Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, University of New South Wales
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


OMG! IceTV Won!! (6-0!)

According to a press release on the IceTV website, IceTV have won in the High Court!!!

IceTV's General Manager, Matt Kossatz notes:
“Today’s decision is the news that we (IceTV), our staff and our loyal subscribers have waited 3 long years to hear. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support.”
UPDATE: THE HIGH COURT DECISION IS AVAILABLE HERE (6-0!). We will read and digest the judgment and get back to you!

More information about the case's history is available in our last few posts about IceTV here and here.

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Monday, March 30, 2009


What's Coming Up At the UIP 2009 Conference

It's got to be something good to get me out of my current thesis hibernation and this definitely is - here are a few more details on the upcoming Unlocking IP conference!

Unlocking IP 2009 Conference –
National and global dimensions of the copyright public domain

16-17 April 2009 - UNSW Sydney

UNSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre invites you to register now for an international conference from the 'Unlocking IP' ARC research project, which investigates how Australia's digital commons, both the public domain and public rights created by open content and open software licensing, can be expanded and protected. It focuses on 'self help' actions within the existing statutory context, in Australia's distinct legal and cultural context, and on comprehensiveness - we offer preliminary results from the first survey of Australia's digital commons, with data from National Library of Australia.

The conference includes reports and case studies from the front line, where new models for sharing and trading intellectual property meet the reality of business, government and educational demands, new technological opportunities and lessons learned from implementation of licences like Creative Commons and Free for Education. Book publishing under hybrid business models at Sydney University Press, online user generated content using Wikimedia, and international initiatives like the US' and China's IP abuse rule are featured, alongside detailed analysis of emerging legal and policy directions.

A highlight of the conference will be the launch of the 2009 Consumers International IP Watchlist. Arising from the CI Access to Knowledge project, the list identifies countries whose IP policies and practices are harmful to consumers. It is used as a counterbalance to the United States' "Special 301" Report, which is an annual report highlighting countries that supposedly do not provide strong enough protection for the interests of US intellectual property owners.

The venue is Law Faculty of UNSW, Kensington Sydney, close to beaches, parks and Sydney CBD.

Details of speakers and the program are here.
Register here!

See you there!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Conference: International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property

From Professor Kathy Bowrey:

Forthcoming ISHTIP Conferences

First Annual ISHTIP Workshop:
The Construction of Immateriality
Practices of Appropriation and the Genealogy of Intellectual Property
Bocconi University,
Milan Italy
26-27 June 2009

Call for Papers is here and Conference Information here


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Unlocking IP Conference - Registrations Now Open

Sophia blogged earlier about the upcoming Unlocking IP Conference 2009.

The registration form and draft program is now available.

Hope to see you there!

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Monday, March 02, 2009


Unlocking IP 2009 Conference: "National and Global Dimensions of the Public Domain"

The UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre will be hosting the 3rd ‘Unlocking IP’ Conference at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, from 16-17 April 2009.

A registration form will be available here shortly.

The Conference will include both invited and submitted presentations. We invite proposals for papers relevant to the theme of the Conference. Please refer to the Conference Call for Papers page for details. The deadline for submission of full papers or extended abstracts is March 4, 2009.

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Friday, February 06, 2009


Digital Britain Report, revisited

Last week I wrote a very short post about the interim Digital Britain report. But I've been reading more of TechnoLlama's analysis, and it's... not very positive. At all. I'm sure I gave the impression last week that the British government was being progressive with this, but then I read Andres Guadamuz's latest post. So that this blog post isn't too short, I'll quote a paragraph:
Continuing with the coverage of the interim Digital Britain report, something has been bothering me since I read it, so I went back and browsed through it again until I realised what it was. According to the UK's chief technology policy-makers, we still seem to be living in the 20th century. Why? Several reasons: the only mention to Web 2.0 is in the glossary; some of the technologies being pushed are proved failures with the public; it believes DRM offers a solution to piracy; it blatantly ignores the content delivery revolution that is about to take place; but most importantly, it ignores user-generated content by insisting on the outdated view of the top-down content provider.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009


