Copyright is a type of ‘intellectual property’ as it protects the creative and inventive endeavours.
Stallman’s concerns about use of this term.
General info about copyright protection
Attorney General’s department A Short Guide to Copyright – http://www.law.gov.au/www/securitylawHome.nsf/AllDocs/DDE9E530E5D5ADD6CA256B8900079356?OpenDocument;
Australian Copyright Council’s Information Sheet An introduction to Copyright in Australia –http://www.copyright.org.au/PDF/InfoSheets/G010.pdf; and
World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Basic Notions of Copyright and Related Rights –http://www.wipo.org/copyright/en/activities/pdf/basic_notions.pdf.
1.1. Copyright in Australia
Protected by Copyright Act1968 (Cth) (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133)
Amended by Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda)Act 2000
extended copyright protection to the full range of digital media.
1.2. Copyright and the Internet
In the Internet context:
typical website content will generally constitute a number of different copyright works in the form of
original literature (including computer programs),
cable programs and
adaptations of the above (including compilations);
copyright owner enjoys an exclusive right to reproduce or to authorise another to reproduce, their work on to or from a website;
owner enjoys exclusive right of communicationto the public literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works and sound recordings, films and broadcasts (s 31(1)(a)(iv) Copyright Act).
copyright material that is made available online or transmitted electronically
(eg uploading of copyright material onto a server connected to the Internet).
only covers communication in the electronic domain
does not create an exclusive right of communication in the tangible print environment; and
copyright is unlikely to exist in a URL
(see Exxon Corp v Exxon Insurance Ltd  1 Ch 119 - held a single invented word e.g ‘Exxon’ could not be subject to copyright, applying this to domain names it is unlikely a court will find copyright exists in a domain name. this does not matter as there are other ways of protecting URLs – see Domain names Part 2 – Disputes of the these course notes).
For further reading see the Australian Copyright Council’s
Internet: copying from Information Sheet –http://www.copyright.org.au/PDF/InfoSheets/G056.pdf.
1.3. Existence of copyright
Copyright comes into existence automatically in relation to an original creation in Australia or in a country whose nationals are entitled to copyright protection in Australia.
Copyright in unpublished works does not begin to run until they are published.
No registration of copyright is required, protection is automatic. There is no register to search to ascertain if material is copyright protected.
1.4. Term of protection
Subject to exceptions, protection runs
for life of the author
plus 70 years from year of author’s death or 70 years from year of first publication (s 33 Copyright Act, see also ss 93, 94).
published edition of book is protected for only 25 years after first publication of edition (s 96)
Once copyright expires, material enterspublic domain and can be freely used by others.
period of copyright protection extended to 70 years in
US-A Free Trade Agreement : extended by 20 years in Australia
1.5. Exceptions to Copyright (not ‘rights’?)
1.5.1. Fair dealing
Use of copyright material for purpose of:
research or study,
criticism or review,
reporting of news and
professional advice given by a legal practitioner or patent attorney
generally does not constitute an infringement of copyright.
Rules are provided to determine what is fair dealing in respect of
research and study (ss 40-43 Copyright Act)
newly created right of communication to public (ss 103A-C Copyright Act).
Review: possible ‘Fair Use’ for Australia?
Following US-FTA (why?)
Federal AG’s Dept – no
further limited exceptions
1.5.2. Educational institutions and libraries (“Statutory licence”)
Educational institutions and libraries may
digitise printed material
reproduce and communicate reasonable proportion of digital material for same purposes as permitted in printed environment (see Part VB Copyright Act).
A reasonable proportion of
published literary work
(excluding a computer program (s 135ZE) or
electronic compilation such as a database) or
published dramatic work in electronic form
10% of the words in the work or,
if divided into chapters, one chapter.
1.5.3. ‘Technical processes’ and ‘temporary copies’
Temporary reproduction of work that occurs as part of technical process of making or receiving an electronic communication:
is not infringement of copyright
provided making of communication is not infringement
this exception covers browsing and certain types of caching (for example, by a software browser on a user’s PC) (ss 43A and 111A Copyright Act).
unclear whether exception applies to hypertext linking, framing, or caching by a proxy server.
Remedies in relation to hypertext linking and framing may be available under trade practices legislation.
1.5.4. Computer software
Copies of computer software made in the normal course of running the program, for the purposes of
developing interoperable products,
error correction and
making back-up copies do not infringe copyright (ss 47B-47F).
1.6. Copyright infringement
digital technology, Internet facilitates
concealing of copyright works.
