New seminar series 2014

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Seminar: The leaked copyright infringement draft (7 August 2014)

Careers & Current Awareness in Intellectual Property: “Getting Involved in Reforming Copyright: An Overview and an Opportunity for Students” (7 August 2014)

When: Thursday 7 August 2014, 5:00pm
Where: QUT GP Campus, P Block, Level 4, Room P419

In a discussion paper circulated by Attorney-General George Brandis, and leaked by Crikey last Friday, the government proposed a sweeping change to Australian copyright law. If implemented, it would force ISPs to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent Australians from infringing copyright. These steps could include blocking peer-to-peer traffic, slowing down internet connections, passing on warnings from industry groups, and handing over subscriber details to copyright owners. The proposed amendments could also dramatically broaden the range of actors who may be liable for infringing acts. This is potentially very concerning for universities, schools, libraries, cloud service providers, and other organisations who provide internet services that can be used to infringe copyright.

Join us for a discussion of the proposed amendments and how you might be able to get involved in writing the QUT IP & Innovation Program’s law reform submission to the public consultation process.

Speakers will be:

  • Dr Nic Suzor (QUT Law School)
  • Alex Button-Sloan (Research Asst, QUT Law School)

Please send RSVPs to Nicolas Suzor <n.suzor@qut.edu.au>.

The QUT Intellectual Property Program hosts a series of discussions aimed at giving assistance to students interested in career opportunities in the intellectual property field, and to provide awareness about current events in IP. The series will help QUT students understand what it takes to be an IP professional, what jobs are available in the field, and give guidance on how to network effectively in IP. It provides awareness of current cases and law reform issues of relevance to students interested in IP and hoping to work in the field.

Any queries can be sent to Dan Hunter, Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation, QUT Law School dan.hunter@qut.edu.au.

Brandis’ leaked anti-piracy proposal is unrealistic

Originally posted on The Conversation by Nicolas Suzor and Alex Button-Sloan.

The Australian Government has proposed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should monitor and punish Australians who download and infringe copyright.

In a discussion paper circulated by Attorney-General George Brandis, and leaked by Crikey last Friday, the government proposes a sweeping change to Australian copyright law that would force ISPs to take steps to prevent Australians from infringing copyright.

Borrowing a Stairway to Heaven: did Led Zeppelin rip off a riff?

Originally posted in The Conversation by Nicolas Suzor and Eleanor Angel.

More than 40 years after the release of Stairway to Heaven, English rock band Led Zeppelin are facing allegations that its iconic guitar riff was stolen from Taurus, a song released in 1968 by the American rock band Spirit.

The two riffs are clearly similar: they share a four-bar instrumental guitar passage with similar harmony, tempo and stylistic features. Businessweek has created a short game where you can test your skill at telling the two apart.

But is this enough for Spirit to demand a share of the credit – and the royalties?

Current awareness seminar: copyright law reform, 15 May 2014

The QUT Intellectual Property Program hosts a seminar series to provide current awareness for IP practitioners and students, as well as career discussions for students interested working in intellectual property.

The next event is a discussion of current issue in copyright reform, covering important topics such as the recent Australian Law Reform Commission report on copyright, international developments in copyright law including WIPO treaties and the mooted Trans Pacific Partnership, and recent significant decisions.

Free-riding, cooperation, and ‘peaceful revolutions’ in copyright (post-print draft)

I have a new article in press with the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. I’m interested in comments on the post-print draft. Abstract:

Modern copyright law is based on the inescapable assumption that users, given the choice, will free-ride rather than pay for access. In fact, many consumers of cultural works – music, books, films, games, and other works – fundamentally want to support their production. It turns out that humans are motivated to support cultural production not only by extrinsic incentives, but also by social norms of fairness and reciprocity. This article explains how producers across the creative industries have used this insight to develop increasingly sophisticated business models that rely on voluntary payments (including pay-what-you-want schemes) to fund their costs of production.

Seminar: Practicing IP Law: A Career Discussion

We are delighted to announce a new series of discussions aimed at giving assistance to students interested in career opportunities in the intellectual property field, and to provide awareness about current events in IP. The series will help QUT students understand what it takes to be an IP professional, what jobs are available in the field, and give guidance on how to network effectively in IP. It will also provide awareness of current cases and law reform issues of relevance to students interested in IP and hoping to work in the field.

This week, we have a panel discussion on practicing IP law, with speakers who have practiced as patent and trade mark attorneys, and as IP barristers and solicitors.

What: “Practicing IP Law: A Career Discussion”

Baidu’s perfect paradox: free speech and the right to censor

Originally posted on The Conversation, by Suzannah Wood and Nic Suzor.

China’s biggest search engine has a constitutional right to filter its search results, a US court found last month. But that’s just the start of the story.

Eight New York-based pro-democracy activists sued Baidu Inc in 2011, seeking damages because Baidu prevents their work from showing up in search results. Baidu follows Chinese law that requires it to censor politically sensitive results.

But in what the plaintiffs’ lawyer has dubbed a “perfect paradox”, US District Judge Jesse Furman has dismissed the challenge, explaining that to hold Baidu liable for its decisions to censor pro-democracy content would itself infringe the right to free speech.