Archived Posts Lists

Australian Regulatory Compliance Review
Australian Technology and IP Business
Credit Union and Mutual Law
National Consumer Credit Reform
Personal Property Securities Australia
Longview Business Insights
Australian Private Health Insurers
Wills, Trusts, Super
Mutuals Resource Centre


Commonwealth legislation
Corporate Governance
Not-for-Profit links
Regulator Links

February 20, 2007

Copyright fact sheets

A series of fact sheets on the new Australian copyright laws have
been released by the Attorney-General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP,

• offences for unauthorised pay-TV access;
• jurisdiction of Copyright Tribunal;
• criminal offence provisions;
• customs seizure of imported infringing copies;
• private copying – format-shifting;
• private copying of music;
• parody and satire;
• evidential presumptions;
• technological protection measures liability scheme;
• time-shifting;
• use of copyright material for certain ‘special’ purposes;
• commercial-scale electronic infringements;
• preservation copying;
• educational institutions – performances in the classroom and internet-caching; and
• official copying of library and archive material.

The fact sheets are available to download from the Attorney-General's Department’s website from the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 page.

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 20th February 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal

February 11, 2007

Being a director of a VC-backed company

A VC Working Group On Directory Accountability And Board Effectiveness has released a White Paper on " A Simple Guide to The Basic Responsibilities of VC-Backed Company Directors" (simple registration required).

The Guide covers the following topics:

  • What You Need to Know Before Joining the Board
  • Defining the Board’s Essential Role
  • General Duties and Responsibilites of Private Company Directors
  • Summary of the Legal Requirements of Board Service
  • Common Characteristics of Effective Private Company Boards/Directors
  • Common Characteristics of Ineffective Private Company Boards/Directors
  • Minimum Service Expectations of VCBC Directors
  • Minimum Expectations of Board Service for Management Directors
  • Minimum Expectations of Board Service for Independent Directors
  • Minimum Expectations of Board Service for VC Directors

The Guide also provides some useful board and director evaluation tools.

It is easy to read and provides a good introduction for someone who is approached to serve on a start-up board.

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 11th February 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal, Venture capital

February 7, 2007

Is Banjo Paterson Australia’s most famous copyright lawyer?

I was listening to ABC Radio National and heard Pip Wilson being interviewed about Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmour. Then he mentioned Banjo Paterson, Lawson's friendly rival as Australia's national poet.

Pip Wilson said that Paterson was Lawson's copyright lawyer. Wow!

No wonder Wilson is so enthusiastic about late 19th century literary Australia: Lawson, Paterson, The Bulletin at their most creative. And Paterson is working in the city as a lawyer for his day job protecting Australia's literary heritage.

Great stuff: Wilson's novel Faces in the Street

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 7th February 2007 by David Jacobson in Books, Legal

February 6, 2007

Second Life: a fresh approach to a cease and desist letter

Cease and desist letters are usually heavy-handed.

But when Darren Barefoot put up a parody of Second Life called Get a First Life, using a variation of Second Life's logo, Second Life's lawyers responded with a nonexclusive, nontransferable, nonsublicenseable, revocable, limited license to use the modified eye-in-hand logo rather than a prohibition demand.

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 6th February 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal, Privacy, Venture capital, Web/Tech

February 1, 2007

Advertising broadband internet speed

The ACCC has released an Information Paper which provides guidance on how the ACCC approaches claims about broadband internet speeds.

The ACCC says that ISP's  are likely to breach the Trade Practices Act if:

  • they use maximum theoretical download speeds to describe the speeds available to users of internet services
  • they have no basis to believe the represented speeds will be available to a future customer or their basis is not reasonable
  • they only provide a maximum speed and no further information on the speeds actually available or the factors affecting speeds

The ACCC is concerned with ADSL2+ being described as a 24Mbps/1Mbps service and with blanket claims that 24Mbps/1Mbps is an “up to” or “maximum” speed.

The ACCC's guidelines say that:

  • ISPs should avoid using hypothetical speeds in headline claims describing a service and in the names or titles that ISPs give to particular plans.
  • Headline speed claims could be avoided entirely for descriptions such as “ADSL2+”. “Maximum” or “up to” claims could be avoided in favour of typical speeds or a typical range of speeds.
  • If the stated speed cannot be provided to a single customer then it is misleading to describe a service as reaching “up to” that speed. Similarly, if the stated speed can only be delivered to a limited number of customers, but the advertisement is directed to the public at large, there may be a contravention of the TPA.
  • ISPs must be able to substantiate stated maximum or “up to” speeds as being achievable by users of their services.

The ACCC monitors advertising by ISPs, and has stated that it will continue to closely monitor advertising of internet speeds to ensure that high-speed broadband services are appropriately qualified.

The Paper makes it clear that all ISPs must comply with the TPA regardless of their size or whether they are a network owner or a reseller of others’ services.

The Information Paper focuses on Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) services and, in particular, on ADSL2+ services. However, the ACCC warns that ISPs should ensure that all advertisements for internet services comply with the TPA and that these principles apply also to cable and wireless broadband as well as 3G High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA).

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 1st February 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal, Web/Tech

January 17, 2007

Copyright Act updated

ComLaw has issued an updated version of the Copyright Act including the amendments made in November 2006.