Protected work or material may be
scanned into a file server connected to the Internet,
uploaded onto the Internet via a network,
downloaded into a hard drive,
sent by email or
printed to hard copy.
Copyright infringement (of exclusive right to reproduce, adapt or communicate to public) will occur if work or material is
an original work, and
a substantial part is reproduced without authority
(see s 36 - copyright infringement generally, s 36(1) - copyright is infringed if act is undertaken inconsistent with terms of the copyright)
Infringement will not occur if:
the unauthorised use of the work fits within the above exceptions; or
a license from the copyright owner can be implied in the circumstances.
A substantial part (defined as a qualitative and not quantitative measure) of any copyright work must be reproduced to infringe copyright
(Autodesk v Dyason (1993) 176 CLR 300 - http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/high_ct/173clr330.html).
1.7. Penalties for copyright infringement
Copyright owners entitled to civil remedies for infringement
damages (including aggravated or exemplary damages) and
an account of profits (s 115 Copyright Act).
Criminalsanctions may also apply to:
manufacture or possession for purposes of sale and distribution of infringing works;
tampering with electronic Rights Management Information (RMI)
dealing in material whose RMI has been tampered with; and
manufacture and dealing in ‘circumvention devices’ (circumvent technological measures employed by owners to protect material) for purpose not a permitted purpose (s 132).
1.8. General comments
Copyright owner does not control medium in which idea is expressed:
you may freely buy then sell same book,
but cannot copy contents of entire book without copyright permission
If employee creates original work for employer, as general principle (subject to exceptions) employer owns copyright in work created
Non-employee: generally, if you commission a person other than employee to create original work:
you do not own work
unless creator formally assigns their copyright to you
assignment must be in writing
signed by or on behalf of creator
Copyright ownership may be:
joint (a work produced by two or more authors) or
divided eg unless otherwise assigned,
newspaper has copyright ownership of work created by journalist and published in newspaper,
but journalist retains copyright ownership re publication in book or film.
2. Licensing of Copyright
For most material used on the Internet, permissionto digitise is unlikely to have been obtained or included in any license agreement covering material
Ownershipof copyright in material may be unclear:
physical ownership of a work…
does not automatically confer copyright ownership
User accessing material on Internet must recognise:
when permission from copyright owner is required and
when a license to exercise the copyright should not be implied.
A copyright owner who
places material on Internet
without notifying user of any RMI or use restrictions
is likely to be giving an implied license to user to download or print
A website provider may
license software used in website to third parties
where it has right to license software
website provider or employee developed software in course of employment, or
relevant software development contract confers right to license or sub-license use of software to third parties.
3. Test for ISP Liability
ISP not authorise infringement of copyright merely because it provides facilities used by person to do something, the right to do which is included in copyright
ISP liable only if authorises copyright infringement,
determined according to:
extent (if any) of ISP’s power toprevent doing of act concerned;
nature of relationship between infringer; and
whether the ISP took reasonable steps to prevent or avoid the infringement.
little or no control over most copyright material not directly hosted on their servers (material to which they merely provide Internet connectivity), and
no relationship with person who places material on such sites
correspondingly limited liability
greater control over websites on their own servers and
need to consider reasonable steps to avoid authorisation liability for such sites
(ss 39B, amended by Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda)Act 2000 (Cth), and s 112C).
See also the BSA Sched 5 safe harbour rules: not liable unless aware, take down, etc.
The Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda)Act 2000 (http://scaletext.law.gov.au/html/comact/10/6223/top.htm) (CADA)
came into force on 4 March 2001
updates the law to ensure copyright extends to a full range of new media.
Its purposes include:
ensure efficient operation of relevant industries in online environment;
provide reasonable access and certainty for end users of copyright material online;
ensure that cultural and educational institutions can access copyright material online on reasonable terms (s 3 CADA).
(See also part 6 below - anti-circumvention provisions of CADA.)
Given changes created by CADA, Government reviewed legislation within three years of commencement (in 2003).
Overtaken by FTA
Major reforms imposed by the amendments include:
The new right of communication to the public – This is the most significant change and allows owners to control how their work is electronically transmitted and made available online. It is technology neutral and applies to literary, musical, artistic and dramatic work, as well as film and broadcast material available online. It also affords copyright protection to these types of online materials.
