Expertise

Copyright

Gilbert + Tobin has one of the leading copyright practices in Australia.  Our team has run some of the largest and most challenging copyright cases ever conducted in this country.  Gilbert + Tobin has a singular reputation for always being at the forefront of copyright law and our lawyers excel in helping clients navigate the legal complexities that arise through the convergence of media, and the digital transformation or disruption of industries.

Some of the practice’s landmark cases over the last decade which have tested the boundaries of copyright law in the digital era include the Cooper and Kazaa cases, IceTV, the Roadshow/iiNet case and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia v Commercial Radio Australia.

These test cases have set the benchmarks in Australia for issues such as authorisation liability in the digital environment, the right of communication, safe harbours, the broadcast right, live streaming, information works and originality in copyright works.

Gilbert + Tobin also has the leading Australian Copyright Tribunal practice which specialises in complex copyright licence rate-setting cases in Australia.  These significant cases have involved determining the licence fees payable for the use of copyright content across a wide range of different industries including the music, radio, television, fitness, restaurant and nightclub industries.

We act for marquee clients in the media and entertainment industry including both the recording and motion picture industries, a rarity amongst other law firms.  The music industry have been clients with Gilbert +Tobin for over 20 years.  We also advise software and database suppliers and users, internet and technology companies, broadcasters, consumer electronics companies, publishers and advertisers, media monitoring agencies, and governments and other public institutions.  No other law firm in Australia acts for such a renowned portfolio or such a diverse range of clients with interests in copyright.  Our clients invest significant resources into their IP and we are dedicated to ensuring it is protected.

Gilbert + Tobin’s copyright lawyers are known for their fierce advocacy in copyright matters, for partnering closely with their clients to achieve their commercial objectives, and for finding innovative and ground breaking solutions to highly complex copyright disputes, particularly in the digital space.

We continue to lead the market in copyright in Australia, however measured, whether it be range and standing of copyright clients, volume and value of work or high profile cases. As a part of our broader IP practice the group also works closely with the Gilbert + Tobin Trade Mark and Patents teams – providing clients the full suite of IP services.

Our Services

Our copyright specialists have experience in all areas of copyright, particularly copyright issues in new technologies and the digital environment.  Their services include:

  • Litigation and defence - We run more copyright trials and appeals in our Federal Courts than any other Australian copyright practice. Many of our test cases have been ultimately determined by the High Court of Australia.
  • Seeking urgent and extraordinary relief – Our team has extensive experience in urgent interlocutory court processes including obtaining preliminary discovery, Anton Piller and Mareva orders, and additional damages for copyright breaches.
  • Anti-counterfeiting – We regularly rely on actions in copyright to deal with counterfeit goods including working with Australian Customs and other government agencies to prevent the import, distribution and sale of infringing products.
  • Copyright valuation and rate-setting - We have over a decade of experience in copyright rate-setting, actions in the Copyright Tribunal and the application of royalty rates across diverse industries dealing with different uses of copyright.  This area of copyright is highly specialised and can involve complex issues of valuation and competing economic evidence on the value of the copyright to the copyright owner and user.
  • Advice and counselling - Our team has advised on all aspects of the Copyright Act, including subsistence, ownership, chain of title, disposition and assignment, infringement, fair dealing, defences and safe harbours. 
  • Clearance, assignment and licensing in relation all forms of copyright works and subject matter including digital content on websites, mobile apps and social media.
  • Moral rights and performers’ rights - Our team has run leading cases on moral rights duties and infringements.
  • TPMs and anti-circumvention - We have advised on and litigated the provisions governing access controls, anti-circumvention and their application to digital content, software and websites. 
  • Confidential information, trade secrets, data protection and privacy.  We have acted in many cases involving claims of breach of confidence, and advised extensively in relation to data protection and cyber security issues.
  • Lobbying and thought leadership - We have authored numerous articles, papers and texts on copyright law and regularly provide lobbying assistance to companies and industry groups including with the preparation of submissions and representations to government concerning copyright and digital issues.  Our team’s test cases in copyright have been studied in law schools across Australia and internationally (including at Oxford and Cambridge).
Awards and Recognition
  • Gilbert + Tobin's Intellectual Property Team won Copyright Practice of the Year for Australia at the Asia IP Awards 2014 Awards.
  • Gilbert + Tobin's Intellectual Property Team won Intellectual Property Team of the Year at the 2015 Australian Law Awards.
  • Gilbert + Tobin's Intellectual Property Team won the Milestone Asia Pacific Case for Australia and New Zealand for representing Google in its successful appeal to the HCA against the ACCC, during the Business of IP Asia Forum in Hong Kong.
  • Gilbert+ Tobin’s Copyright practice leaders, Michael Williams and Siabon Seet, are ranked by a number of leading directories and publications.

A striking feature of Gilbert + Tobin’s IP practice is its copyright group, widely considered a market leader that acts for the Australian recording and motion picture industries.

Managing Intellectual Property 2015