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Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Act 2021

Amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010
In early 2021, the Australian Government passed legislation to enact a news media bargaining code, with the purpose of “address[ing] bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, specifically Google and Facebook.” The Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Act 2021 was passed in February 2021 and came into force on 3 March 2021. It amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to place certain requirements on ‘designated digital platform services’ that make available news content of ‘registered news businesses’. Under the Act, ‘make available’ has a broad meaning. It is defined in s 52B to include reproducing content on the service, providing an extract of the content, or linking to content. Under s 52R, the digital platform...

Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019

Amends the Criminal Code Act 1995
Following the Christchurch terrorist attack on 15 March 2019, the Australian Government passed an amendment to the Criminal Code to require social media platforms to expeditiously remove abhorrent violent material and, where relevant, refer it to the Australian Federal Police. The law came into force on 6 April 2019. The law applies to social media services and hosting services, whether located within or outside Australia. It creates an offence for an internet service provider, or a person providing a social media service or hosting service, to fail to refer to the Australian Federal Police material that can be accessed on their service that they have reasonable grounds to believe records or streams abhorrent violent conduct occurring in Australia (s. 474.33). The maximum penalty is $168,000 for an individual or $840...
Court Decision

Pokemon Company International, Inc. v Redbubble Ltd [2017] FCA 1541 (19 December 2017)

Redbubble allows users to upload images to be printed on t-shirts and other products. Customers can order products that are printed on demand by third party manufacturers. The upload and fulfilment functions are mostly automated - Redbubble operates as a marketplace platform with limited prior screening of uploaded content. Redbubble requires uploaders to warrant that their uploads are non-infringing copyright, and blocks certain keywords as search terms. The court found Redbubble had infringed copyright: directly, by communicating the applicant's images to the public. While the uploader was the 'originator ... who had placed the image on the Redbubble website', Redbubble was directly liable because it 'was responsible for determining that content through its processes, protocols and arrangements with the artists.' (at...
Proposed Law

Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 (Cth)

The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 is currently before the Australian Parliament. It proposes to extend the copyright safe harbours to a limited category of other 'service providers': organisations assisting persons with a disability; libraries; archives; 'key cultural institutions'; educational institutions.
Court Decision

Supreme Court of South Australia, Google Inc v Duffy [2017] SASCFC 130 (4 October 2017)

Duffy alleged defamation against Google Inc and Google Australia Pty Ltd for search results that contained links to third-party pages containing defamatory material and extracted snippets that were themselves defamatory. The claim against Google Australia was rejected on the basis that there was no evidence it had the ability to remove the URL links and snippets from the Google Search index. Google Inc. was found liable under defamation law for publishing links to defamatory pages on third party websites, for extracting snippets in its search results, and for defamatory imputations in its autocomplete search function. Liability commenced after Google was put on notice of the defamatory material by the plaintiff in 2009 and did not act to stop publishing the material. Google could not establish that any defences applied...
Court Decision

X v. Twitter

[2017] NSWSC 1300 (28 September 2017)
This case arose because an Internet troll used a series of Twitter accounts to attack and disclose financial information about the unidentified plaintiff, referred to as X. For the most part, Twitter removed the posts upon notification. X sued Twitter in Australia. Twitter, a Delaware corporation with primary locus of operations in California, did not appear to defend the case, presumably in order to avoid waiving jurisdictional defenses. That approach backfired: the court found personal jurisdiction over Twitter, and also concluded that it had the authority to order Twitter to comply with Australian law globally. It also accepted plaintiff's assertion that Twitter could proactively block the offending content going forward. The court states, somewhat confusingly. that Twitter can do so without proactively monitoring...