Allens

Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Our experienced Technology, Media & Telecommunications legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. Our publications contain up-to-date news for industry professionals, with commentary by our expert legal teams. If you'd like to be notified when we add new technology, media & telecommunications publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

Technology, Media and Telecommunications is a dynamic area of growth, with constantly changing opportunities and legislation. For more information, see our technology, media and telecommunications pages.

Technology, Media & Telecommunications Publications

  • Focus: Privacy Awareness Week Update

    14 May 2015

    To coincide with Privacy Awareness Week, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has released a number of business resources, a Privacy Management Framework to assist businesses to comply with their obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles, and the results of its audit of the online privacy policies of 20 Australian and international organisations. The OAIC has also made some announcements regarding its next areas of focus. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Lawyer Tom Kavanagh report on these updates and how they might affect your business.

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  • Focus: GST on offshore services and intangible supplies

    14 May 2015

    GST is to be applied to the supply of services and other intangibles by non-residents to Australian consumers under legislation proposed to apply from 1 July 2017. This will include the supply of digital products and the supply of other services. The liability for GST on such supplies made through an electronic marketplace will be shifted from the supplier to the operator of the marketplace in certain circumstances. Partner Adrian Chek and Senior Associate Jennee Chan report.

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  • Focus: Australia's new Multinational Anti-avoidance Law moves ahead of OECD consensus

    14 May 2015

    The Government has announced as part of the Budget that it will introduce a new multinational anti-avoidance law into Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936. The new law will apply to tax benefits obtained on or after 1 January 2016. It is aimed at 30 identified multinationals with Australian sales agency arrangements that the Government claims may artificially avoid having a taxable presence in Australia - and will seek to subject them to income tax, withholding tax and penalties as if they did have such a presence. An exposure draft of the new Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) legislation and Explanatory Material has been released (with submissions due by 9 June 2015). Partner Toby Knight and Senior Associate Jennifer Richards outline the proposed new measure and explore its implications.

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  • Client Update: Federal Budget 2015: Start-ups in the spotlight

    13 May 2015

    With a $5.5 billion 'Jobs and Small Business Package', Treasurer Joe Hockey placed start-ups and small businesses front-and-centre of the Australian Federal Government’s 2015-16 Budget. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associates Valeska Bloch and Shaun Cartoon and Associate Tom Griffin look at the key elements affecting start-ups.

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  • Focus: Your 'Metadata' as Personal Information

    7 May 2015

    In a decision published this week, the Australian Privacy Commissioner has clarified that 'metadata' may be personal information, when an organisation has the capacity and resources to link that information to an individual.  Partner Michael Pattison (view CV), Associate Priyanka Nair and Law Graduate Leah Wickman report on the Commissioner's determination, which found that Telstra breached the Privacy Act by failing to provide an individual with access to his metadata.

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  • Focus: Digital first: Government releases alpha Digital Service Standard

    4 May 2015

    The Australian Government has released its alpha Digital Service Standard, which establishes criteria that all Australian digital government services must meet to ensure they are simpler, faster and easier to use. The Digital Service Standard is part of the Coalition government's push to deliver government services digitally from start to finish. In this article, Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Associate Byron Frost examine the Digital Service Standard and its impact on government agencies and service providers.

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  • Focus: Update strengthens legal avenues for online copyright rights holders

    24 April 2015

    Telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance has submitted an updated Copyright Notice Scheme to allow rights holders to better use existing legal avenues to defend their rights. The updated Notice Scheme resolves a number of issues that were left open when the first draft of the Notice Scheme was published in February. Partner Andrew Wiseman and Lawyer Ben Murphy report.

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  • Focus: United States implements novel sanctions regime to combat cyber threats

    22 April 2015

    President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order enabling the US Department of Treasury to implement targeted sanctions against foreign individuals or entities whose cyber-enabled activities result in significant threats to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the US, irrespective of their nationality. Partners Rachel Nicolson and Gavin Smith, Associate Andrew Wilcock and Law Graduate Alice Crawford report on the possible implications of this novel measure.

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  • Focus: Website-blocking injunctions to prevent online piracy

    14 April 2015

    In an effort to reduce the rate of online copyright infringement, the Australian Government has introduced a Bill that will allow copyright owners to apply for an injunction requiring internet service providers to take steps to block piracy websites from their users. Senior Associate Jonathan Adamopoulos and Lawyer William Coote report on the features and implications of the Bill.