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 17th January 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal

January 6, 2007

Copyright meme

My last post looked at the different types of Creative Commons licences that copyright owners may wish to use.

Lawrence Lessig has subsequently drawn a simple matrix to distinguish commercial and sharing uses on the one side and Read Only and Read/write on the other.

In respect of RO v. RW environments he says there is a distinction between the primary use intended for creative work that the site makes available. It answers the question:
“What can you do with the content on this site?”

In respect of Commercial v. Sharing environments he says there is distinction between the objectives of the site. Is it intended to make money?

He acknowledges these distinctions are not clear, there are hybrids.

Denise Howell at Lawgarithms says "non-commercial means non-commercial" and then gives an example of how even Microsoft has difficulty in applying that term. There is a fuzzy line between commercial and non-commercial (is use of something on every site operated by a business commercial even if it is not designed to generate income?) and between business, personal and educational.

The copyright owner has to be clear about his or her restrictions on use and a user of someone else's creation needs to be cautious (especially if it has potential commercial value).

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 6th January 2007 by David Jacobson in Legal

December 29, 2006

Copyright and Creative Commons licences

If you are trying to understand how to copyright your work then consider a Creative Commons licence which is available as an easy way of licensing most creative work (except software), without the need for complex legal drafting each time.

Provided you are happy with the concept of sharing your work on standard terms there are 6 types of creative commons licenses to choose from.

Frequently Asked Questions

Licenses Compatibility Wizard

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 29th December 2006 by David Jacobson in Legal

December 18, 2006

Cooper v Universal Music appeal decided: hyperlinks can authorise copyright infringement

The Federal Court Full Court in Cooper v Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd [2006]
FCAFC 187 has rejected an appeal by a website owner and an ISP against findings of infringement of copyright of sound recordings by the operation of a website (MP3s4FREE) which linked to mp3
recordings but allowed an appeal by the ISP employee who provided technical assistance
from time to time in relation to the establishment and operation of the website.

In Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v Cooper [2005] FCA 972 the trial Judge found Cooper (the website owner) "permitted or approved, and thereby
authorized, the copyright infringement by internet users who access his website
and also by the owners or operators of the remote websites from which the
infringing recordings were downloaded."

In relation to Mr Cooper the sole issue
for the Full Court's determination was the true meaning of the term
‘authorize’ in s 13(2) of the Act and the related term
‘authorizes’ in s 101(1) of the Act and whether providing a
website with hypertext links (hyperlinks) constituted authorisation.

Judge Branson rejected Cooper's appeal:

"41...The evidence leads to the
inexorable inference that it was the deliberate choice of Mr Cooper to
establish and maintain his website in a form which did not give him the power
immediately to prevent, or immediately to restrict, internet users from using
links on his website to access remote websites for the purpose of copying sound
recordings in which copyright subsisted. 

42 I conclude that, within the meaning of s 101(1A)(a), Mr Cooper had
power to prevent the copying in Australia of copyright sound recordings via his
website.  He had that power because he was responsible for creating and
maintaining his MP3s4FREE website.  As stated above, the principal content of
the website comprised links to other websites and files contained on other
servers.  Senior counsel for Mr Cooper conceded that, in effect, the
overwhelming majority of the files listed on the website were the subject of
copyright.  The website was structured so that when a user clicked on a link to
a specific music file a copy of that file was transmitted directly to the
user’s computer. 

43 It is immaterial, in my view, that Mr Cooper’s website
operated automatically in the sense that, although he could edit links on the
site, he did not control the usual way in which links were added to the site.
The evidence also leads to the inexorable inference that it was the deliberate
choice of Mr Cooper to establish his website in a way which allowed the
automatic addition of hyperlinks. 

44 I also conclude that, within the meaning of s 101(1A)(a), Mr Cooper
had power to prevent the communication of copyright sound recordings to the
public in Australia via his website.  Again he had that power because he was
responsible for creating and maintaining his MP3s4FREE website with the
characteristics referred to above...

52 Having taken into account the matters identified above, and the name of
his website, I conclude that Mr Cooper infringed the Record
Companies’ respective copyrights in sound recordings by in Australia
authorizing internet users to do acts comprised in those copyrights, namely make
copies of the sound recordings.  I also conclude that Mr Cooper infringed
the Record Companies’ respective copyright in sound recordings by
authorizing operators of remote websites to communicate those sound recordings
to the public in Australia."

In rejecting the ISP's appeal, Judge Branson said:

"64 E-Talk could have, but did not, take reasonable steps to prevent or avoid
the doing of the acts of infringement (s 101(1A)(c)).  Rather than
withdrawing hosting of Mr Cooper’s website, or otherwise placing
pressure on Mr Cooper to stop his website being used for the predominant
purpose of copyright infringements, E-Talk sought to achieve a commercial
advantage from advertising on Mr Cooper’s website."

The employee's appeal was allowed on the basis of a lack of evidence that he had power to prevent Mr Cooper's conduct.

UPDATE: detailed analysis from Kim Weatherall

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 18th December 2006 by David Jacobson in Legal, Web/Tech

December 15, 2006

google patent search

Google Search US patents by using inventors' names, filing dates, patent numbers or key words.

Print This Post Print This Post

Posted 15th December 2006 by David Jacobson in Legal, Web/Tech
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »