But yes, this remarkable feat has indeed been achieved. From the Attorney-General’s Press Release for World IP Day:

“Every section of our community benefits from copyright,” Mr Ruddock said.

“For example, copyright ensures that ANZAC Day and the rich literature and artwork which record wartime experiences, are respectfully used and the creators properly rewarded.”

The recent release of the Australian film Kokoda, which tells the wartime story of an Australian platoon sent to patrol a village on the Kokoda track in New Guinea, demonstrates the vital role that creative industries play in our community.

“The film also reminds us of the many fine literary accounts by Australians of this pivotal moment in our history,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Whatever the medium, copyright plays a critical role in encouraging artists to inform, educate, entertain and inspire Australians.'”

Wow. In more important news, IP Australia have a new website, the IP Media Centre, which seeks to explain IP for journalists. It has some useful summaries of various IP laws.

A quick break in transmission message.

Life trumps blogging, and right now, there are more important things going on. Ben and Sarah may still be blogging, but for me – well, check back in a week or so.

Yes, all the copyright experts I know were predicting this result: London’s High Court has ruled that Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown did not infringe the copyright of an earlier book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The decision seems to affirm a basic fact: copyright does not protect ideas or facts, and an author can draw on ideas, facts, and even fictitious histories in writing new work. A good, if obvious result, it seems to me. And now the pliaintiffs end up with a very nasty costs bill: 85 per cent of Random House’s legal costs, which could top 1 million pounds ($A2.4 million).

The judge clearly did not believe the plaintiffs. According to The Age,

‘[Justice] Smith said it was not for him to decide whether Baigent [one of the plaintiff authors] was “extremely dishonest or a complete fool”, but called him a “thoroughly unreliable witness”.’

In the end,

‘It would be quite wrong if fictional writers were to have their writings pored over in the way DVC (Da Vinci Code) has been pored over in this case by authors of pretend historical books to make an allegation of infringement of copyright’

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today announced the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will review Schedule 7 of the Anti­Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2005 and the provisions of Part IIA of the Crimes Act 1914. The Terms of Reference are not yet on the website, but I’ve copied them over the fold. Interesting that the terms ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of artistic expression’ don’t make their way onto the terms of reference at all, since that was part of the public debate that led to the reference. But certainly ‘any related matter’ is broad enough to cover those issues.

It’s a really tight timetable though – the press release says that the ALRC has to report by May 2006. Doesn’t the government want a real review? (more…)

It looks like the SCO litigation is hotting up a little. IBM has reportedly issued subpoenas to Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Sun and BayStar Capital in relation to their dealings with SCO. (more…)

This (in the intriguingly named Jeremy Jones and on behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry v The Bible Believers* Church ) is one of the more unusual. Note in particular the letter attached to the reasons of Justice Conti.

UPDATE: the decision appears to have been removed from AustLII. No idea why. Sorry!

Next week, the Arts Law Centre is providing a week of FREE seminars, workshops and advice clinics on legal issues relevant to the multicultural communities in Melbourne. They’re running in Fitzroy. The event is a partnership between the Arts Law Centre of Australia, Multicultural Arts Victoria, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the City of Yarra. (more…)

Following on from our mention in the AFR, LawFont is now mentioned in lawyersweekly.com.au.

Again, the article has a focus on the gossipy law blog/blawg rather than those that go for serious discussion, but we do get a mention as one of “a small number of Australian legal bogs” — hope they meant “blogs”! :-)

‘The entire corpus of published printed material produced in a year, including books, newspapers, and periodicals occupies between 50TB – 200TB, depending on the compression technology. This amount could now easily fit in a refrigerator-size disk array.

So now it is becoming technologically feasible for all recordable information to be accessible by everyone on the planet. The barriers to accessibility are not technical in nature, they are social, legal, and economic.’

Hal Varian, ‘Universal Access to Information’, Communications of the ACM, October 2005, Vol 48(10) at 65.

A little while ago I blogged about Ex parte Carl A. Lundgren, a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the US Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO). In that decision, the Board overturned the Examiner’s objection to the patent, holding there is no separate “technological arts” test in determining whether a process is statutory subject matter. The decision potentially broadened the patentability of what you might call ‘pure business methods’ – those not instantiated in ‘technology’ (like software or hardware). (more…)

President Bush has reportedly nominated Harriet Miers to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat on the US Supreme Court.

The New York Times is reporting that Australians Win Nobel Prize in Medicine — Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won for their 1982 discovery that helicobacter pylori is the predominant cause of peptic and gastric ulcers. Very neat work that was completely at odds with then-accepted wisdom.

It is encouraging to hear that the education of students affected by Hurricane Katrina will not go neglected.

Several school districts throughout the country are taking on elementary and secondary school children, whose numbers are thought to exceed 200,000.

In addition, a number of universities (including law schools), both public and private, have offered places to college and graduate school students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. (more…)

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting on a lecture given by an Oxford academic to the Australian Catholic University in which it was said that “It is 97 per cent certain God raised Jesus from the dead – based on logic and mathematics, not faith”. According to the story:

Professor Swinburne, who gave a public lecture at the Australian Catholic University last night, said probability calculus showed a probability of 97 per cent. The probability God existed was one in two. That is, God either did or didn’t. And it was one in two that God became incarnate.

Professor Swinburne suggested a one-in-10 probability that the gospels would report the life and resurrection of Jesus as they did. The chance of all these factors coming together, if the resurrection was not true, was one in 1000.


« Previous Page