IP and copyright

With thanks for contributions from Leanne O’Donnell (@mslods / mslods.com),  Virginia Leighton-Jackson and Griffith University media freedom interns

Recent Legislation

  • Bill – Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2014 would focus mostly on patents, trademarks, and designs, and the process with which these claims are made: focusing on the five areas not addressed by the previous Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012.

Recent News

The iiNet saga continues

  • Voltage, the company behind the film Dallas Buyers Club, is set to pursue Telstra, Optus and TPG for lists of customers who illegally downloaded the movie.
    • ISP iiNet is being compelled to provide the details of customers, but are offering pro-bono legal services to those who may be caught up in the impending legal action, saying:
      • “There’s been plenty of discussion on the case and the outcome has brought mixed emotions. While Justice Perram granted the rights holders access to the customer data, he displayed a high degree of caution, considering the impact for both the rights holders and consumers. He ordered a number of important safeguards to protect our customers from being intimidated or threatened, which we know has occurred elsewhere in the world with these companies. We don’t support or condone copyright infringement but we couldn’t sit by and have our customers potentially bullied by the process of speculative invoicing.”
    • The company has also stated that they will contact all individuals who have their information turned over to Voltage, prior to Voltage contacting them with legal demands, and has won a few concessions by challenging the matter in the High Court:
    • ”The initial letter issued by the rights holders must first be approved by the Judge. The extent to which the Court is willing to restrict what can be said in the letters will become clearer shortly when the Judge hands down the Court’s orders. The Court has described previous letters sent by Voltage as “very aggressive”. We are hopeful that the Court will ensure that the letters to our customers in this case will be considerably less threatening. If the Court permits it, we intend to continue our involvement in the application to ensure that customers are treated as fairly and reasonably as possible.
  • Voltage has sued individuals in the US for the illegal downloads, and are facing accusations of aggressive and threatening conduct during their dealings


Swan, D., 21.05.2015, “Telstra, Optus users next to face Dallas Buyers Club wrath”, Technology Spectator, available: www.businessspectator.com.au/2015/5/21/technology/telstra-optus-users-next-to-face-dallas-buyers-club-wrath

iiNet, 18.05.2015, “What does it mean for me if I downloaded the Dallas Buyers club movie?”, available: http://blog.iinet.net.au/what-does-it-mean-for-me-if-i-downloaded-the-dallas-buyers-club-movie/?cid=social_20150519_45965286&adbid=600466192105492480&adbpl=tw&adbpr=16464855#sthash.TYIZLMfI.dpuf


Australian Law Reform Commission Report 122: Copyright and the Digital Economy

  • In December of 2013 and February 2014 the ALRC put forward recommendations to introduce a fair use exemption of the copyright legislation to replace the existing ‘fair dealing’ provisions.
  • It recommended that if this was not accepted, then a consolidated ‘fair dealing’ exception should apply, and would include:
    • research or study (existing);
    • criticism or review (existing);
    • parody or satire (existing);
    • reporting news (existing);
    • professional advice (existing);
    • quotation (new);
    • non-commercial private use (new);
    • incidental or technical use (new);
    • library or archive use (new);
    • education (new); and
    • access for people with disability (new).

Virginia Leighton-Jackson

ALRC, 2014, Report 122: Copyright and the Digital Economy, < http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/copyright-report-122>


Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper 2014

  • This paper, from the Attorney-General’s Office, outlines the proposed measures to ‘crack down’ on online copyright infringement, including:
    • Pushing for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to act as ‘copyright police’
    • The extension of safe harbour provisions to ISPs from financial penalties if they take steps to eliminate copyright infringing users
    • Creation of provisions for copyright owners to block websites it they infringe on their copyright.
  • Importantly, it offers no safeguards to protect the interests of consumers or users.
    • Eg: blogging platform ‘Tumblr’ has changed their terms of use and added an automated systems to remove copyright infringing posts, and deleting accounts without warning to users, or considering possible exemptions – such as fair use etc.

Virginia Leighton-Jackson

Brandis, G. 2014, “Online Copyright Infringement – Discussion Paper”, Attorney-General’s Department, < http://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/Onlinecopyrightinfringementpublicconsultation.aspx>

Electronic Frontiers Australia. 2014, “Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper 2014”, < www.efa.org.au/issues-new/copdis>

Other news

Negotiators burn their last opportunity to salvage the TPP by caving on copyright term extension. | EFF | http://bit.ly/16lkrhR

After Sony hacking, MPAA considers major changes. | New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1uh0unH

Anti-piracy advocate Roadshow beefs up political donations. | ZDNet | http://zd.net/1C5HEA5

Major labels keep 73% of Spotify premium payouts. | Music Business Worldwide | http://bit.ly/1BSWB5K

‘FAIR: Freedom of Access to Information & Resources’ library advocacy campaign launches. Check out & follow

Katy Perry’s lawyers demanding take-down of a 3D-printable left shark. | Gigaom | http://bit.ly/1DJ2uVu

One response to “IP and copyright

  1. Pingback: Journlaw running updates to The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law | journlaw

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