find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Regulatory overhaul required due to online content

Regulatory overhaul required due to online content

The introduction of the national broadband network (NBN) and online content are about to change the legislative landscape of media law, according to experts who spoke to Lawyers Weekly.Patrick…

The introduction of the national broadband network (NBN) and online content are about to change the legislative landscape of media law, according to experts who spoke to Lawyers Weekly.

Patrick Fair, a partner at Baker & McKenzie who is a part of the firm's NBN group, said current media regulation was not technology-neutral and that a significant overhaul will be required due to the introduction of the NBN.

"We are still waiting for the Government to attack the question of how you might manage a transition of the existing media licensing regime to something which is up to date when everybody has optic fibre broadband in their homes ... [considering] the relatively unregulated nature of streamed services on the internet versus the regimes that are imposed on subscription television and free to air television," he said.

Currently, a commercial television broadcaster cannot have an audience reach of more than 75 per cent of the Australian population.

Mary Still, a partner at Clayton Utz who specialises in litigation relating to infringement of trademark and copyright, agreed that the law would need to catch up with the way people are viewing content online, which will be enhanced with the introduction of the NBN.

"At the moment, the Broadcasting Services Act only deals with free-to-air television and subscripted television and the national broadcaster and merely ignores the internet and ignores the contribution the internet makes in the way we live our lives and the way we make use of it. I think that is going to have to change," she said.

Khai Dang, a partner at Blake Dawson who works on the content and regulatory side of telecommunications and broadcasting, added that media organisations were still struggling to find successful business models for the internet.

"While there are some wildly successful companies out there - such as Google who actually reported a profit in the last quarter - there are many organisations who are still posting content for free, basically, or generally at some sort of a loss and the struggle for them is how to recoup the cost of that and create a new business model for online content," he said.

"They have to compete with content that people post through social networking sites - such as the Kevin and Jill's wedding video and that is now rating through the internet at this moment - and that's a homemade video of someone's wedding and ... it's attracting eyeballs."

Sophie Dawson, also a partner at Blake Dawson who specalises in defamation and copyright litigation, said that the question of whether a cause of action exists for privacy and in what circumstances is also a big issue facing the courts and regulators.

"That affects two categories of people, firstly, the traditional media and, secondly, all of us with our Facebook sites. We're putting up photos of friends and doing other things which potentially contain their private information," she said.

"There is mixed case law about whether there is a cause of action for breach of privacy in Australia - it could be a common law or equitable cause of action and the ALRC [Australian Law Reform Commission] has recommended that there be a statutory cause of action."

- Sarah Sharples

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

Regulatory overhaul required due to online content
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...