DCCL COVID-19 Resource Centre: Issue 6
This is our sixth publication of useful resources for our clients during the current coronavirus disruption. Our previous publications are available here. Clients are welcome to raise specific issues which they would like us to comment upon in future publications.
Electronic signing and remote witnessing provisions across Australia: a “check list”
Many Australian states and territories have introduced temporary measures to allow certain documents to be signed electronically and witnessed by audio visual link. We have prepared a “check list” of the types of documents that can be electronically signed and/or remotely witnessed in different jurisdictions around Australia pursuant to these measures.
Cybercrime: Managing data breaches in Australia
As more businesses move operations online during the COVID-19 disruption, reports of online scams and cyber-attacks have increased. Our website article provides information about steps businesses may take to minimise harm in the event of a data breach and obligations that arise under the Australian Privacy Act if a data breach does occur. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website also provides helpful information about cybercrime issues.
Intellectual Property Offices continue to offer relief
In Australia, users impacted by the COVID-19 disruption have been able to apply for “exceptional” extensions of time for most deadlines arising in relation to applications for Australian patents, trade marks and registered designs (but not for payment of renewal fees). These special extensions have now been made available until at least 30 June 2020. The process for seeking these extensions is quite simple. Further details are provided in Davies Collison Cave’s website article.
In addition, Davies Collison Cave’s dedicated website page provides a regularly updated summary of measures being taken by IP Offices around the world to deal with current disruptions.
Update on operations in the Federal Court of Australia
The Federal Court of Australia is conducting hearings remotely using video-link (primarily through Microsoft Teams). The Court recently reported that judges are now hearing matters at a regularity approaching business as usual. The Federal Court is currently carrying out an assessment of its buildings to ensure physical distancing can be maintained when they are re-opened to the public. The assessment is expected to be completed by the end of June 2020, and the Court then expects to be in a position to prioritise in-person hearings where that is preferable or required.
Up-to-date information on the operation of courts around Australia is available from the Judicial College website.
On a lighter note: Parody Songs and Australian Copyright Law
As with most major global events, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous online parody songs, from ‘My Corona’, to ‘Coronavirus Rhapsody’ and riffs on The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’. As well as providing some much-needed comic relief, these songs, and the countless other parody songs that exist in the depths of YouTube, raise interesting questions under Australian copyright law. Our website article considers whether these parody songs may amount to copyright infringement under Australian law and, if so, whether the defence of “parody or satire” may apply.
Our previous publications
Our previous DCCL COVID-19 resource centre publications are available here. Links to some of our most viewed articles are below.
- Contractual obligations in relation to COVID-19, including force majeure and frustration.
- The use of electronic signatures in a remote working Australia.
- The impact of COVID-19 on obligations arising in IP agreements.
- Temporary relief measures for landlords and tenants of eligible commercial leases in Victoria.
- New tax incentives for certain IP expenditure.
- Privacy issues and the new Australian COVIDSafe contact tracing app.
- COVID-19 privacy issues in the workplace.
- The continued operation of the Federal Court of Australia, including “virtual” trials.
- Initiatives for businesses, employees, landlords and tenants implemented by the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.
- Estate planning and business succession planning.
If you have any queries, please get in touch with one of the principals in our COVID-19 Legal Resource Team:
Dr Gordon Hughes AM
P: +61 3 9254 2582
Craig Finlayson CTA
P: +61 3 9254 2716
P: +61 2 9293 1048