Big news for Australian genealogists came on the 22nd of March 2017 when the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was introduced to the Australian Parliament.
The Bill ends antiquated provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that provide perpetual copyright for unpublished materials, no matter how old they are. As a result millions of historical manuscripts such as letters and diaries held in our National and State/Territory libraries and archives, and thousands of theses at our universities, will be freed into the public domain on the 1st of January 2019. This will include all those old letters sent to government departments or shared between family and friends decades ago that have until now been restricted by the old copyright laws. See the media release from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.
With the boom in digitising and making available online so many collections of old documents, these amendments will allow researchers to access a huge amount of material that has been restricted and clear up a lot of the confusion that surrounded the use of unpublished material.
Roll on January 2019!