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Unit of study_

LAWS5180: IP: Copyright and Designs

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

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.

Unit details and rules

Unit code LAWS5180
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
LAWS3033 or LAWS3423 or LAWS3480
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Kimberlee Weatherall,
Lecturer(s) Louise Buckingham,
Kimberlee Weatherall,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation hurdle task Presentation
Presentation on tutorial question
0% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment hurdle task Written assessment following presentation
Written assessment following presentation
40% Ongoing 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Short release assignment Final assignment
Problem questions and/or essay.
60% Week 13
Due date: 02 Nov 2023 at 16:00

Closing date: 05 Nov 2023
4000wds / 72 hrs
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

Presentation: Students are required to:

  • be ready to discuss all the exercises and their chosen presentation question allocated to their tutorial. These are provided at the start of semester in the Tutorial Pack. Students should prepare all the exercises, and if there is more than one presentation question, the student need only prepare/comment on the one they are assigned to.
  • post one comment on the Discussion board, on their presentation question, the day before class.
  • engage with the teacher during the relevant class, and answer questions about the exercises and their presentation question. The teacher may call on them for their views as a starting point for class discussion of the questions.

If you miss your allocated class, you will require special consideration applied for and granted in the usual way, in which case an alternative should be negotiated with the relevant teacher: it could be participation on the Discussion Board and submission of written work, or it could be doing a different question later in the Semester. It is the responsibility of the student to talk to their tutor to negotiate an alternative.

Sign up will be via a Google Doc on Canvas. An announcement will be published once sign up is open. The number of people for each question will be capped, so be sure to sign up early if you feel strongly about what question you do.

Written response: 2000 words, following the presentation on a tutorial question. The written answers must be prepared alone and submitted via Canvas within one week of the class at which you present.

Final short release 72 hr assignment in week 13. Released 4pm, 30 October 2023 (Sydney, Australia time); due 4pm, 2 November 2023 (Sydney, Australia time). Comprised of problem questions and/or essay questions. Limit of 4000 words. Referencing in accordance with AGLC version 4; do not include a bibliography.

Word count penalty: A piece of assessment which exceeds the prescribed word limit will attract a penalty of 5% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment for every 100 words, or part thereof. The total word count for essay and other written assessments will exclude: bibliography; footnote numbers; footnote citation; cover page and include: body text; headings and sub-headings; quotations; anything other than numbers and citations in footnotes.

Use of editors or proof-readers: The use of assistance in preparing and editing assessment tasks in this unit of study is strictly prohibited. Assistance includes human and automated writing tools (not including spell checking).  The use of Studiosity does not breach this rule but must be acknowledged.  

Special consideration: Successful grants of Special Consideration may involve alternative tasks, as appropriate. 

Assessment requirements to pass a unit of study: A student must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks set out in this Unit of Study in order to obtain a Pass mark and grade (or above); otherwise an Absent Fail grade will be recorded as the student’s result for this Unit of Study. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Contains striking originality of approach or analysis.
  • Demonstrates exhaustive or innovative research (where independent research required).
  • Exceptionally well written, structured and expressed.
  • Is otherwise exceptional in some way.


75 - 84

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Achieves a critical and evaluative approach to the issues.
  • Content and structure is well organised in support of the argument.
  • Demonstrates extensive research and analysis to support a well-documented argument.
  • Generally well expressed and free from errors.
  • Has a clear structure and is well articulated.


65 - 74

  • Covers main issues fairly well in answering the question.
  • Contains no significant errors.
  • Demonstrates an attempted critical approach to the issues.
  • Demonstrates reasonably sound research and analysis in addressing the key issues.
  • Has a clear structure and reasonably clear expression.


50 - 64

  • Identifies the key issues, but does not follow through with a reasoned argument.
  • Contains some significant errors.
  • Displays satisfactory engagement with the key issues.
  • Offers a descriptive summary of material relevant to the question.
  • Superficial use of material, and may display a tendency to paraphrase.
  • Demonstrates little evidence of in-depth research or analysis.
  • Adequate expression.
  • Overall, demonstrates the minimum level of competence in the assessment and satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies in the degree or subject area.


0 - 49

  • Does not answer the question.
  • Contains significant or numerous errors.
  • Few or no identifiable arguments.
  • Content that is inappropriate or irrelevant.
  • Lack of research or analysis.
  • Difficult or impossible to understand through poor grammar, expression or structure.
  • Overall, does not demonstrate the minimum level of competence in the assessment.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The late submission of a piece of assessment, which has not been granted an extension, will attract a penalty of 5% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment per 24 hr period or part thereof (as indicated by the SpeedGrader default in Canvas). Late penalties do not apply to exams and any late submissions will not be accepted.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Lectures on copyright; design (for detailed timetable see Canvas site) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Tutorials are an opportunity for practice in problem solving as well as policy-based discussion. Tutorial materials will be provided at the start of semester. Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: All students are required to attend 70% of live classes (or as otherwise specified by the Unit Coordinator) to satisfy the pass requirements for each unit of study. Attendance requirements may be satisfied by in person or online attendance as specified by the Unit Coordinator. Failure to meet this requirement may result in a student being precluded from sitting the final assessment.

Referencing: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your footnoting style, although you should confirm this with your lecturer, and a link to the library website where this is set out comprehensively is available at

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Kathy Bowrey, Michael Handler, Dianne Nicol, Jane Nielsen and Kimberlee Weatherall, Australian Intellectual Property (3rd ed) (Oxford University Press, 2021)

As the rights you will be studying are creatures of statute, you will need to acquire the Copyright Act 1968 and the Designs Act 2003 and will need also to refer to various treaties including TRIPS and the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Chapter 17.

Students may choose to obtain access to the legislation via the Federal Register of Legislation or Australia’s IP legislation and treaty obligations are usefully collected in the LexisNexis Legislation Series: Intellectual Property Collection 2020 (Publisher: LexisNexis; ISBN: 9780409351668; Published: December 2019).

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. describe the structure of the Australian copyright system
  • LO2. describe the policy goals of copyright law, evaluate how well copyright serves those goals, and analyse how those policy goals apply in the context of technological and economic change
  • LO3. apply the legislation and case law relating to copyright in Australia to new fact scenarios
  • LO4. resolve questions of interpretation in copyright drawing on legislation, case law, and copyright's policy goals
  • LO5. describe the structure and policy goals of registered design law in Australia
  • LO6. apply the legislation and case law relating to designs in Australia to new fact scenarios
  • LO7. describe and apply to new fact scenarios the rules relating to the overlap between copyright and design law in Australia
  • LO8. describe the system of international intellectual property treaties and how they impact on Australian intellectual property laws (in particular, copyright and designs)

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes for 2023.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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