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  • Focus: Federal Government passes wide-ranging data retention laws

    8 April 2015

    Telecommunications and internet service providers will incur significant new compliance costs under the Federal Government's controversial new data retention laws. Following a wave of criticism of the Government's original proposals, a number of important changes were made to the original Bill during its passage through Parliament, including the introduction of safeguards on access to the retained data by government agencies and concessions made to protect journalists' confidential sources. Partner Gavin Smith, Lawyer Brydon Wang, and Law Graduate Leah Wickman report on what the new regime means for the telecommunications industry.

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  • Client Update: ASIC highlights importance of cyber resilience

    1 April 2015

    Key cyber risks faced by ASIC's 'regulated population', as well as the legal and compliance obligations to manage those risks, are highlighted in a new ASIC report. ASIC also identifies steps entities can take to address the risks. The report marks a growing focus on cyber security issues by ASIC, which is consistent with an increased focus on this area by regulators globally. Partner Michael Morris and Senior Associate Simun Soljo report.

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  • Focus: First enforceable undertaking under new privacy laws

    31 March 2015

    Optus has become the first organisation to enter into an enforceable undertaking with the Privacy Commissioner since reforms to the Privacy Act took effect in March 2014. Partner Michael Pattison and Associate Byron Frost examine the circumstances surrounding Optus's voluntary data breach notifications, the terms of the undertaking and its significance.

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  • Linklaters Insights: China promotes innovation and development of cloud computing

    27 March 2015

    The State Council has called for local governments and ministries to develop the cloud computing industry in order to harness its ability to optimise the allocation of IT and data resources in accordance with market demand.

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  • Focus: Gradual steps towards online copyright infringement reform

    19 March 2015

    Telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance has released a draft industry code that would introduce a copyright infringement notice scheme for internet service providers. The scheme is an incremental development of existing telecommunications and copyright regulation that seeks to allow rights holders to better use existing legal avenues to defend their rights without fundamentally altering the liability of internet service providers. Partner Andrew Wiseman, Senior Associate Matt Vitins and Lawyer Ben Murphy report.

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  • Client Update: Data deal - mandatory data breach notification laws to be introduced as trade-off for controversial metadata retention regime

    5 March 2015

    The Federal Government, in a surprising and highly significant move for companies in Australia, has committed to enacting a mandatory data breach notification scheme before the end of 2015, which will apply to all Australian companies currently subject to the Privacy Act. The proposal is not limited to telecommunications service providers and will represent a significant new compliance burden and increase the overall cost to companies of handling data security incidents. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Valeska Bloch and Lawyer Isabelle Guyot report.

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  • Unravelled: A new dawn for crowd sourced equity funding?

    5 February 2015

    CAMAC and the FSI have acknowledged that the current Australian regulatory settings are hostile to crowd sourced equity funding. A recently released Treasury Discussion Paper has considered three options for law reform and what each might mean for the development of this innovative form of capital raising.

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  • Focus: A shake-up for the NBN and the wider telecommunications industry

    17 December 2014

    The Federal Government has announced new regulatory measures that it hopes will create a more competition-friendly telecommunications environment and ensure that the National Broadband Network (NBN) is rolled out across the nation as quickly as possible. Two new Government policy papers released last week set out the new measures. Partner Ian McGill and Associate Byron Frost provide an overview of key developments.

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  • Client Update: Peer-to-peer lending - a disruptive threat to banks?

    5 December 2014

    One of the things we are very interested in at the moment is how peer-to-peer lending will develop in Australia, and how it could be a disruptive threat to banks. We're not the only people who are interested though. On 4 December, it was announced that a powerful consortium comprising James Packer, News Corporation and Kerry Stokes had struck a deal to take a 25 per cent stake in SocietyOne. SocietyOne was launched in 2012 as Australia's first peer-to-peer lending platform and also counts Westpac as one of its early stage investors. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associates Matt Vitins and Andrew Edington and Lawyer Michael Beaconsfield report on peer-to-peer lending, and how it is regulated in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: Bank technology failures: A new frontier for regulatory intervention?

    3 December 2014

    The UK's regulatory authorities have imposed the largest ever fines in Europe for technology failures in the financial services industry following a serious IT incident affecting more than 6.5 million customers in the UK. It should serve as a cautionary tale for Australian financial institutions.

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  • Focus: Privacy Commissioner reports on Department of Immigration and Border Protection's data breach

    13 November 2014

    The Australian Privacy Commissioner has released a report into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection having breached the privacy of asylum seekers in February 2014. Partner Michael Pattison and Associate Priyanka Nair report on the Commissioner's findings and the lessons for all organisations on taking 'reasonable steps' to protect the personal information which they hold.

