In February 2020, we wrote about the Federal Court’s decision in Hardingham v RP Data Pty Ltd, in which Justice Thawley held that RP Data (the operator of a real estate commercial information database) did not infringe copyright owned by Real Estate Marketing (REMA) and its sole director, Mr Hardingham, in images and floorplans created for real estate listings. Justice Thawley found that REMA/Mr Hardingham had effectively authorised the use of their copyright materials by RP Data, via a chain of implied licences and sub-licences from REMA/Mr Hardingham to real estate agencies, to the operator of realestate.com.au and ultimately to RP Data. This was despite the fact that there was no clear or written agreement between REMA/Mr Hardingham and the real estate agencies to whom the copyright images and floorplans were supplied.Read More
Reforms to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act) are just around the corner, and after two years of extensive stakeholder consultation, the Government has finally proposed a limited liability scheme for use of orphan works. The proposed reforms were announced by Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, on 13 August 2020.
This proposed amendment will favour the cultural, educational and broadcasting sectors in Australia who will soon be able to use and display works for which a copyright owner cannot be identified or located without risk of copyright infringement, and will result in an important public interest benefit.Read More
On 16 December 2015, another chapter (and perhaps the final chapter) closed in the long running dispute between the rights holder of the film Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) and six Australian ISPs. Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed DBC’s application for preliminary discovery of the identities of over 4,000 Australian BitTorrent users who allegedly shared copies of the film.
As we reported in April 2015 (see here), Justice Perram initially ruled in favour of DBC ordering six ISPs to disclose the details of 4,726 customers. However, the Court was concerned this information would be used to write to account holders making demands for payments very much excess of what might actually be recovered in any actual suit (a practice known as “speculative invoicing”). To address this concern, the Court adopted the novel approach of making the release of account holder information conditional on DBC submitting for the Court’s approval a draft of the letter of demand proposed to be sent to the relevant account holders.
Earlier this week the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) delivered its judgment in the case of Tamawood v Habitare Developments, a copyright infringement case in respect of project home designs.
Habitare Developments had engaged designer/builder Tamawood to create designs for project homes for a new development. However, due to a falling out between the parties, Habitare Developments ultimately engaged architects Mondo to create the final plans for the development and engaged another builder to construct the houses. Tamawood commenced proceedings against all parties for copyright infringement. The respondents denied that Tamawood’s designs had been used as a starting point and that copyright had been infringed.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC v iiNet Limited  FCA 317
In November 2014, IP Law Watch reported on attempts by the rights holder of the film Dallas Buyers Club to compel Australian ISPs to disclose the identities of BitTorrent users who allegedly shared copies of the film.
On 7 April 2015, Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia ruled in favour of Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures LLC, ordering six ISPs to disclose the details of 4,726 customers.
The judgment has been widely reported in the Australian media as a landmark decision and a game changer in the battle regarding online piracy. In fact, the kind of order granted by Justice Perram is far from revolutionary. For many years, civil procedure rules at both state and federal levels have enabled a party to seek orders requiring a third party to produce documents or give evidence as to the identity of a prospective respondent. There are decisions going back as far as the 1970s in which this kind of preliminary discovery order has been granted (see for example Exley v Wyong Shire Council (10 December 1976, Master Allen, unreported) and Stewart v Miller  2 NSWLR 128).
The film Dallas Buyers Club won critical acclaim and earned Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Now the rights holder of the film, Dallas Buyers Club LLC, is looking to pursue Australians who it believes have illegally downloaded the film.
The company has issued proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against iiNet Limited and four other internet service providers, seeking orders to have them disclose the identities of the alleged pirates. iiNet has indicated that it will defend the action. Read More