[talk-au] Copyright in Australia (Was: Tagging questions)

Ian Sergeant isergean at hih.com.au
Tue Feb 12 23:56:25 GMT 2008

"mattwhite at iinet.net.au" <mattwhite at iinet.net.au> wrote on 13/02/2008
10:05:26 AM:

> The Australian situation seems to be unique - a combination of some
> unique, potentially restrictive, copyright rulings, coupled with
> massive area and large numbers of seldom travelled tracks with no
> street signs leaves those of us trying to map the rural areas in a
> bit of a bind.

(To continue our academic discussion!)

I don't think the copyright situation is more restrictive in Australia than
in the UK.

The UK has much the same copyright law, many of the same precedents, and in
addition to this explicitly recognises a database right in their copyright
legislation.  It could be argued that even if using a street directory for
a list of names was legal in Australia, the servers being located in the UK
may breach UK law.

Now in the US, of course, there is no database right, no copyright on
database on facts.


If you are interested in this stuff, have a read of the IceTV judgement at


The IceTV case concerned the production of a TV guide to rival the Channel
Nine produced one.  IceTV won that case, and Channel Nine were relying
heavily on Desktop Marketing v Telstra as the basis for their arguments.
There are some parallels with OSM.  Copyright was held to subsist in the
Channel Nine TV guide - the substantial effort involved etc.  IceTV
generated their own guide, initally by watching TV for a month straight and
recording all the programs "the torture period" - as it is called in the
case.  Subsequently, they made amendments by consulting the yahoo TV guide,
amoungst other things, looking for changes to the weekly schedule.  The
amending of the IceTV guide based on this was not held to be an
infringement of Nine's copyright in the original guide (even though their
copyright did subsist in the aggregated guide released by yahoo).

The somewhat unhelpful conclusion reached, was that each case turns on its
own facts, and has to be tested by the nature and extent of what was


Next time you are driving across that remote forest road, consider how
lucky you are to be working on OSM rather than the Open TV Guide project.


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