“On the environment, one other thing as well – today the Agriculture Minister will be releasing a new report on the impact of climate change on drought. We asked some time ago for the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology to advise us how do we deal with exceptional circumstances drought arrangements into the future. They’ve now presented us with a report and the findings are again very disturbing. What they say in two short points is this, and this will come out later today – firstly that when it comes to exceptional or extreme drought, exceptionally high temperatures, the historical assumption that this occurred once every 20 years has now been revised down to between every one and two years, that’s the first point.
Secondly, with exceptional circumstances drought conditions, under scenarios within it, that that will occur twice as often, and with twice the area of droughted parts of Australia included. Now this is a serious revision of the impact of climate change on drought and the Agricultural Minister will make that clear in the report that he releases later today, again on climate change.” extract from: Prime Minister of Australia – Interview with Barrie Cassidy, ABC Insiders (emphasis added)
It would be difficult to think of a more authoritative statement of acute public interest in this issue. When the Prime Minister uses terms such as ‘very disturbing’ and ‘ serious revision of the impact of climate change’ and talks of the necessary revision of a program budgeted this year at about one billion dollars, we can confidently say that this is a matter of the highest public interest.
In fact, these are the exactly the circumstances in which intellectual property laws are intended to tilt the balance toward the extension of research and education in the public interest.
“The primary purpose of copyright is to provide an incentive for people to produce new works for the benefit of society as a whole. The incentive is created by the opportunity to be paid when other people use and disseminate those works. Copyright can also reward people who create works without expecting payment, when their works end up being used by others.The government-appointed committee whose report led to the introduction of Australia’s current Copyright Act said:
The primary end of the law on this subject is to give to the author of a creative work his just reward for the benefit he has bestowed on the community and also to encourage the making of further creative works.
In copyright law, the objective of encouraging the creation of new works is balanced by the objective of making material available for socially desirable purposes such as research and education.” extract from: Copyright purposes and sources—Australian Copyright Council (emphasis added)
Here’s something to be truly disturbed by: a publicly funded institution, such as CSIRO, dedicated to knowledge and technology relying on the IP laws to hide from critical review of a matter of vital public interest. What private interest (in data protection) can possibly outweigh the public interest in this case? Where is the balance that IP laws are supposed to protect?
CSIRO owes us a better explanation.