The law of copyright: recovering the rationale

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Law and Justice




van Onselen, A. (2008). Law of Copyright Recovering the Rationale, The. Australian Law Librarian 16(1), 43-53.

Available here


"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public." Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill succinctly encapsulated the real or metaphorical blood, sweat and tears that are expended to produce a creative work. Imagine if another sentence was tacked on to the end of his quote: "And then your work is stolen." It is the theft of people's creative output that copyright law endeavours to protect. This article will provide an overview of the basics of copyright law. It is divided into four sections: first, a synopsis of what intellectual property(IP) and copyright is; secondly, copyright IP issues which affect law libraries;" thirdly, an outline of the key changes of the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 (Cth) which came into effect on 1 January 2007; and• lastly, a consideration of the new parody and satire fair dealing defence that recently saved the cartoonist Bill Leak who has been depicting Kevin Rudd as Tintin in his daily cartoon in The Australian.