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  • Focus: ALRC Final Report: 'Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era'

    10 September 2014

    The Australian Law Reform Commission has released its long-anticipated final report on serious invasions of privacy. The report proposes that a new statutory cause of action be implemented in a new stand-alone Commonwealth Act. If adopted, the proposal would have far reaching ramifications for investigative journalism in Australia and could also raise the spectre of class actions being brought against companies that have deliberately or recklessly mishandled their customers' personal information. Partner Gavin Smith, and Lawyers William Coote and Brydon Wang assess the proposal and its consequences.

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  • Focus: ATO rules on Bitcoin - not enough purchase to be money

    28 August 2014

    The Australian Tax Office has released draft rulings stating their view that the digital currency, Bitcoin, is property and not money. Partner Gavin Smith, Associate David Rountree and Associate Tom Tian consider the potential consequences for Australian businesses using Bitcoin.

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  • Client Update: Anti-corruption reforms: a view from the B20 Australia

    25 July 2014

    Anti-corruption was high on the agenda at the B20 Australia summit recently held in Sydney. Allens Partner Rachel Nicolson, a director of the UN Global Compact Network Australia and convenor of its Anti-Corruption Leadership Group, attended the summit and provides an overview of the issues discussed.

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  • Focus: Media control and ownership: (re)starting the discussion

    13 June 2014

    A policy background paper on media control and ownership, released by the federal Department of Communications, aims to restart the discussion on media law reform. The paper does not draw conclusions or make recommendations, but adopts a deregulatory tone. Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Matt Vitins and Law Graduate Ben Murphy report.

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  • Client Update: Foreign investment changes in Indonesia

    27 May 2014

    Some Indonesian business sectors are closed to foreign investment, while others are subject to foreign ownership limits. There have been some changes to these foreign investment restrictions under Indonesia's widely anticipated revised Negative Investment List, which became effective on 24 April. The revisions reflect the intention of the Indonesian Government to prepare for a more open economy whilst preserving certain sectors for domestic investment. Overall, there has been a liberalising trend, with a number of sectors becoming more open for foreign investment. However, there are now some business sectors that are subject to foreign investment limits for the first time, some that have become subject to increased foreign ownership limits and some that have become closed to foreign investment altogether.

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  • Focus: The ramifications of a Facebook rant

    22 May 2014

    The Full Court of the Federal Court recently handed down its decisions on an appeal that highlights the dangers of making unsubstantiated social media comments. Partner Miriam Stiel and Lawyer Tracy Lu report on a long-running dispute where the court found personal Facebook posts constituted misleading or deceptive conduct.

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  • Focus: Seeing red over yellow

    5 May 2014

    The difficulty of registering a colour mark or word mark denoting a colour (that include issues of market place recognition) was highlighted by a recent set of appeals revolving around the use of the word 'Yellow' in a tussle between various business directory goods and service providers. Partner Sarah Matheson and Lawyer Tracy Lu report on a decision that provides some useful clarification on this complex issue.

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  • Focus: Productivity Commission - third party litigation funding and contingency fees

    17 April 2014

    The Productivity Commission's draft report on its inquiry into Australia's system of civil dispute resolution has now been released. The comprehensive review focuses on ways to constrain costs and promote access to justice. One of the areas the Productivity Commission is examining is Australia's private funding for litigation regime, focusing on third party litigation funding and contingency fees. Partner Peter O'Donahoo, Senior Associate Tim Maxwell and Lawyer Simone Kaser report

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  • Focus: The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement

    15 April 2014

    Australia and Japan have recently concluded negotiations on an economic agreement which will reduce tariff barriers on the majority of Australian exports to Japan. In contrast to the recently concluded Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it does not include an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. Partner Peter O'Donahoo, Senior Associate Hilary Birks and Lawyer Anna McMahon report.

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  • Client Update: Release of 3rd Edition Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations

    10 April 2014

    The ASX Corporate Governance Council has released the 3rd edition of its Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations. Although the 3rd edition largely reflects the amendments proposed in the earlier consultation draft released in August 2013, a number of new amendments have been added that will have implications for listed entities' corporate governance practices. Partner Robert Pick and Senior Associate Hannah Biggins discuss these key changes.

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  • Linklaters Insights: Social media and the law: a handbook for UK companies

    17 February 2014

    Social media has become an established part of our personal and, increasingly, professional and corporate lives. However, the reach and permanence of social media communications have generated a number of novel legal issues.

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  • Audio: Election impacts on privacy law

    9 October 2013

    The newly elected Abbott Government has announced a range of policies that will impact upon Australian companies across a number of sectors, with potential changes in the areas of tax, climate change, infrastructure, competition, workplace relations, foreign investment and privacy law. Partner Michael Pattison, from the Corporate group at Allens, speaks to BRR Media about the impact of the election results on the technology, media and telecommunications sector.

