Copyright

What is a software licence agreement?

A software  licence agreement (Software Licence Agreement) is a contract where one party (Licensor) grants to another party (Licensee) the right to use the defined software.  It is often used by software developers (Developers) so that they can build and own a core application, customise it for particular clients and provide them with a licence to use the core.  In many cases this licence has been the start of a substantial business enterprise.  The term Software Licence Agreement can apply to both installed software as well as cloud based applications.  That said cloud based Apps are commonly referred to as “Software as a service contracts” or SaaS Contracts because they involve the right to access and use a software application as opposed to a right to reproduce the code. [Read more…]

s115A Copyright Act – infringement outside Australia

Section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) came into effect on 27 June 2015 and was amended on 11 December 2018 pursuant to the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 (no. 157, 2018) (Online Infringement Act).  The effect of the amendments as described in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill were to amend the threshold test from ‘primary purpose’ to ‘primary effect’, add a rebuttable presumption that an alleged ‘online location’ is located outside Australia, to extend the scope to online search engines (Deindexing Orders) and allow the Court to make “more responsive” orders in terms of injunctive relief. [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…]

Infringement of copyright in computer code

Computer code, like other literary works are automatically protected by copyright.  Subject to exceptions, only the copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce a literary work in which copyright subsists, pursuant to section 31 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act).   Generally the reproduction of another programmer’s code without their consent amounts to an infringement of copyright – section 36 of the Act.
[Read more…]

Who owns the code?

Who owns the computer code is an important issue not just for employers but also IT contractors, who may utilise their own code libraries, and business associates embarking on joint software development projects.  This question can be critical when attempting to commercialise intellectual property, raise capital or applying for a government grant.

[Read more…]

Introduction to intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP), in the Australian legal context, is much more than copyright and trade marks, it includes confidential information, registered designs, trade secrets, patents and plant breeder’s rights.  The protection of intellectual endeavours has been something which the law has recognised for centuries and something which the innovation agenda has embraced.  IP is becoming increasingly important as organisations strive for competitive advantage in the innovation age (click here or insert).  IP rights arise at both common law and statute and aim to protect a broad category of rights over the fruits of intellectual efforts. These rights fall into two (2) distinct categories, those that are registerable and those that are not.

[Read more…]

Government’s response to Productivity Commission’s report on intellectual property

The Australian Government has released its response to the Productivity Commission’s report into intellectual property arrangements in Australia.  The Productivity Commission (Commission) made numerous recommendations, a number of which were major departures from the current arrangements in Australia.  This article discusses these recommendations, the government’s response, and what amendments to intellectual property laws we may expect to see in the near future. [Read more…]

Send this to a friend