Exception to the owners right to communication – Generally most of the existing exceptions were extended to the digital environment, including fair dealing and the copying of 10% of an electronic text for research or study. Exceptions for libraries and archives has been broadened, including allowing the copy and electronic transmission of a work provided it has been requested by a user for research or study purposes and is not otherwise reasonably available; and making material available to the public in electronic form on a computer on the institution’s premises that does not allow electronic reproduction (e.g copying to a disk) or communication (e.g email). Lastly existing statutory licenses held by educational institutions authorising breach of copyright now extends to the digital environment.
Limitation of liability of ISPs – See section 3.
Some helpful links, that provide greater detail about the CADA reforms include:
Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts Fact Sheet about CADA http://www.dcita.gov.au/Article/0,,0_1-2_1-4_13287,00.html
ACT Department of Education, Youth and Family Services Overview of the Act –http://www.decs.act.gov.au/policies/pdf/Copyright_Amendment.pdf
Australian Law Online’s Outline of CADA http://www.law.gov.au/agd/seclaw/CopyrightAmendmentAct2000.htm.
See also changes in FTA;
Safe harbour rules as in US
Extend term by 20 years
6. Anti-circumvention in Australia
to control distribution and use of works, owners increasingly embeddingaccess and copy protection mechanisms in digital works.
circumvention of access controls often infringes copyright, and paves way for dissemination of protected material
permissibility of such technologies is controversial, no easy way of reaching balance between holders’ right to have work adequately protected and right of consumer to freely use legitimately acquired material.
Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 (CADA) contains provisions to criminalise devices for purpose of ‘circumvention, or facilitating circumvention, of any effective technological protection measures’ (now Part V Divison 2A of the Copyright Act).
similar to its US predecessor, the DMCA (see below).
Activities covered by the amendments include:
importation and manufacture of circumvention devices and circumvention services (s 116A Copyright Act),
removal or alteration of electronic rights management information (s 116B)
commercial dealings with works whose electronic rights management information is removed or altered (s 116C).
Altering electronic rights management information may include
importing copy of a work
communicating copy to public or
using a copy, knowing electronic rights management information removed or altered without permission of copyright holder (s 116C, s 116B)
CADA unsuccessfully used by Sony in case challenging legality of PlayStation ‘mod chips’.
6.1. Case Study: Sony Computer Entertainment v Stevens
Federal Court Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment v Stevens  FCA 906
Found: 'mod-chips' installed on Playstation consoles to circumvent copy protections do not breach new provisions of Copyright Act as amended by CADA because:
device did not prevent actual copying of games
Each time game inserted, Playstation checked authenticity by reading access code:
mod chips avoid authentication process, allowing pirated versions of game to run
but chips do not ‘prevent or inhibit infringement of copyright’, since actual ‘infringement of copyright’ occurs when game is copied, not when played.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (http://www.accc.gov.au)
intervened as amicus curae (friend of the court)
argued chips not have ‘limited commercially significant purpose or use, or no such purpose or use, other than circumvention’, since also worked to overcome Sony’s regional protection measures – a legal purpose
However, Fed Court did not deal with this issue
High Court 2005: upheld Federal Court
playing is not copying
temporary copies in RAM etc are OK
has other purpose (regional coding bypass)
7. Anti-Circumvention in the United States
America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_bills&docid=f:h2281enr.txt.pdf)
most comprehensive reform of United States copyright
seeks to update law to reflect copyright concerns of Digital Age
DMCA implements WIPO Copyright and Performance and Phonograms Treaty (see below). (http://www.wipo.org)
DMCA is divided into five titles:
Title I, ‘WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998,’ implements the WIPO treaties.
Title II, the ‘Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act,’ creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities.
Title III, the ‘Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act,’ creates an exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.
Title IV contains six miscellaneous provisions, relating to the
detailed outline of Act and chief provisions.
full version of legislation, other resources, hosted by Electronic Frontier Foundation, consumer rights group opposed to many applications of DMCA. 1998 American legislation is one of most widely discussed and controversial laws in the. gives sweeping protection to copyright holders by making almost all copyright circumventions criminal offences
detailed FAQ page about DMCA;
Anti-DMCA homepage – problems associated with DMCA
7.1. Case Study: United States v Elcomsoft
Russian software company ElcomSoft became the defendant in the first federal criminal prosecution under the DMCA’s anticircumvention provisions.
The Adobe eBook Reader enables electronic books to be read, moved between computers, backed up, printed, copied and to be read aloud through a text to speech feature. A publisher of a particular electronic book can disable any or all of the functions provided by the Adobe eBook Reader, which is usually done to protect the intellectual property in the book.
