find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Innovation outrunning IP law

Innovation outrunning IP law

Copyright law is not keeping pace with technology, IP specialists have claimed in a discussion on ownership and authorship in a digital medium.

Sharon Rowe (pictured), IP specialist at DLA Piper, believes the online culture of knowledge sharing, which is being fuelled by social media, is giving rise to broader licences that attempt to get around copyright law.

Rowe was one of three speakers in the Powerful Bundling of Intellectual Property Rights panel discussion at the Australian Women Lawyers Conference on Saturday (11 August). She told delegates that the terms and conditions of some online platforms, like Facebook, are providing users with very broad licences to use content posted on the social networking site, even if the content is protected by copyright.

This is a sign that the law is not keeping pace with new technologies, she continued, pointing out that copyright law does not reflect how IP is viewed and distributed in the digital world.

“There is a shift in policy that exists on the internet and the law is still not necessarily suited to these types of concepts,” she said. “The law says the same rules apply to a book as to a literary work on the internet and Facebook is getting around [these rules] with online licences.”

She is confident, however, that law reform will reflect the public’s willingness to distribute IP free of charge.

“The concept of authorship was sacrosanct but now that now that we have the internet some of these lines are blurring,” she explained.

“More people are embracing the opportunities presented by social networking sites ... and using copyright to allow dissemination of information rather viewing it as something to lock up.”

Kate Gilchrist, senior lawyer at Australian Broadcasting Corporation, echoed Rowe’s sentiments when she revealed that copyright in broadcasting is also undergoing a significant shift in the internet age.

“Negotiating broadcasting rights is more complicated today and we’re still scratching our heads about how the law will operate in this new environment,” she said.

She explained that a major complication is the entry of new players into the market that are laying claim to broadcasting rights. These recent entrants include telecommunications companies, internet services providers and technology developers such as Google and Apple “who want to be pseudo broadcasters”, she said.

“You’re competing with a multitude of players, which means there’s pressure on price and the market is much more segmented.”

Gilchrist revealed that the Australian Law Reform Commission is currently considering the question of copyright in broadcasting and is expected to report back in 2013. In the meantime, she expects the debate will continue over whether policy relating to physical mediums (such as VCRs) also applies to digital innovations.

A spotlight was cast on this issue in April when the Federal Court overturned Justice Steven Rares’ initial ruling in the Optus TVNow case. Initially, Justice Rares found that the company’s service did not infringe the copyright of the NRL, AFL and Telstra (rights holders of a several sporting broadcasts recorded using Optus’ service). His decision was based on the section 111 exemption of the Copyright Act that allows for the recording broadcasts for private or domestic use.

In April, a full bench of the Federal Court dismissed the orders made by Justice Rares, finding that Optus was not protected by the exemption.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Innovation outrunning IP law
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
Thomson Reuters has appointed an experienced real estate lawyer to its Practical Law Australia team....
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...