Copyright Laws

Computer software, data and information is easily copied, and the copy is identical to the original. This is not the case with most other products. As a consequence special amendments to the Copyright Act have been enacted:

  • One copy made be made for backup purposes.
  • All copies must be destroyed if the is sold or otherwise transferred.
  • Decompilation or reverse engineering is not permitted. The only exception being to understand the operation of the software in order to interface other software products.

In regards to compilations of information (such as collected statistics and databases of information):

  • The information itself is not covered.
  • There must have been sufficient intellectual effort used to select and arrange the information; or
  • The author must have performed sufficient work or incurred sufficient expense to gather the information even though there was no creativity involved.

Consider the following:

  1. An employee takes a copy of a customer database with them when they leave.
  2. A friend gives you a copy of a computer game they got for Christmas.
  3. You create a digital phone book using name, address and phone numbers downloaded from Telstra’s white pages website.

DISCUSS the implications, in terms of Copyright Law, for each of the above scenarios.


About Liam Dunphy
I am the Learning Leader for TAS at NBCS. I teach Stage 6 IPT & SDD, Stage 5 IST, Stage 4 Technology. I lead a team that is changing pedagogy to provide student-based personalised learning opportunities in innovative learning spaces.

4 Responses to Copyright Laws

  1. andrewriis says:

    I think that for all of the things listed, it is illegal.

    For the 1st one, one copy may be made for backup purposes, but in this case it is not backup purposes (illegal)

    For the 2nd one, all copies must be destroyed if the software is sold or otherwise transferred (illegal)

    For the 3rd one, this is reverse engineering (illegal)

  2. 5 out of 2 users using a system are in fact using the system they are using, they are not however doing the antithesis of what they are doing.

  3. coster96 says:

    1. What the employee is doing is illegal as those customers were not his but rather were the companies.
    2. Though it is unlawful to accept the video game, I probably would but, I would be wary of viruses and the like.
    3. If the person is taking a couple of the numbers is ok but, what the person is doing in this example is reverse engineering which is illegal.

  4. 15ea says:

    “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” — Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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