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”.

[Read more…]

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