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
Blue over White and Yellow Pages goes to High Court

Blue over White and Yellow Pages goes to High Court

Middletons and Mallesons Stephen Jaques will face-off again as Telstra takes the fight over copyright for the White and Yellow Pages to the High Court.Telstra has filed documents with the High…

Middletons and Mallesons Stephen Jaques will face-off again as Telstra takes the fight over copyright for the White and Yellow Pages to the High Court.

Telstra has filed documents with the High Court indicating that it will appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in December last year, which rejected the telco's appeal that the Yellow and White Pages should be protected by copyright.

Telstra initially brought action against the Phone Directories Company, which it alleged had breached the copyright of Sensis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telstra that publishes the White and Yellow Pages, for publishing excerpts of the White and Yellow Pages in its Local Directories publication.

In February 2010, Federal Court Justice Michelle Gordon ruled against Telstra, with a full-bench of the Federal Court unanimously rejecting Telstra's appeal with costs.

In the Reasons For Judgment in the appeal case, Justice David Yates found that the Yellow and White Pages were not original works for copyright purposes.

He found that due to the "overwhelming" contribution of computer programs to the Yellow and White Pages, "none of the compilations can be properly characterised, overall, as a work that originates from an author or authors, even though elements of authorial contribution are present".

The head of the Innovations group at Middletons, Tony Watson, has acted for the Phone Directories Company over the course of this matter, and has been retained to fight Telstra's application to seek leave to appeal to the High Court. Similarly, Mallesons trade mark and copyright litigation partner Natalie Hickey has been retained by Telstra.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Watson said that the High Court could seek to hear the appeal in order to provide a more definitive stance on copyright issues in this matter as he believes it is still an area "where the law is unclear".

In particular, Watson cites the Telstra v Desktop Marketing Systems Full Federal Court ruling in 2002 which found that Telstra did own copyright in the Yellow and White Pages after finding there was substantial labour and expense incurred in putting the compilations together. However, Watson said that the High Court's decision in 2009 to allow an appeal by IceTV against the Nine Network, with the broadcaster claiming that IceTV's electronic programme guide infringed copyright of its television schedule, threw into doubt the question of whether copyright exists when there is negligible creative or intellectual input in the compilation of databases.

"The High Court might decide to hear the appeal in an attempt to make the law clear in this area once and for all," Watson said. "However, if it does get to the High Court, Telstra will be up against it."

In rejecting Telstra's appeal in the Phone Directories case, the Full Federal Court acknowledged the large amount of time and labour that goes into producing the Yellow and White Pages, but found its authors were not applying "independent intellectual effort" to warrant it being protected by copyright.

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

Blue over White and Yellow Pages goes to High Court
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
06:04
Young humanitarian lawyer California-bound
A young Australian lawyer will be travelling to the US next year for a prestigious nine-month study ...
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...