Lecturer: Michael Handler (2015)

What is the course about?

Intellectual Property 1 looks at the laws of copyright and designs, which are two bodies of legislation and case law referred to under the collective term ‘intellectual property’. IP1 is one of two sister courses on intellectual property law (the other sister being Intellectual Property 2). IP1 provides an in-depth examination of copyright law, from the basics of what copyright law protects (for example, books and films, but other content you might not have thought of, such as computer programs, compilations and video games) through to how it achieves that protection. The course also examines a range of normative questions - is the term of copyright too long? Do we need special protection for Indigenous creations? Are there some types of content that copyright shouldn’t protect?

Why does this subject interest you?

Copyright is an area of law we interact with on a daily basis often without realising. When we write an email, type out an essay or take a picture of a friend on our iPhone, we’ve created copyright-protected material, which we have rights over for the rest of our lives (and then our heirs take over those rights). IP1 interests me because it’s about exploring these legal relationships and developing skills to interpret them into the future.

Any advice to give for students interested in taking this course?

Classes are interactive and rely on a lot of audio-visual material - but that means students need to be prepared for class in advance, so we can jump right into the issues.

How will this course be relevant in the future?

We create and interact with intellectual property every day of our lives - IP1 equips you with the skills to understand and negotiate the relationships that copyright and designs create.

Student: Mary Azzi (2014)

Please give us a brief overview of the main topics studied in the course

The course deals with the main areas of copyright law, such as authorship, originality, ownership, infringement and defences. It also briefly touches on moral rights and designs. The content is highly relevant to students due to the fact that we’re surrounded by copyright subject matter in our day-to-day lives – from films to photos and even buildings. The knowledge you learn is not only fascinating but also very practical, because copyright law affects us all.

What were the course assessments and your thoughts about them?

When I did the course there was an optional class participation component, a mid-semester essay and final take- home exam. We were given multiple questions to choose from for the essay. The questions touched on a number of controversial and topical areas of copyright law. The option I chose allowed me to analyse an area of copyright law and propose options for reform. This allowed me to broaden my knowledge base and critically engage with commentary written on the subject. I even analysed a hilarious YouTube video to help advance my argument! The take-home exam was fair and we were given adequate time to complete it.

What did you like about the course?

This was one of my favourite electives due to the topical nature of the content. We often studied cases not long after the decisions were handed down (such as the iiNet decision) and I found this very exciting. The content was also relatable to students, such as when we covered issues pertaining to peer-to-peer file sharing. This made class discussion very fun and engaging. The course was also very well structured. My lecturer took the time to thoroughly go through each legislative provision that was relevant to the course and help us understand it. The course outline also very neatly listed all legislative provisions and case law that were relevant to each topic. This was a great help to me when I was writing my notes and completing my take-home exam. The textbook was easy to follow and the readings were quite manageable. My lecturer often played YouTube videos to help us better understand some concepts and case law. This made the classes even more enjoyable.

What could be improved?

Because it took a while to get through all the copyright topics, I felt that the lesson on moral rights was very rushed.

Do you have any other thoughts or comments?

Copyright is a constantly evolving area of law, so be prepared to learn about cases that aren’t in the textbook!