carrying 150+ CDs with me on a trip is not terribly practical, however having a collection of MP3s on your laptop to listen to while away works a treat. I don’t have a problem with the law in regards to sharing copied material, but a copy for private use I consider to be reasonable,
Regardless of one’s own opinion on whether this should be allowed or not, you really need to read the informtion sheets on the Australian Copyright Council website for yourself and make your own concious decision about whether you intend to comply with the law.