2011 Kirby Cup – topic announced

Developments in technology, media convergence and the global availability of media content have, in recent months, led to the Australian Government establishing a review into communications convergence, a Senate Committee inquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme—including the effectiveness of the scheme in dealing with new technologies and new media—as well as a new Government copyright review into expanding the provisions of the so-called ‘safe harbour’ scheme. During this time there has also been some interesting copyright litigation considering whether an internet service provider had authorised alleged infringements committed by some of its subscribers. The Australian Government Attorney-General recently flagged two separate Inquiries for the ALRC. First, a review of censorship and classification and, secondly, a review of copyright. This year’s Kirby Cup topic feeds into both areas of law.


It is generally accepted that the internet has had a real impact on a variety of traditional creative industries. The internet provides a medium through which there is great potential for Australian users to infringe copyright in music and films andcommit classification offences such as selling or distributing unclassified films and computer games. How should the law respond to these challenges?

You may choose to address either classification or copyright, or both, in your response. In your response you may like to examine any of the following issues:

  • Should the law control or guide the market and business practice?
  • Should internet service providers be held responsible for breaches of copyright and classification laws or should the law target the end-users directly?
  • What are the ways in which international jurisdictions have approached these problems.

Essays of not more than 4000 words are due to the ALRC by 26 August 2011.