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Take Home Examination

Question One

Under the ‘Copyright Act 1968, Ella and Matthew have not breached theCanberra Tribune’s rights since they have not published an article of works wherein there exists a copyright. As pointed out by Davison et al. (2015, p.278) a copyright does not protect the ideas, but instead the forms of expressing the ideas. The infringement of a copyright could have happened if Ella and Matthew’s actions were within Canberra Tribune’s work copyright and the publishing was done without the permission from the copyright owners. In 2001, Australia introduced a new right to work’s communication to the audience. This right as indicated by Wiseman (2007, p.178) was offered to the owners of the copyright with the objective of enabling them to control the use of their online work, such as uploading as well as digitising of published material into the internet server. With the view to the new right, Ella and Matthew have not breached any rights since the published material was not sourced from or published by Canberra Tribune. Section 29 of the Copyright Act 1968, a work would be considered published if the work’s reproductions have already been supplied to the public.

Therefore, a breach of copyright did not happen because Ella and Matthew did not make an unauthorised utilisation of Canberra Tribune’s copyright material. In their defence, Ella and Matthew could argue that they did not use Canberra Tribune’s copyright material; and they did not reproduce their work. The remedies for the Canberra Tribune include suing Ella and Matthew for publishing information that could damage Igor Integrity’s reputation and that of the organisation. Ella and Matthew referred Igor as a ‘crusty old journalist’ and alleging that he did not study ‘Law of Communication’. Such statement can result in emotional distress; therefore, Ella and Matthew are liable for false light. False light can be described as factual implications that are untrue regarding the subject that could result in emotional distress. Aside from false information, the Canberra Tribune could capitalise on Ella and Matthew’s article that published personal information regarding Senator Sam without his permission. Clearly, they can be sued for the publication private facts regarding the senator, even though some of the facts could be true. Considering that Ella and Matthew published information about Senator Sam’s personal life, which until that time was unknown to the public, especially regarding the senator’s sexual activities, then Ella and Matthew are liable to the violation of the publicity right.

Question Two

Without a doubt, the statement given by Senator Sam’s during the Senate Estimate’s Hearing constituted a scandalising contempt because he interfered with the administration of justice. The statement clearly undermined the confidence of the public in justice administration. Given that Senator Sam had initiated a defamation proceeding in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory against Ella and Matthew, his statement interfered with the administration of justice. The defamatory, unwarranted criticism onJustice Lousie Laughable is contempt since the public confidence on fair justice is tainted. In the King v Dunbabin case, the High Court of Australia interpreted the criticism as offering the impression that the Court use its resources in order to defeat legislation where the great public significance is attached. The criticism according to the High Court was well camouflaged but could shake the public and litigants confidence in the Court decisions. In consequence, this could weaken the spirit of compliance to the rule of law. Therefore, the publication was considered as a serious contempt that must be repressed
(Pearson, 2008, p.2).

Senator Sam’s statement towards the judge was in scandalous terms, alleging that Justice Lousie Laughable will not give him a fair trial because her decision will be influenced by her relationship with Greta Giggles. The consequences for Sam’s statement will depend on the level to which his words undermined the confidence of the public to the judicial system, the audience size that heard the statement, and the level of his political influence’. In a number of countries as cited by Litaba (2003), government officials, editors, lawyers, journalists, ministers, politicians, and other influential people have been prosecuted for scandalising contempt. In this case, Sam could be jailed for a certain period of time or fined for committing contempt. Besides that, Sam could be jailed until he complies with the court order or make a sincere apology to the court and agrees to adhere to the court’s orders in the future.

