Crosstown Music bitten by partial assignment of copyright

Crosstown Music of California has lost their claim in the English courts to ownership of a portfolio of copyrights consisting of songs written by Mark Taylor and Paul Barry in the 1990s.  The case demonstrates the power of a partial assignment of copyright to secure performance of a primary obligation (in this case the obligation of a publisher to pay royalties to a songwriter).  Although Australian copyright law is the same as the English law considered by the court in this case, if the dispute had occurred in Australia after commencement of the read more...

Subjects: Contracts | Copyright

A guarantee of non-infringement for software supplies to Australian “consumers”?

From 1 January 2011 software will be characterised as goods for the purposes of the consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).  Suppliers of software will likely amend their standard licence terms to mitigate the risk of unlimited liability for losses suffered by Australian "consumers" as a result of the software infringing a third party’s IP rights.

Who does this affect?

The new laws raise issues for all software licences with Australian end-customers where either:

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“To each cow its calf and to every book its copy” – three strikes passes privacy muster in Ireland

Privacy issues raised by the settlement of the Irish peer-to-peer copyright litigation were dismissed by the Irish High Court in a decision made on 16 April.  This cleared the way to the implementation of the settlement between the music industry and Eircom, one of Ireland’s largest ISPs.

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Subjects: Copyright

Digital downloads not “goods”

The Supreme Court of New South Wales has confirmed that the supply of software through a digital download fulfilment mechanism is not a supply of "goods" for the purposes of the sale of goods legislation.  The result, which had been anticipated by commentators and practitioners for many years, may lead to legislative reform.

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Subjects: Contracts | Copyright

Court sorts copyright ownership dispute

The Federal Court of Australia has reminded us that an independent contractor commissioned to develop software may be taken to have agreed to assign equitable ownership of copyright in the software.

The case is Intelmail Australia v Vardanian [2009] FCA 1018.  Justice Moore reviewed the principles to be applied when implying terms into an oral contract, confirming the following:

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