copyright act

Do I have an implied software license?

A licence to use software usually authorises the terms of use of the products by an end user.   These types of licences are usually entered into by express agreement and the passing of consideration (Dundas Lawyers previously discussed software licence agreements here).  However, there are circumstances where a licence to use software may be implied from the surrounding circumstances.  This article discusses the recent Federal Court case of QAD Inc v Shepparton Partners Collective Operations Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 615 which considers factors which might give rise to an ‘implied licence’.

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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…]

How much copying results in copyright infringement?

Copyright can subsist in many types of works.[1]  Often, the written word will give rise to copyright.  This is known as Literary Works.[2]  However, this also means that infringement of Literary Works is quite common.  This article outlines what may constitute Literary Work and how the Court will assess an alleged infringement. [Read more…]

Proposed amendments to use of orphan works

On 13 August 2020, Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, announced amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act).  The amendments follow two (2) years of stakeholder consultation, and finalise the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Intellectual Property Arrangements Report.  The reforms focus on the use of “orphan works”, with an aim to provide a framework for copyright that is fit for the digital age. [Read more…]

Intellectual property assignments and the right to sue

The process of identifying and protecting intellectual property (IP) rights often involves entering into IP assignment deed to transfer rights to another entity.  There are various reasons why parties will want to do such an assignment including asset protection and for the purposes of commercialisation.  The question that often arises after an assignment has occurred is whether or not the recipient (or assignee) of the IP has a right to sue for past infringement of the rights obtained. [Read more…]

Adaptions, computer code and copyright

An adaption in copyright is the exclusive right of the owner of the work in question.  Section 10 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act) defines adaption as it relates to literary works in dramatic and non-dramatic forms, in a computer program and in relation to a musical work.   The rights that apply to adaptions in different separate classes of literary works differ according to the respective category in question. [Read more…]

Innocent infringement of copyright

Under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act), copyright infringement occurs regardless of whether it is intentional or not.  Artistic works are particularly susceptible to copyright infringement, because it is possible for two individuals to separately come up with the same idea, reproduce it in a material form, publish it and communicate it to the public.

The result is that an infringer may think they are absolutely entitled to exploit what they consider to be there IP, despite allegations to the contrary.  To deal with this situation, section 115(3) of the Act provides the special defence of “innocent infringement”. [Read more…]

Copyright, code libraries and ownership

In Australia, copyright automatically vests in certain types of literary works, including computer programs and artistic works, upon their creation.  The general rule is that the owner of copyright in a literary or artistic work is the author of that work.[1]  An exception to this rule arises if the work is made by an employee pursuant to the terms of their employment.  In this case, the employer owns the copyright subsisting in the employee-generated work.  However, the distinction of whether an employee has created the work pursuant to the terms of employment, is not always clear.  This issue was considered in the case of Redrock Holdings Pty Ltd and Hotline Communications Ltd v Hinkley [2001] VSC 91 (Redrock). [Read more…]

Groundless threats of copyright infringement

It is often argued that intellectual property rights create an imbalance of power that is open to abuse by rights holders.  In an effort to counter this, section 202(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act) provides remedies for groundless threats of legal proceedings for copyright infringement.  This article will discuss the elements that define a threat as “groundless” and the remedies available when such a threat is made. [Read more…]

Sales of counterfeit poles breach IP rights

The Australian sellers of dancing poles Vertical Leisure Ltd and Dance4Me Pty Ltd (Vertical Leisure) have been awarded AU$394,800 in damages, after a competitor Skyrunner Pty Ltd (Skyrunner) sold of inferior copies of dancing poles using promotional materials of the brand “X-Pole”.

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