Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2014



Current Issues in Copyright requires no prior copyright knowledge: the introduction to the course will be taught lecture style to provide foundational principles for newcomers to the field and a refresher for those who already have some familiarity with copyright law. The remainder of the unit will be conducted seminar-style. Readings for each topic will be assigned in advance, and students will contribute short position papers in response throughout the semester. Courteous debate probing all sides of the various issues and identification of the underlying assumptions and value judgments will be encouraged.

The nature of this unit is that it is ever-changing: as new legal and policy issues challenge global and national copyright regulation, they'll be added to the curriculum. Having said that, the following provides a useful overview of the kinds of topics that are likely to be dealt with:

  • The orphan works problem - how might the law be reformed to give better effect to the underlying aims of the copyright law?
  • Large-scale digital copyright infringement - why do people commit infringement? Is a legislative response the best solution?
  • Secondary liability of Internet Service Providers and graduated response laws
  • Protection of computer-generated works and factual compilations
  • Circumvention of technological protection measures and 'jailbreaking'
  • Copyright exceptions - reforming Australia's limited copyright exceptions framework. Should we have a dynamic 'fair use' exception? Should timeshifting to remote storage be permitted? What about tributes, remixes and mashups?
  • Moral rights - how does Australia's moral rights regime stack up internationally? Does it reach an appropriate balance?
  • Regulation of online infringement and 'bit roots' internet activism. Why did Bills like SOPA/PIPA fail?

Student input into the development of the curriculum is encouraged. If you wish to propose a particular issue for inclusion within the subject in any given year, please email the lecturer with your suggestion as early as possible.


Upon completion of this unit students should:

  1. have an appreciation of the policies and objectives underlying national and international copyright regulation;
  2. be able to critically comment on those policies and objectives (both orally and in writing) and to relate them to proposals for law reform;
  3. have an appreciation of the basic features of the international rules governing the protection of copyright and the way in which they shape domestic and international laws;
  4. be able to think laterally to propose potential reforms, and to critically evaluate their likely impact upon current policy challenges;
  5. have an understanding of the impact of technological change on the formulation and protection of the rights studied; and
  6. have enhanced their skills of case analysis and statutory interpretation.


Three short position papers during semester (1500 words each, 3 x 20%): 60%
In-class presentations of position papers (3 x 10%): 30%.
General class participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 24 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.