On 5 April 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a major copyright dispute that had wound through the federal courts for over a decade. In a 6-2 decision written by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court held that Google’s copying of roughly 11,500 lines of declaring Java code for Google’s mobile Android platform was a fair use as a matter of law and thus not copyright infringement. The decision addresses the application of copyright law to software and updates and extends the Supreme Court’s copyright fair use jurisprudence. Read our recent client alert here.
The first substantial amendments to China’s Copyright Law in 20 years were passed in November 2020 and will come into effect on 1 June 2021 (the Amendments). The Amendments primarily focus on enhancing protections for copyright owners, better aligning China’s Copyright Law with international standards, and implementing the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances that entered into force in April 2020.
The heavy deterrence-related focus of the revised Copyright Law will strengthen protections for copyright owners, particularly relating to digital piracy.Read More
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up Herman Miller, Inc.’s appeal from a Ninth Circuit holding that partially overturned a jury verdict and held that Herman Miller’s popular Eames office chair (average retail price US$1,200) is not “famous” enough to qualify for trade dress dilution protection. The Supreme Court’s denial of Herman Miller’s petition means the Ninth Circuit’s decision will stand.Read More
On Monday, 21 December, U.S. Congressional leaders passed a spending bill that included government funding and folded in several controversial intellectual property provisions that will expand the rights of intellectual property owners. These provisions include the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforce (CASE) Act, the Trademark Modernization Act (TMA), and a law to make certain illegal streaming a felony. The bill was signed into law by President Trump on 27 December 2020.Read More
In the recent judgment State of Escape Accessories Pty Limited v Schwartz  FCA 1606, Justice Davies of the Federal Court of Australia found a fashionable neoprene tote bag was not a “work of artistic craftsmanship” and therefore not an “artistic work” for the purposes of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act). Since the Court found that copyright did not subsist in the State of Escape bag (the Escape Bag), there was no finding of copyright infringement.Read More
In April, we wrote about the judgement Boomerang Investments Pty Ltd v Padgett (Liability)  FCA 535 (Decision), in which Glass Candy and Air France were found to have infringed the copyright in the well-known 1970s hit song “Love is in the Air” (Love).
Now, in the recent judgement Boomerang Investments Pty Ltd v Padgett (Scope of Injunction)  FCA 1413, the Federal Court of Australia has finalised the injunctive orders necessary to give effect to the Court’s earlier conclusions on the issue of liability in the Decision, amongst other matters.Read More
One thing is clear about artificial intelligence (AI) and intellectual property (IP) at the moment: there are more questions than answers. Who should be author? Who is responsible for a work’s liability? What about moral rights? Is a computer programme capable of making an ‘inventive step’ or forming an ‘intellectual creation’ normally reserved for humans? And for those Matrix fans – should we let machines make decisions for us, lest we become seen as the planet’s true virus?
In September 2019, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) launched a much-needed conversation on IP and AI, and consulted with member state representatives on the potential impact of AI on IP. Over the course of the consultation, WIPO received more than 250 responses from a wide range of global stakeholders.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 11 June 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the referral from the Belgium Companies Court (Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liège) arising from copyright infringement proceedings by Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton) against a Korean company Get2Get Chedech (Get2Get) relating to its folding bike.
The decision is good news for designers and creative businesses as it lays a foundation for new opportunities for copyright protection and enforcement in Europe. This evolving area of law now requires a low threshold for protection, with a suggestion from the CJEU that minor creative choices in products will be sufficient for a finding of copyright protection.Read More
In its recent judgment (Boomerang Investments Pty Ltd v Padgett (Liability)  FCA 535), the Federal Court of Australia has found that an American electronic musical duo copied the celebrated Australian disco song ‘Love Is In The Air’. The decision confirms that the sound of lyrics as sung forms part of a musical work. Furthermore, a short sung lyric with attending music can be the ‘essential air’ of a song.
While determining only “modest” levels of copyright infringement occurred and dismissing most claims for damages, Justice Perram described the copying as “flagrant” and indicated there will be a further hearing to assess damages.Read More