IT Law

Government surveillance bill passed by Parliament

On 25 August 2021 Federal Parliament passed the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2021 (Bill).  The Bill modifies various acts, including the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth) (SDA) and the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (CA), to enhance the law enforcement powers of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in respect of serious online crime.[1]  The Bill introduces three (3) new warrants:

  • data disruption warrants;
  • network activity warrants; and
  • account takeover warrants.

[Read more…]

Can email trackers be submitted as evidence?

Whether email trackers, read receipts and similar indicators that show an email has been received and, ostensibly, read can be submitted as evidence has not been substantially considered in standing jurisprudence.  This article briefly considers whether, in light of existing case law, email trackers can be submitted as evidence. [Read more…]

International companies can be bound by Australian privacy laws

The recent determination by the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angele Falk, (Commissioner) in Commissioner Initiated Investigation into Uber Technologies, Inc. & Uber B.V. (Privacy) [2021] AICmr 34 (Uber) provides further guidance on the extraterritorial connection of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Act) though the ‘Australian link’ set out in subsections 5B(2)-(3) (Australian Link).  This article discusses how the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC) will assess whether an entity has an Australian Link to legally bind international entities to the Act. [Read more…]

Ransomware Payments Bill 2021 (Cth)

Ransomware is a type of software which maliciously denies an organisation access to their own IT systems and often threatens to release information within such a system subject to the payment of a ransom.  The government believes ransomware attacks are Australia’s largest cyber threat.[1]  The Ransomware Payments Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) intends to establish mandatory reporting requirements for all of Commonwealth entities, State or Territory agencies, corporations and partnerships who make ransomware payments pursuant to a ransomware attack.  The Bill would see such organisations provide notice to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). [Read more…]

Can an AI be an inventor under the Patents Act 1990 (Cth)

In the recent decision of Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879, Beach J rejected the Deputy Commissioner of Patents’ (DCP) determination that, due to the inventor being named as an artificial intelligence system (AI) rather than a human, a patent application did not comply with the Patents Regulations 1991 (Cth) (Regulations). [Read more…]

Software royalties and income tax

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recently released a draft Taxation Ruling (TR) 2021/D4 (Draft Ruling) which considers whether certain software related royalties may be taxable.  In short, the Draft Ruling provides a much needed, and quite broad, scope for when consideration of computer software will be a royalty for income tax purposes.  This article discusses this broadened scope. [Read more…]

Non-fungible tokens – the new way to own IP?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been making headlines recently for being sold at auction for enormous sums of money.  Business school drop-out turned American DJ, 3LAU, apparently sold his NFT collection just over a month ago for $11.6 million USD ($15 million AUD).[1]  Grimes, otherwise known as Claire Boucher, a prominent musician and partner to Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, sold multiple digital artworks amounting to a total of $6 million USD ($7.79 million AUD).[2]

So what are NFTs and how can they help you protect your intellectual property (IP)? [Read more…]

Unjustified threats of trademark infringement

Where a party threatens another with legal proceedings for trademark infringement the recipient of the threats may have grounds to commence proceedings for making unjust threats.  In other words where the threats are unjustified the recipient may apply to the Court for relief from the unjust threats. [Read more…]

Can artificial intelligence be the inventor of a patent?

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised some interesting legal issues.   One such issue is whether the AI itself can be the ‘inventor’ of a patented invention in Australia.   The recent decision of the Commissioner of Patents of Stephen L. Thaler [2021] APO 5 (Thaler) explores what it means to be an inventor.   This was done to determine whether a “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience” (DABUS) – an artificial intelligence machine developed from what is known as “Creativity Machine” technology can be named as an inventor for the purpose of an Australian patent application. [Read more…]

Explaining the Media Bargaining Code

On 18 February 2021, social media company Facebook made the decision to prohibit the publishing and sharing of links (Links) from Australian media companies (News Companies) on the site.  This ban came into effect almost immediately after the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 (Cth) (Media Bargaining Code) passed the House of Representatives.  The ban has roadblocked News Companies from 9 News to the Bureau of Meteorology and even the beloved satirical news provider, The Betoota Advocate.  This article analyses the proposals of the Media Bargaining Code and what the legal effect of non-compliance may be. [Read more…]

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