The CMCL Medal 2010

(L-R) Eli Fisher (winner), The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Professor Andrew Kenyon, Ms Gail Hambly.

The inaugural CMCL Medal was held on Monday 30th August 2010. The night was a tremendous success, with 60 guests in attendance to watch the presentations by the finalists.

The CMCL medal was open to final year law students and recent law graduates from Australia and New Zealand. Entrants submitted papers on contemporary issues in media law. After reviewing the submitted papers, three finalists were selected to make a short presentation before a distinguished judging panel.

The judges for the evening were The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG; Gail Hambly, General Counsel, Fairfax Media; and Professor Andrew Kenyon, Deputy Dean, Melbourne Law School and Joint Director of the CMCL. The presentations were excellent and the finalists intelligently dealt with the questions and examination of the judges.

The audience was also privileged to hear a typically witty and thoughtful speech from The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG who contributed his opinion on the legal issues raised by the finalists.

The finalists were Eli Fisher (winner), Oscar O’Bryan and Cameron Rogers. Details of their papers are provided below.

The evening provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate new voices in media law in the company of academics, leading professionals and friends.  The CMCL Medal will be held again in 2011; details will be available on the CMCL website shortly.

Eli Fisher (winner) – Scandalising the Court in Australia

Eli Fisher contemplates an obscure area of contempt law, known as “scandalising the court”, which criminalises public criticism of courts or judges. Eli criticises the judge-made law for creating conflicts of interest, and for being expanded in a bizarre fashion. He points out that the Australian species of scandalising the court has been heading in a vastly different direction from that of our liberal colleagues abroad. Ultimately, Eli makes a compelling case for abolishing scandalising the court in Australia, one that he hopes might have an influence on the future development of the law.

About Eli: Eli Fisher, in between Richmond Tigers football games, studies law at the University of New South Wales, with a focus on issues surrounding media and communications. He completed a BA, majoring in political theory and history, providing the academic background that has ignited his interest in the laws relating to free speech, censorship, defamation and vilification.

Oscar O’Bryan (finalist) Considering Hyperion v Sawkins and the protection of faithful reproductions and restorations under Australian copyright law

Oscar O’Bryan considers how the recent English case of Hyperion v Sawkins might be decided under Australian copyright law in the aftermath of IceTV v Nine Network. More broadly, his paper considers how Australian copyright law in its current state treats faithful reproductions of existing copyright works, such as, for example, a photographic reproduction of a painting, or a translation of a book from Spanish to English. Are reproductions such as these sufficiently ‘original’ in the requisite sense that copyright will subsist in them? If so, what degree of taking is required to constitute a substantial part infringement of them? The analysis suggests that application of the principles derived from IceTV to faithful reproductions of existing works is potentially problematic, thus highlighting some of the small – but potentially significant – gaps in the current Australian copyright law.

About Oscar: Oscar O’Bryan is a final year BA/LLB student at the University of Melbourne. He is also undertaking a concurrent Diploma in Practical Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Oscar is a trumpeter, and also performs regularly as a DJ. He has a particular interest in the interplay between the field intellectual property law and cultural/creative subject matter and industries.

Cameron Rogers (finalist) – Independent Games Development: Open v. Closed Source Models

Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and the Apple ‘App Store’ in 2008, developing games for the international market is more accessible to independent games developers than ever before. Cameron Rogers’ paper considers the kinds of legal issues faced by independent games developers who utilise Apple’s closed source licence and the App Store as their primary means of reaching their target audience. In contrast, his paper compares the Apple model with the kinds of legal issues faced when developing for the Android operating system, an alternative ‘open source’ model being championed by Google Corporation.

About Cameron: Cameron Rogers is a screen industries lawyer with the Melbourne based law firm Marshalls & Dent. He graduated from Flinders University in South Australia in 2006. Cameron is interested in the way we interact with media, and is particularly interested in all digital media projects intended for mobile phone delivery. As part of his practice he advises clients who release games across all platforms including DS, iPhone and Android.

Thanks to Clarissa Terry, Elisabeth Cooke and Vicki Huang for reporting.

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