The True History of Copyright - Policy Observations

I just found, picked up, and perused The True History of Copyright on housemate Bond's desk (see her original post here). Ben Atkinson has done a lot of research into the context in which our copyright laws have been made. I haven't read it all, but just looking at the contents I was interested by the last chapter: Chapter 15 - Policy Observations. These observations are of particular interest to me because it's something I will be addressing in my thesis. But I still thought they were of general enough interest (at least to readers of this blog!) that I'd share the headlines with you:
  1. The Berne Convention precipitated the creation of modern copyright law
  2. Early legislators tried to qualify the scope of copyright
  3. 20th century legislators paid little attention to the question of incentive or production
  4. Copyright does not confer an automatic right of remuneration
  5. Legislators did not try to "balance" the interests of owners and users
  6. Copyright legislation regulates taxation in gross of non-commercial (or non-competing) users to the detriment of public welfare
  7. The structure of the Australian Copyright Act reflects sectional interest
  8. Public interest considerations were raised consistently in policy and legislative debates
  9. The pursuit of authors' rights led to the creation of analogous producers' rights
  10. Copyright protection did not cause the economic success of the copyright industries
  11. APRA's revenue demands led to the creation of Article 11 bis(2) of the Berne Convention and the Australian Copyright Tribunal
  12. The record industry asserted the mechanical performing right opportunistically
  13. The role of individual agency is underestimated in analysis of copyright
  14. The commercial struggle for control over the broadcast of sport precipitated the Gregory Committee enquiry
  15. The origins of Australian copyright policy orthodoxy lie in the Spicer Report and the second reading in the Senate of the 1968 Copyright Bill
  16. The parallel importation provisions of the Australian Copyright Act were carried over from imperial legislation
  17. Australian legislative debate has seen two great statements of principle: the first over the posthumous term and the second over import controls
  18. The content of the modern copyright law of Australia is the entire creation of international conventions and British precedents
  19. Doubts over term persisted at the official level until the 1950s
I suppose the above list is pretty much a summary of the conclusions of the book. Of course there are 422 pages leading up to those conclusions, and the conclusions are 19 pages longer than I've presented them above. That is, these statements are supported by significant in-depth research.

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Friday, January 30, 2009


Should we change the law? or the prople?

Via Jessica Coates, I quote directly:
Those interested in digital copyright policy might be interested in the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport's 'Digital Britain' Interim Report, which was released this week.

Section 3.2 seems particularly relevant:

'There is a clear and unambiguous distinction between the legal and illegal sharing of content which we must urgently address. But, we need to do so in a way that recognises that when there is very widespread behaviour and social acceptability of such behaviour that is at odds with the rules, then the rules, the business models that the rules have underpinned and the behaviour itself may all need to change.'

It also recommends the creation of a Rights Agency to:

'bring industry together to agree how to provide incentives for legal use of copyright material; work together to prevent unlawful use by consumers which infringes civil copyright law; and enable technical copyright-support solutions that work for both consumers and content creators. The Government also welcomes other suggestions on how these objectives should be achieved.'
I like the idea that the Government might not just be about maintaining the status quo. I often feel that the 'majority opinion' concept is ignored (not only in the field of copyright).

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Thursday, January 22, 2009



I'm still at, attending the talk "Seven things lawyers don't understand software." It's good, but not quite as entertaining as the previous talk, where the speaker was dressed in a Star Trek uniform, and made an absolutely brilliant analogy between Klingon culture and Perl, and talked about a Perl module (called autodie) that aims to bring Klingon culture to Perl.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Time for a Break

This morning I emailed my House of Commons housemates with some news, that they in turn encouraged me to share with you: I am stepping down from the House of Commons for a while while I finish off my thesis. I'm about four months away from submitting my thesis (I think!!) and it's a very funny feeling - it feels like all of a sudden three years have passed and you have a limited amount of time left to deal with this thing that has dominated so much of your life. When I got back to work after the New Year it was interesting reading all the posts on other blogs about January 1 being 'Public Domain Day' - every day is public domain day for me at the moment.

