Reconceptualising Copyright to Improve Access to Screen Culture

Project dates: 2021 - 2023

Project Summary

This project examines how automation, digital distribution, and intellectual property laws shape the reach and diversity of our culture. It studies how streaming video-on-demand services, like Netflix and Stan, are changing what screen content gets produced, what historical cultural material is available, what is recommended and made visible, and whose voices are heard. These decisions are increasingly informed by data about what consumers are watching, which in turn is influenced by what titles are recommended and made visible.

This three-year, federally-funded project provides new insights about changes in copyright practice in Australia’s screen industries, focusing on distribution and access to audiovisual material. It considers how the high costs and complex logistics of screen production and distribution can be reconciled with the public goal of broad, affordable and sustained availability of audiovisual content that represents the full diversity of Australia’s people and cultures.  It seeks to understand how copyright law and practice can better ensure that the wealth of humankind’s recorded creative output is available for people to enjoy, learn from, and reuse. It combines novel digital research methods with in-depth interviews to study the challenges of licensing and distribution in the screen industries, where copyright is at its most complex. It aims to provide rigorous evidence to develop and inform law, public policy and industry norms that prioritise marginalised voices and diverse perspectives in the production, licensing, and distribution of screen content.

DMRC Research Programs

This project contributes to the research within the following DMRC research programs:

Transforming Media Industries

Project Team


Project Outputs


Project funding

  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)