Dmitry Sklyarov, an employee of Russian software programmer ElcomSoft, designed the “Advanced eBook Processor”, which enables the user of an Adobe eBook Reader to disable restrictions that the publisher of a particular electronic book might have imposed. Among other things it meant that a reader using the Advanced eBook Processor could make copyright content available for unlimited duplication and distribution.
ElcomSoft sold the Advanced eBook Processor over the Internet. About 20 copies were sold worldwide, including nine in the United States. Adobe became aware that ElcomSoft had developed the Advanced eBook Processor and contacted ElcomSoft asking that they cease and desist from manufacturing and selling the software program. ElcomSoft refused and Adobe then alerted the United States Government who charged ElcomSoft with trafficking in, and offering to the public, a software program that could circumvent technological protections on copyright material.
7.1.2. Arguments at trial
The two key issues at trial were ElcomSoft’s state of mind during the period it offered the software, and the ‘fair use’ provisions of the DMCA.
Instructions by judge:
jury had to agree not only that ElcomSoft broke law,
no intention of doing anything improper when it created a program to provide eBook customers with more options for using content they purchased.
‘ElcomSoft believed at the time it was creating a program that would allow legitimate users of eBooks more flexibility’
ElcomSoft ‘were selling a burglar tool for software to make a profit’
ElcomSoft representatives knew law and willfully violated it,
emphasising ElcomSoft’s President and Managing Director’s admission about awareness of DMCA.
Public’s right to make fair use of copyright works is entrenched part of copyright law
US: ‘fair use’ seen as necessary to provide balance between copyright law and First Amendment guarantee of free speech.
ElcomSoft claimed DMCA brushes aside fair use rights of consumers protected by mainstream copyright law
asked jurors to compare generous rights afforded to paper book purchaser to rights afforded eBook purchaser.
purchaser of paper book can lend, resell, or give it away
Unlike paper book, eBook seeks to control what user can do with it
ElcomSoft argued their Advanced eBook Processor merely enabled persons, who had lawfully purchased the right to view eBooks from retailers, to make back up copies and to transfer text to other media for personal use under traditional ‘fair use’ rights.
Under cross examination Adobe engineer acknowledged his company did not find any illegal eBooks on Internet even after hiring two companies to search Web for unauthorised copies.
7.1.3. The decision
17 December 2002 jury acquitted ElcomSoft of all charges.
Jury Foreman Dennis Strader said:
‘Under eBook formats, you have no rights at all, and jury had trouble with that concept’.
jurors didn’t understand why million dollar company would put on web page an illegal thing that would ruin whole business if caught.
jury itself found DMCA confusing, easy for jurors to believe executives from Russia might not fully understand it!
8. Protection of Computer Programs
Copyright protection extends to the
source and object code of computer program
any expression of systems or methods,
but notfunctionality of program (covered by patent)
(Autodesk v Dyason (1993) 176 CLR 330;
Data Access v Powerflex  HCA 49 (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/high_ct/1999/49.html).
source code is protected as a literary work
definition includes computer programs (s10 Copyright Act).
developers may create functionally compatible software programs without infringing copyright provided no underlying expression is misappropriated (Div 4A Copyright Act).
The protection of online databases however is not so straightforward – see section 9.
Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) Act 2002 (Cth) (http://scaletext.law.gov.au/html/bills/0/2002/0/20020313copy.htm) i
Purpose: amend Copyright Act to allow parallel importing of:
in both electronic and print form.
Parallel importation is the importation of works which have been legitimately purchased overseas (i.e purchased without infringing the creator's copyright in the overseas country) by someone other than the authorised importer.
Believed that prohibition of parallel importation results in segregated market.
Its authorisation is aimed primarily at encouraging competition.
Some industry groups argue link between parallel importation and importation of pirated or infringing material.
because parallel importation weakens ability to identify importation and distribution of pirate copies
Bills Digest 133 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/bd/2001-02/02bd133.htm)
9. Protection of Online Databases
large volumes of database information online.
invest in collection of data and creation of databases, and information accumulated represents significant commercial value.
organizations discover online databases accessible not only to average consumers, but also competitors.
Protection is afforded to databases under the Copyright Act as a ‘literary work’
s 10 defines literary work to include
“table, or compilation, expressed in words, figures or symbols”
provided database is original within meaning of section 32(1) and
provided ‘traditional’ common law threshold of originality satisfied
databases considered as compilations, and qualify for protection as a literary work, bringing databases under protection of the Act (below).
9.1. Satisfying ‘Originality’
For copyright to subsist in compilation must show
database contains original content or
has sufficient labour, skill, judgement or ingenuity used in its selection and arrangement.
