In a rapidly changing landscape of mass communication, the internet and social media, disputes over copyright are more common than ever.

We act for a broad range of clients in relation to copyright, from international fashion designers and film studios, through to software designers and street artists. We have experience in assisting copyright owners assert their rights through a range of strategies, from licensing and assignments, to infringement actions. We are also experienced at representing clients accused of infringing copyright.

Whether you are in a dispute over copyright ownership, or you need advice in relation to the commercial use of your work, our intellectual property (IP) lawyers will be able to guide you through this complex area.

Protection

Copyright is the right to control the copying and distribution of original literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, films, sound recordings, published editions and broadcasts. In Australia, there is no register for copyright, as it is granted automatically upon creation of the copyright material. Copyright protects many different kinds of material from great art, through to instructions on how to use a microwave, computer programs, photographs and buildings.

Copyright arises once an idea is expressed in fixed form. For example, once a design for a logo has been created either on paper or electronically, it will be automatically entitled to copyright protection. The copyright will normally belong to the designer or their employer, even if the logo was commissioned by somebody else. It is possible to have an agreement that the copyright in the logo to be created by a design company will immediately belong to the person who commissioned it.

Disputes over copyright ownership are common, particularly when several people have created the work, or it has been shared online. Copyright owners should treat their copyright like any other valuable property and be meticulous in keeping dated copies of their work, as well as copies of any letters or emails submitting their work to others. They should also include copyright ownership statements on their material.

Our IP lawyers are experts in copyright ownership and protection, and we have a proven record in helping clients protect their rights. If you are unsure of your rights and obligations in relation to copyright, you can be confident that our IP lawyers have the experience and expertise to help you.

Who to contact

BA LLB (Hons)

Margaret has devoted her professional career to helping clients in the intellectual property (IP) space protect, commercialise and enforce their valuable rights. With over 25 years’ experience in private practice, Margaret is versatile, being able to draft and negotiate IP agreements as well as represent clients when their rights are infringed. Margaret possesses a detailed knowledge of IP law, as witnessed by her lecturing in IP at Victoria University and having contributed to the Copyright section of the legal encyclopaedia, The Laws of Australia. She uses this expertise to give practical, commercial advice to her clients.

To find out more, please contact Margaret at margaret.ryan@pof.com.au

*Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.