I thought about writing a final post musing on copyright and the commons, but currently I'm working on my chapter on colonial copyright, and I'm looking forward to getting back to it. And if I was going to muse on any topic it would be that: colonial copyright, or historical copyright issues. When I started my PhD a little under a three years ago, I knew that my thesis would involve 'mapping Australia's copyright commons' - that is its (current) title after all - but it wasn't until I started looking at the various colonial statutes, and then the Copyright Act 1905 (Cth) that a number of distinctly Australian issues began to emerge. In the end, I think I've ended up writing about 10 percent of what I originally planned to, because so many different issues came up from these older statutes that are still relevant to, and have an impact on, the Australian public domain and the creations contained within that space today.

I won't go into the details of this now; with the upcoming Unlocking IP 2009 conference coming up, that is a more appropriate forum. So I'll finish off with a few thank my fellow housemates Abi Paramaguru, Ben Bildstein and Sophia Christou, who will fill you in on all the juicy copyright gossip during my absence; my supervisors, Kathy Bowrey and Graham Greenleaf; and to you, our wonderful readers, for your support and engagement with our blog.

I'll be back at the House of Commons in June, look forward to writing to you all then!

P.S. There is, of course, one exception to my blogging vacation: if the Federal Government responds to the Copyright Law Review Committee Crown Copyright report. Will we get to four years without a response...?


Monday, January 19, 2009 2009

I'm at at the University of Tasmania (my old uni), sitting next to Nic Suzor (who will give a talk on gaming+law later in the week), and listening to Pia Waugh talk about how to run an open source business.

And of course, being LCA, they have free (as in free beer) wireless.

I'll blog more, but possibly not today. I had to get up at 4:20am this morning, to drive my partner to the airport, and despite the two coffees I've had, my head's not entirely together right now.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Creative Commons Asia Pacific Conference 2009

The 2009 Creative Commons Asia Pacific Conference will be hosted by the Arellano University School of Law, Manila, on the 5-6 February 2009.

Visit the Philippine Commons website for further information about the Conference, as well as other local CC developments and events.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Obama's transition website freely licensed... and the online commons quantification implications is the web site of Obama and Biden's transition to government, and they've licensed the content with a Creative Commons Attribution licence. Kudos.

But when I read about this on, I went to and couldn't find any reference to Creative Commons. I looked at the HTML source and there was no reference to Creative Commons. It turns out that there is a page on the site about copyright policy, and this has a statement that covers all other pages on the site.

If this kind of licensing (having one page on your site that states that all other pages are licensed, and then linking to that page from all other pages on the site) is common (and I think it is), it means that just counting links to Creative Commons (or any other licence, for that matter) gives you a pretty bad estimation of the number of licensed pages out there.

As an example of what I'm talking about, consider the following comparison:
So our naive methodology for quantifying the online commons - i.e. counting links to Creative Commons licences - says that of these two sites, which are about the same size, and are both wholly licensed with Creative Commons licences, the first one contributes 230 times as much to the commons as the second.

I beg to differ.

(For more on this topic, and some ways it can be tackled, see my paper from iSummit. And stay tuned for more.)

(via, via

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What does 'non-commercial' mean to you?

From Creative Commons, originally posted by Mike Linksvayer:

As previously announced, Creative Commons is studying how people understand the term “noncommercial use”. At this stage of research, we are reaching out to the Creative Commons community and to anyone else interested in public copyright licenses – would you please take a few minutes to participate in our study by responding to this questionnaire? Your response will be anonymous – we won’t collect any personal information that could reveal your identity.

Because we want to reach as many people as possible, this is an open access poll, meaning the survey is open to anyone who chooses to respond. We hope you will help us publicize the poll by reposting this announcement and forwarding this link to others you think might be interested. The questionnaire will remain online through December 7 or until we are overwhelmed with responses — so please let us hear from you soon!

Questions about the study or this poll may be sent to

Some of the earlier questions are oriented towards content creators. I answered 'not applicable' to a lot of them. I thought the question that asks you to define non-commercial use was interesting. I'll share mine in the comments on this post, and I encourage you to do the same (so don't read the comments until you've done the questionaire!).

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