Curing the Authorless Void: Protecting Computer-Generated Works Following IceTV and Phone Directories

By McCutcheon, Jani | Melbourne University Law Review, April 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Curing the Authorless Void: Protecting Computer-Generated Works Following IceTV and Phone Directories

McCutcheon, Jani, Melbourne University Law Review

This article builds on the author's recent article "The Vanishing Author in Computer-Generated Works: A Critical Analysis of Recent Australian Case Law'. That article explained how recent Australian case law has seriously undermined copyright protection for works which are substantially shaped by software such that they lack a human author. The article argued that such works, if otherwise original, should not be denied copyright protection solely because they are computer-generated. This article thoroughly examines and evaluates three possible reform options: (1) deeming authorship of computer-generated works; (2) classifying computer-generated materials as subject matter other than works; and (3) sui generis protection. This article will also explore the sometimes difficult issues these options generate.


 I   Introduction
 II  Possible Reforms
III  Option h Deeming Authorship of Computer-Generated Works
       A The Originality-Authorship Corollary
       B Definition of 'Computer-Generated Work'
       C Who 'Undertakes the Arrangements Necessary' for
         the Creation of the Work?
       D Analogous Guidance from Film and Sound Recording
           1 Interpretation of the Phrase in Australia
           2 Interpretation of the Phrase in the United Kingdom
           3 Analogising the Definition to Computer-Generated
       E Judicial Consideration of s 9(3) of the UK Act
       F Application of a Deeming Provision to Various
         Computer-Generated Works
          1 Special Issues with Respect to Multi-Party Works
       G Duration of Copyright under a Deeming Provision
       H Moral Rights and Deemed Authorship
       I Amend the Definition of a Work of Joint Authorship?
          1 Could the Definition of a Work of Joint Authorship
            be Amended?
          2 Where Authorship is Deemed
          3 Collaboration by Joint 'Authors'
          4 Non-Separability of Contributions
          5 Reform of the Definition of Joint Authorship?
      J Conclusions--Option 1
 IV Option 2: Classify Computer-Generated Materials As Subject Matter
     Other Than Works
      A  How the Scheme Would Work
         1 Define Computer-Generated Material
         2 Employ a Deeming Provision
      B Resolution of Problems
      C Classifying CGM
      D Issues Arising Due to the Breadth of the Definition
         1 Breadth of 'Computer-Generated Material'
         2 Potential for Overlap between CGM and Other
           Subject Matter
         3 Computer-Generated Material Compared to
           Existing Part IV Subject Matter
      E Exclusive Rights
      F Ownership
      G International Obligations and Constitutionality
      H Duration
      I Conclusions--Option 2
 V Option 3: Sui Generis Protection
    A Subsistence Criterion--Substantial Investment in Obtaining,
      Verifying, or Presenting the Contents of a Database
         1 Substantial Investment
         2 Obtaining, Verifying or Presenting the Contents
    B Who Makes and Owns CGM?
    C Exclusive Rights
    D Duration
    E Exceptions
    F Overlap
    G Constitutionality
    H A Registration System?
    I Conclusions--Option 3
 VI Conclusion


In an earlier article (hereafter, 'Part I') (1) the author discussed how IceTV Pry Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pry Ltd ('IceTV'), (2) Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Co Pry Ltd ('Phone Directories') (3) and Acohs Pty Ltd v Ucorp Pry Ltd ('Acohs') (4) seriously diminish, if not eliminate, copyright protection in computer-generated material ('CGM') which is substantially shaped by software. IceTV warned of 'new challenges in relation to the paradigm of an individual author's which particularly affect computer-generated productions such as large, complex databases and compilations, multi-authored productions, autonomously generated art and literature, and productions where it is practically impossible to identify the human authors.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Curing the Authorless Void: Protecting Computer-Generated Works Following IceTV and Phone Directories


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?