It is unlikely databases will satisfy requirement of originality:
most databases are a compilation
of material that is generally available.
‘ sufficient’ depend on particular facts of the case.
Australia’s position on standard of originality:
TR Flanagan Smash Repairs v Jones  FCA 625 (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/federal_ct/2000/625.html
applicant's motor vehicle database protected under ‘sweat of the brow’ doctrine
Justice Hely: copyright subsisted in databases because selection or arrangement of material, and sufficient skill, judgement and labour involved.
Telstra Corporation Limited v Desktop Marketing Systems Pty Ltd  FCA 612 affirmed this approach
If compilation argument is successful, generally
combination or arrangement of material in online database is protected,
rather than underlying information or data
in the database as an entire work
not in each individual piece of information that comprises the database.
9.2. Limitations associated with ‘online’ databases
Even if whole of database is considered to be subject to copyright, question remains: whether a substantial part of that database has been copied.
Substantial copying has been referenced to:
quality of the replication
rather than quantity.
Ultimately, this is a question of fact and degree depending on individual cases.
But doubtful if courts will consider taking a few pieces of insignificant data from a database as sufficient to constitute a substantial reproduction of the copyright work in that database.
Copyright Act s 32(1): author must be ‘qualified person’.
where computer program contributed or created an online database,
apparent requirement of ‘human’ authorship may not be satisfied.
Use of copyright to protect online databases is in Australia uncertain.
Even if given standing as compilation works,
difficulties in other elements of copyright, such as originality
10. The International Regime
first international doc protecting copyright 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (http://www.wipo.org/treaties/ip/berne/index.html),
3 basic principles:
National Treatment –prevents discrimination against copyright holders of other countries;
today shadowed by Berne
WIPO’s Copyright Treaty and
Performance and Phenograms Treaty 1996 (http://www.wipo.int/clea/docs/en/wo/wo034en.htm)
protect copyright in electronic media and computer programs,
updating the Berne Convention to reflect TRIPS.
WIPO Copyright Treaty
computer programs protected as literary works (Article 4)
arrangement and selection of material in databases protected (Article 5).
authors of works control rental and distribution (Articles 6-8)
(not under the Berne Convention alone)
WIPO Copyright Treaty also prohibits:
circumvention of technological measures for protection of works (Article 11)
unauthorised modification of rights management information in works (Article 12).
protection for exported works assured by in signatory country,
protection for imported works guaranteed by domestic legislation which reflect principles within these agreements
10.1. European Union Directives
Copyright of material on websites protected by
EU Directive 96/9/EC on the Legal Protection of Databases (http://europa.eu.int/ISPO/infosoc/legreg/docs/969ec.html)
classifies website as a database
protection to creator of databases from extraction and re-ultilisation of …
whole or substantial part of content of database,
based on qualitative or quantitative measurements
The EU Directive 2001/29/EC on theHarmonisation of Certain Aspects of Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society (http://europa.eu.int/information_society/topics/multi/digital_rights/doc/directive_copyright_en.pdf)
seeks to further harmonise copyright law across the EU
provisions encourage member states to ratify WIPO Copyright Treaty The Directive:
harmonises the rights of reproduction and distribution;
sets out a new right of communication to the public by wire or wireless (that is, by non-traditional, including electronic) means;
specifies an exhaustive list of optional exceptions to the rights;
imposes obligations on member states to protect technological measures employed by
rights owners to prevent unauthorised use and to protect rights management information attached to works by rights owners to enable them to keep control of their works; and
contains limited safeguards to enable legitimate users to use copyright works. (http://www.pro.gov.uk/about/copyright/copyright_directive.pdf)
11. Case Study: Napster
In 2001 Napster agreed to comply with court orders forcing to restrict access to copyright materials available via their site.
Nine record companies and other rights holders, including Sony Music and Capitol Records had sued Napster for copyright infringement
A & M Records Inc, et al v Napster Inc (http://www.riaa.com/pdf/napsterdecision.pdf).
Napster provided a central registration and indexing facility for end-user sharing of MP3 files. By sharing files through uploading and downloading, the US Court of Appeal found that Napster’s subscribers were dealing with musical copyright works in breach of the true copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and distribution under US copyright law.
Napster, although not itself engaging in direct copyright infringement,
nevertheless had both actual and constructive knowledge of direct infringement by its subscribers, and
therefore contributed to breaches.
Further details of copyright issues raised by Napster: http://www.digital.org.au/issue/napster.htm.