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Intellectual Property Essay

3885 words - 16 pages

INTRODUCTIONCopyright in the digital era raises the issue of whether our courts should adjudicate disputes case by case or simply update the law to allow for a more neutral application. The following essay aims to discuss whether technology neutrality is an ideal goal for copyright law.Copyright LawCopyright law works by granting a range of exclusive rights in relation to the copyright work to the copyright owner, and then qualifying those rights by granting certain exceptions to them. In doing this, copyright law purports to strike a balance between the owners of copyright material and those who wish to use that material. In recognising the interests of those who wish to use copyright ...view middle of the document...

They have a structure whereby all participants in that digital network share amongst themselves for their 'private use', the digital product that the established interests, for instance, record companies claim they are the owners of the copyright material.The centrepiece of the Copyright (Digital Agenda) Act 2001 (Cth) is the copyright owners new exclusive right of communication to the public. The right is not intended to be technology specific, but by virtue of the new definition of 'communicate' it applies only to electronic transmission or making available on-line.The protection of intellectual property through copyright is integral to Australia's economy in the Digital Age, to the exploitation of intellectual property, whether it is in the area of computer software, music or other areas of the arts, including literature. It is fundamental to properly protect that intellectual property. Equally, however, it is important to balance the ability of ordinary Australians to access information so that they can develop skills.In Australasian Performing Right Association Limited v Telstra Corporation Limited the case involved music (in which the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) owned copyright) played to persons 'on hold' on the telephone. A major problem in relation to the existing Copyright Act was the problems in interpreting the diffusion right in S.26. ".... the diffusion right, is a complicated, technical provision that does not serve either copyright users or copyright owners well in the new communications environment."One of the aims of the Copyright (Digital Agenda) Act 2001 (Cth) was to replace this diffusion right with a broadly based technology neutral transmission right to comply with the extended communication to the public right in the new WIPO treaties.What is Technology Neutrality?Technology neutrality is more a political buzzword than a clearly defined legal concept. It means that the law should not discriminate between different forms of technology. Technology neutrality is a key concept within not just new Copyright legislation but other legislations, for example, Privacy Act and Electronic Transactions Act. It is used primarily due to the inability to track/predict where or how the computer age will unfold. Hence it is believed that legislation should, for example, in the Copyright Act, be non-specific as to technology, raising the question of "technology neutral" or "technology specific". The theory behind technology neutrality being "low maintenance" legislation.Its use in the Copyright Act means that copyright owners have the right to control dissemination of their works regardless of the type of technology used.There are many critics of the legislature's belief in technological neutrality that argue:"One of the vogue ideas around ... is the notion of technology-neutrality... the concept is dubious in any context and, in the Internet context, it is a vain hope. Attempts to frame legislation which we believe...

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