Identifying the creators of online content in a converged digital environment
Dr Niloufer Selvadura
The increasing sophistication of peer-to-peer file sharing technologies, search engine algorithms and social networking systems have changed the dynamics of online content creation. As technology has altered the manner in which online content is created and expanded the means of transmission, the issue of how to properly identify the creator of an online communication has become more subtle. This issue took centre stage in Google Inc v Australian Competition and Consumer Commission because the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) sought to establish that Google had directly contravened s 52(1) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (now s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law which forms sch 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) rather than contend that Google had merely aided, abetted, counseled or procured contraventions by its advertisers. The words ‘engage in conduct’ in s 52 required the ACCC to establish that Google was itself the creator or originator of the representation. The purpose of the present article is to consider in what circumstances a party, whose primary role is to facilitate the communication of content on the internet, such as a search engine provider, should be held responsible for misleading representations made in content supplied by a third party.
The move to online publishing of news has widespread implications for the interests of the journalist author, the producer of news and for the consumer. The change in interests is profound. As those with vested interests attempt to adjust to this new environment, there are those that attempt to gain advantage from arising uncertainties.One such practice which has emerged is that of news aggregation. While news aggregation services vary, the practice will often involve use of existing copyright material and leveraging from information and expression collected or created by another provider. This article considers in what circumstances news aggregation may be permissible under copyright law, examining current litigation and whether amendment or clarification of the Australian law is desirable.
The impact of law on media reporting of earthquakes in Christchurch 2010–11
Ursula Cheer and Sarah Rosanowski
Do disasters cause media to abandon legal and professional protocols? This paper discusses the results of a socio-legal empirical project carried out in New Zealand investigating the legal aspects of media reporting in the series of damaging earthquakes that afflicted the Canterbury region in 2010 and 2011. The study, which was based on a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews, investigated how privacy and other sensitive issues were dealt with, how media dealt with access issues, and whether standards such as accuracy and fairness were affected. The study also incorporated a background literature review investigating legal aspects of media reporting overseas, particularly in natural disasters. Results suggest that no serious legal issues arose for media in the Christchurch disaster. Further, the level and nature of complaints arising from the media coverage in the disaster period suggest that the regulatory systems and laws in place operated appropriately in quite serious circumstances. Notwithstanding this outcome, we do recommend that further research into a formal disaster accreditation system for media, an agreement for media pooling, and clearer protocols may be justified.
The controversy between The Observer journalist Nora Beloff and the satirical magazine Private Eye involved two different legal actions (one grounded in copyright and the other in defamation) that resulted in very different outcomes. Although Beloff won the libel claim, her copyright case failed dramatically. Some commentators argue that the main problem resided in the way in which her copyright case was framed. Instead of a matter of copyright, it should have been litigated as an action for breach of confidence. Despite — or perhaps because of — the problems in articulating the claim, the decision precipitated a series of biographical accounts that tried to explain why the action took place. This article reconstructs the copyright claim from the circumstances and context in which the plaintiff initiated the action to the ruling made by Ungoed-Thomas J. In doing so, the article examines the tactics developed by her solicitors to appreciate what is an often neglected area of copyright scholarship: the struggle to deal with the failure of an action.
Recent developments relating to exceptions and limitations in EU copyright law