Question Three

Ella and Matthew have infringed section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by using misleading ways to get enough people to view their article in Canberra-Leaks. Considering that the article could be accessed by members who had subscribed $10 per month package. In order to increase the audience they intentionally decided to offer a non-existing free set of ‘steak knives’ to the new subscribers. They breached section 18 because they used misleading information to increase the number of Canberra-Leaks subscribers. According to section 18, businesses are not allowed to take part in activities that deceive or mislead the consumers. Section 18 is applicable even to businesses that did not intend to deceive or mislead their customers. The new Canberra-Leaks subscribers have suffered damage and loss because of Ella and Matthew’s misleading actions. Section 18 clearly provides a wide-ranging embargo on business behaviours and activities, which are deceptive or misleading in nature. Ella and Matthew’s deceptive and misleading action to attract new subscribers resulted in harm through the distortion of the consumers’ purchasing choices. The misleading aspect is attributed to the promised set of ‘steak knives’ in for new subscribers which made online users to favour Canberra-Leaks, but lacks have the promoted features. As mentioned by Paterson and Wong (2014), misleading business activities can result in increased costs for the end-users since the promoted products or features does not exist as represented. Section 18 bars businesses from making incorrect statements that could generate a false impression. Therefore, Ella and Matthew breached section 18 by creating false impression about the free set of ‘steak knives’.

Question Four

In case, Ella and Matthew were members of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), they could have violated two sections of the AJA Code of Ethics; part one and four. Part one of the Code of Ethics maintains that a journalist should honestly report as well as interpret, pursue fairness, accuracy and disclosure of every important fact. It is unethical for journalists to suppress important accessible facts or providing distorting information as evidenced by Ella and Matthew. Both of them failed to offer Senator Sam a fair opportunity to respond. Therefore, their actions breached part two of the Code since they published unfair and inaccurate information. They do not depict honesty and courageousness needed by journalists while collecting, reporting as well as interpreting information. Besides that, Ella and Matthew failed to look for truth, instead, they increased harm and were irresponsible. Their article against Senator Sam and response to Igor demonstrate that they are not worthy of trust since they are not candid and genuine; instead, they are manipulative and condemnatory. They did not depict the source of their information to the audience; instead, they published a sensational and hyperbole conjecture.

Another section of AJA Code of Ethics that Ella and Matthew have breached is part four, which states that journalists should not allow any belief or personal interest to undermine their independence, fairness or accuracy (MEAA, 2016). MEAA has continually maintained that it is the journalists’ responsibility to assess their motives in order to make sure their individual emotions and feelings do not interfere with their reporting. In this case, Ella and Matthew did not respect Senator Sam’s privacy and were less robust and rigorous while investigating the sex issues surrounding the. Aside from exhibiting incompetence, Ella and Matthew reacted angrily to Igor article and Sam’s defamation lawsuit against them. They allowed their personal feelings to override their belief and their duty for responsible reporting. Without a doubt, they were not clear regarding their own motives; instead, they invaded someone’s privacy for their own personal interest. They breached part four of the Code since their actions were not for the greater interest of the public, but for their own personal interest.

Question Five

In case the common law offence existed in the ACT, Igor’s article could have been considered blasphemous since he considers ‘Anthropology’ as a religious that brainwashes the followers. According to his article, Ella and Matthew are followers of the ‘The Church of Anthropology’, which is a new belligerent and preposterous religion that brainwashes its gullible youthful followers with the objective of making a profit. Igor’s assertion somewhat depicts churches as anti-government institutions with two objectives; making profits and bringing down the government of the day.
Igor statement is without a doubt a violation to freedom of religion since he criticises how Church of Anthropology conduct its activities and also its followers. , Igor has no respect for the believers’ religious feelings by provocatively calling religious followers gullible. Furthermore, alleging churches’ main objective is to make profits is a malicious assault to the spirit of forbearance, which is a democratic society’s main feature.


Davison, M., Monotti, A. & Wiseman, L., 2015. Australian Intellectual Property Law. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Litaba, O., 2003. Does the ‘Offence’ of Contempt by Scandalising the Court have a Valid Place in the Law of Modern Day Australia? [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK «» l «Heading73» [Accessed 4 November 2016].

MEAA, 2016. MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK «» [Accessed 4 November 2016].

Paterson, J.M. & Wong, V., 2014. Fine Print Disclaimers May Not Protect Advertising from being Misleading: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v TPG Internet Pty Ltd. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK «» [Accessed 4 November 2016].

Pearson, M., 2008. Scandalising media freedom: resurrection of an ancient contempt. In Journalism Education Association of New Zealand annual. Wellington, N, 2008.

Wiseman, L., 2007. Copyright and the Regulation of the Australian Publishing Industry. In Carter, D. & Galligan, A. Making Books: Studies in Contemporary Australian Publishing. 1st ed. St Lucia QLD: University of Queensland Press. pp.177–97.