White SW Computer Law
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THE ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY FRAMEWORK

Does this ring a bell? Most people are unaware that since January 1996, the Spectrum Management Authority has been overseeing the phasing in of the new EMC framework. Compliance with these new regulations will be enforced from January 1997 and apply to all new products placed on the Australian market. The standards introduced will be subject to ongoing review and will consider international developments in this area.

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) refers to the ability of a device to operate in its electromagnetic environment without introducing intolerable electromagnetic interference (EMI) to anything in that environment.

The radio frequency emissions standards (RF) are intended to reduce the levels of unintended emissions from electrical and electronic goods to an acceptable level. They will be the first standards to be phased- in as part of the EMC framework.

Compliance with the EMC requirements may be demonstrated by either testing against standards or through the Technical Construction File when it is not feasible or impractical to use testing.

Suppliers of PCs will have to examine the goods they supply in terms of components and peripherals. Under the EMC framework, components will not be covered by an applicable standard, but the device of in which they are used must comply with the applicable standard. All peripherals, such as printers, monitors or keyboards are subject to the applicable standard.

If substantive modifications are made to a PC, a new Declaration of Conformity will be required. Such modifications include a change to: the bus architecture; clock frequency; or the case in which the components are housed.

A PC sold as a complete unit has only one Declaration of Conformity. All peripherals are subject to a separate Declaration of Conformity. A Declaration of Conformity must be completed and the appropriate labelling used before a product can be marketed.

The SMA proposes to conduct random audits of compliance documentation and will investigate any complaints of interference caused by or to a product that is subject to EMC standards.

If a device that does not conform to the required standards is supplied to the Australian market, the supplier of the goods may be prosecuted under the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Penalties imposed may include seizure and forfeiture of non-conforming stock and monetary penalties.

Please note that the EMC framework is now overseen by the Australian Communications Authority.
Further information may be obtained from the Australian Communications Authority or at their website
http://www.aca.gov.au/stds_compliance/electromagnetic_compatibility/emc.htm

STEVE WHITE
WHITE SW COMPUTER LAW
JULY 1997

www.computerlaw.com.au © White SW Computer Law 1997 This article is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for proper legal advice, readers should make their own enquiries and seek appropriate legal advice.


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