This unit covers copyright and designs law, both recognised branches of intellectual property law. Their existence is often justified on the presumption that they encourage the exercise of inventive, creative and entrepreneurial skill and labour. The protection these areas of law provides is said to enable commercial exploitation of the resulting works or designs. This unit focuses on the requirements for the copyright and design protection and investigates the bases upon which infringement action can be brought. Particular emphasis will be placed on the expanding scope of copyright and the implications of the internet, as well as provisions in the Copyright Act intended to address the apparent overlap between copyright and design protection. Although the unit of study will emphasise legal doctrine and be taught from the perspective of a relatively depoliticised formalism, it is also recognised that the deployment and the regulation of intellectual property inevitably have substantial cultural, technological and economic consequences, which in turn inform and shape the development of legal doctrine. So, for example, Gone With The Wind, as a literary work still under copyright, is both an asset with a monetary value and the focus of a civil rights activism which demands the right to imitate the work for social and political criticism and parody. There will, accordingly, be some attention paid in this unit to the cultural, technological and economic consequences of intellectual property laws, to the significance of access to the public domain and to the effects of international trade pressure in the area.
2 x 2hr seminar/week for 10 weeks
Two options: (1) 5,000wd research essay (50%) and 1.5hr exam (50%); or (2) 2.5 hr examination (100%). Subject to change.
LAWS3033 or LAWS3423 or LAWS3480