‘[T]he author of this work bravely undertook a herculean task. The book, in covering an immense breadth of frequently difficult subject-matter so compactly, but accurately, represents an immense achievement. It narrates Australian copyright law’s story from inception to the present, with the conceptual cohesion and consistent tone of an engaged and knowledgeable author. Its orderly structure, extensive reference to significant case law and effective practical illustrations enhance its appeal.’
– from the Foreword by The Hon Julie Dodds-Streeton QC
Copyright Law offers a comprehensive resource for practitioners, students and those in copyright-dependent industries. It deals with all the private law regimes within the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) – proprietary copyright, technical protection measures, performers’ rights and moral rights.
The work has a strong focus on Australian jurisprudence and law reform, and provides expositions of complex matters within their treaty law, litigious, technological, historical or political contexts. Particularly thorough treatments are given to areas that frequently present difficulty in practice, such as implied licences, title, Copyright Tribunal jurisdiction, the interface with design law and pecuniary remedies.
The work also provides an explanation of territoriality, private international law principles relating to copyright and jurisdictional attachment. This is done in a way that both delineates the limits of Australian copyright jurisdiction, and sets out the various pathways for entry into that jurisdiction.
This book represents a much-needed cohesive account of the area, in which lateral cross-cutting influences between the various topics are identified.
Foreword (Read the foreword from The Hon. Julie Dodds-Streeton QC)
1. Introduction to Australian Copyright Law
3. Subject Matter Other Than Works
4. First Ownership, Co-Ownership and Term Duration
5. Derivation and Substantial Part
6. Exclusive Rights
7. Infringement and Related Actions
8. Assignment, Transmission and Licensing
9. Compulsory Licensing, Crown Use and Collective Licensing
11. Performers’ Economic Rights
12. Moral Rights of Authors and Performers
13. Jurisdictional Attachment
14. Civil Litigation and Remedies
15. Peripheral Regimes and Criminal Law
What the author achieves is then somewhat remarkable; an up-to-date treatise on copyright law which also allows the reader to predict where the field may develop in the future in Australia. Read full review…
L Gamble of Counsel, Queensland Law Reporter,  23
Overall, I found this publication to be of excellent quality, I am confident suggesting that it would be of great use to copyright professionals, students and anybody else that seeks
to gain a deeper understanding of the development and current operation of Australian
copyright law. Read full review…
Benjamin P. McDermott, Copyright Reporter, 39(4)
Since its enactment more than 50 years ago, the 1968 Act has moved significantly from the classic structure of copyright laws. This is the product of judicial decisions and much legislative activity. The busy practitioner often will be presented on short notice with copyright disputes and needs an authoritative text to be ready at hand. In those law schools where the subject is taught to undergraduates the students need access to a stimulating study of the statute and case law. This book answers their needs. The author has an engaging literary style which leads the readers through the conceptual thickets of copyright law. The publisher also is to be congratulated for the preparation which has gone into the production of the book and its printing in Australia. Read full review…
Hon William Gummow AC, Australian Bar Review, 51, 2022.
This book shows Brennan’s deep understanding of copyright law and explains the complexity of the law in a way easily understood. The book also includes detailed analysis of key areas of copyright law. It is the best copyright law desk guide for practitioners who need to understand Australian copyright law. Read full review…
Professor John V. Swinson, Computer and Telecommunications Law Review, Issue 7, 2022.
A particular strength of the book is its analysis of copyright law in its historical context, including Australia’s copyright treaty obligations. Therefore, it is more than a recitation of legislation and case law, it is also an explanation of how the current law came to be.
Margaret Ryan, IP by Margaret, July 2022, Law Institute Journal
In his preface, Brennan notes his objective with this work was to fill a gap in the Australian specialist textbook landscape, with a focus on exposition but also offering new insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the regime of the 1968 Act. In this he succeeds. I have found the text an extremely useful addition to my copyright practice – whether to locate the definition of a term or on some substantive point, it has easily yielded the answers for which I have been looking. As Dodds-Streeton QC says in her foreword, it will prove a welcome and invaluable addition to the resources on which practitioners, students, researchers and jurists currently rely.
Virginia Morrison, Senior Lawyer, Copyright Agency Limited, June 2022 Issue 128, Intellectual Property Forum (the Journal of The Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand)
David Brennan’s Copyright Law makes a notable contribution to the study and practice of Australian copyright law. It is a completely up-to-date monograph dedicated exclusively to this now dauntingly vast, complex yet vitally important field. As such, it will prove a welcome and invaluable addition to the resources on which practitioners, students, researchers and jurists currently rely. It is comprehensive in scope and its exposition of each constituent topic is impressively thorough.
I taught intellectual property at Melbourne Law School in the mid-1980s, not long after its introduction, in the mid-1970s, to the curricula of Australian law schools. At that time, intellectual property (save, perhaps, for patents) was not a well-established or prevalent area of legal practice. The volume of litigation was modest and reported Australian cases were relatively few. Many traditionally trained Australian lawyers were barely familiar with the emergent field.
At that time, it was considered feasible to include all the principal intellectual property topics in a single undergraduate course, although even then copyright was pre-eminent in terms of volume of material, allocated time and indeed, student interest. The pioneering Australian texts were few in number although of excellent quality. In his magisterial, comprehensive study, The Law of Intellectual Property, Ricketson included copyright as a component, albeit a major one. Lahore dedicated one of his early texts to copyright exclusively. The relevant legislature was, of course, derived from United Kingdom statutes and much of the important case law was the product of United Kingdom courts.
The traditional “works” afforded copyright protection pursuant to the Copyright Act 1968 were familiar to those well-grounded in classical literature and the arts – including the letters of Charles Dickens, Prince Albert’s etchings, the plots of well-known plays and musical scores.
Even then, it was clear that copyright must imminently accommodate a variety of new technologies, whether as (despite their novel nature) types of traditional works, as “subject-matter other than works”, or otherwise. Nevertheless, no specialised technical learning was then a threshold for accessing or mastering copyright law.
The intervening decades have witnessed transformative growth in Australian copyright legislation, research, policy development, legal practice, litigation and case law. These developments were fuelled significantly, if not exclusively, by waves of technological innovations central to all aspects of post-modern life.
Copyright law has, by various means, including legislation and judicial construction, extended protection to many developing technologies.
The demanding and complex nature of the expanding technologies is necessarily reflected in the related legislation, and the now voluminous, often dense, case law. While a technological background is still not an absolute prerequisite, important areas of copyright law are now considerably less accessible to those who lack technical expertise.
Accordingly, the author of this work bravely undertook a herculean task. The book, in covering an immense breadth of frequently difficult subject-matter so compactly, but accurately, represents an immense achievement. It narrates Australian copyright law’s story from inception to the present, with the conceptual cohesion and consistent tone of an engaged and knowledgeable author. Its orderly structure, extensive reference to significant case law and effective practical illustrations enhance its appeal.
Although the field is served by an abundance of quality case books and loose-leaf services, it has lacked a comprehensive, up-to-date monograph reflecting the development of Australian copyright law. This well-structured, clearly-written, accessibly-explained work ably fills this need.
The Hon. Julie Dodds-Streeton QC
Chair, Advisory Board, Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia
Formerly: Judge, Federal Court of Australia
Judge, Supreme Court of Victoria