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  • the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) 12 ATAR

  • intention and purpose of IP in Australia in relation to copyright and/or design of digital products 12 ATAR



A. What is intellectual property? Copyright is part of an area of law known as intellectual property. Intellectual property law protects the property rights in creative and inventive endeavours and gives creators and inventors certain exclusive economic rights, generally for a limited time, to deal with their creative works or inventions. This legal protection is designed as a reward to creators to encourage further intellectual creativity and innovation, as well as enabling access by the community to the products of intellectual property. Because intellectual property protects rights, rather than physical property, intellectual property is an intangible form of property. It is property which cannot be seen or touched. Intellectual property is the general name given to the laws covering patents, trade marks, designs, circuit layouts, plant breeder's rights and copyright. Each of these forms of intellectual property is protected by a specific Act of the Commonwealth Parliament. The framework for these Acts is largely based on Australia's obligations under international treaties.


B. REF: 

Copyright protection is free and automatic in Australia and protects the original expression of ideas, and not the ideas themselves.


Common works protected by copyright are:

  • books
  • films
  • music
  • sound recordings
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • artwork

Copyright also protects originally created:

  • typographical arrangements
  • databases
  • media broadcasts
  • computer programs
  • compositions of other people's work such as academic journals or CD compilations

Australian copyright is administered by the Attorney-General's Department.

How it works

The moment an idea or creative concept is documented, on paper or electronically, it is automatically protected by copyright. Because it is automatic in Australia, there is no official registry or application process for copyright protection.

Copyright protection is provided under the Copyright Act 1968 and gives you exclusive rights to license others in regard to copying your work, performing it in public, broadcasting it, publishing it and making an adaptation of the work. Rights vary according to the nature of the work. Those for artistic works, for instance, are different from those for literary and musical works.

Copyright doesn't protect you against independent creation of a similar work. Legal actions against infringement are at times complicated by the fact that a number of different copyrights may exist in some works - particularly films, broadcasts and multimedia products.

Copyright laws differ from country to country, however Australia is party to a number of treaties that increase the copyright protection of international works.

The Australian Copyright Council provides more information on copyright, including international considerations.

Ref C: 

Copyrighted materials in a typical business could be items such as the following:

  • annual reports
  • software creation
  • feedback forms
  • training materials for software


Answer these questions

1. What does intellectual property law protect? (use your own words based on Ref  A above)
2. What are the references to digital products in the bulleted lists for Ref B?
3. In Australia, do we need to apply for copyright protection? (Ref B)
4. In Ref C above, list items that involve IP for software development.
5. In your opinion, which of the items from question 4 above, could also be applied to the school environment. 

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Learn more HERE from Michael Paterson Barristers and Solicitors 

Updated October 26 2017 thanks to feedback from teacher and students from Applecross SHS, Perth West Australia using the following form.

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