CPD Event Report: Copyright & Law Firms

Image by Horia Varlan from Flickr, used under CC BY 2.0
Roshan Khadka from the Copyright Agency gave a presentation on Copyright Licensing and the Copyright Act to 11 ALLA (WA) members yesterday, 20th May 2015.

While law firms are regularly assisted by helpful sections in the Copyright Act 1968 (s 43), most people don’t realise that they are in fact violating the Copyright Act when:

  • A fee earner or staff member emails an news article to another fee earner or staff member about a client or current situation
  • A fee earner forwards a news or journal article – something published – internally to another employee or externally on to a client or a friend
  • A staff member goes to a competitor’s website, downloads an article or newsletter that the competitor firm has written and forwards it internally to another staff member.
  • A fee earner is writing an article for marketing purposes and needs to research the position and therefore downloads a mass of articles from their LexisNexis subscription (this isn’t even covered by the classic “for the purposes of research and study”)
  • Human Resources trawl a competitor’s website and download a mass of CVs for headhunting purposes
  • Someone downloads a news article, saves it on the network or to a document management system in order to link to it in the staff newsletter

The Copyright Agency provides annual blanket licenses covering organisations for these sort of purposes. In light of increasing pending infringements – some unearthed through the use of tracking cookies in articles and downloads (534 at last count, 180 against mining companies and 7 against unnamed law firms), it would be prudent for all organisations to look into blanket licensing via the Copyright Agency. It really is surprisingly affordable (seriously!), and even more so when faced with the prospect of a fine.

Thank you to Natalie McDonald and Luise Crisafulli for organising the event, and to Justin Booker for providing the venue.

ALLA(WA) Member - Kelly Underwood
Senior Researcher, Squire Patton Boggs (AU)


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