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  • Audio: Election impacts on workplace relations

    9 October 2013

    The newly elected Abbott Government has announced a range of policies that will impact upon Australian companies across a number of sectors, with potential changes in the areas of tax, climate change, infrastructure, competition, workplace relations, foreign investment and technology, media and communications. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell, from the Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution group at Allens, speaks to BRR Media about the impact of the election results on workplace relations.

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  • Audio: Election impacts on competition

    9 October 2013

    The newly elected Abbott Government has announced a range of policies that will impact upon Australian companies across a number of sectors, with potential changes in the areas of tax, climate change, infrastructure, competition, workplace relations, foreign investment and technology, media and communications. Partner Jacqueline Downes, from the Competition group at Allens, speaks to BRR Media about the impact of the election results on businesses faced with competition law issues.

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  • Client Update: Telecommunications consumer protection report card

    4 September 2013

    The Australian Communications and Media Authority has reported that Australia's three largest telecommunications providers - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone - have shown 'encouraging' levels of compliance with the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code a year after its introduction. Partner and TMT Sector Leader Niranjan Arasaratnam and Lawyer Amy Burton report on the effectiveness of the Code, the extent to which it is compelling telcos to implement initiatives that boost consumer confidence, and the flow-on impact on the regulation of internet service providers.

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  • Allens insights: An emerging markets bonanza for Australian IT

    30 August 2013

    Much has been written about - indeed entire election campaigns have been based on - how the mining boom is coming to an end, and the imperative for Australia to diversify its economy into other sectors. The debate has focused on a predicted decline in demand for our natural resources from emerging economies such as China and India.

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  • Focus: Tipped off: the stockbroker, the client and their phone conversations

    28 August 2013

    A recently released Supreme Court of Western Australia judgment illustrates the role that recorded telephone conversations can play in the investigation and prosecution of insider trading offences. Changes to telecommunications interception legislation in 2012 increased the scope for the use of recorded conversations in the enforcement of the insider trading law. Partner Matthew McLennan and Lawyer Roslyn Stein look at the case that flags a number of issues for companies that operate recording systems.

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  • Client Update: Acceptance of class action funding reaches new heights

    21 August 2013

    The Full Federal Court signalled a new level of acceptance of class action funding when it recently required that security for costs be provided in a series of related (and unfunded) class actions. Of particular interest is the court's finding that a failure by the representative applicants to provide evidence as to why their claims were not commercially funded was a factor in favour of ordering that they provide security. This is the first time an order for security has been made in a class action that is not commercially funded and is another indication of the growing acceptance of third-party funding by the courts. Partner Jenny Campbell and Lawyer James Ebert report.

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  • Audio: TMT opportunities in emerging markets

    31 July 2013

    The world's emerging markets are providing excellent opportunities for companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sector. Allens' integrated alliance partner Linklaters has released a report entitled Generation Next: Five pathways to TMT growth in emerging markets, which looks at the five growth areas for TMT and strategies for succeeding in those markets. Allens TMT Sector Head Niranjan Arasaratnam and Linklaters TMT Sector Head Julian Cunningham-Day spoke to BRR Media about the major findings from the report, which is available at the Linklaters Website.

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  • Video: Data breach notification laws in limbo

    16 July 2013

    Legislation making it mandatory for businesses to report data breaches is in legal limbo. Allens Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector Head Niranjan Arasaratnam speaks to BRR Media about the future of the legislation and what it will mean for businesses if the laws are passed.

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  • Focus: Serving a response - just press send?

    5 June 2013

    A recent decision by the Supreme Court of WA not to quash an adjudication determination, even though the adjudicator's findings may have been wrong, revolves around issues of sending responses to an adjudication electronically. Partner Michael Hollingdale reports on a case that has broad implications for service under WA's electronic transactions legislation.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    17 May 2013

    We report on union eligibility rules; what constitutes an offer of acceptable alternative employment; the consequences of an employee's refusal of a settlement offer; an ATO ruling on ordinary hours of work; and whether a complaint about employment made to an employer can constitute a 'workplace right'.

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  • Focus: Queensland Government responds to Costello audit report

    9 May 2013

    The Costello Commission of Audit Report and the Queensland Government's response last week could transform the State's economy by recasting the way the Queensland public sector interacts with the private sector. Partner John Greig examines the main recommendations and the Government's response.

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  • Focus: New EU financial disclosure requirements for resources and logging sectors

    24 April 2013

    Companies listed in the EU and large private companies in the EU that operate in the extractives and logging industries will need to report on payments made to host governments, both on a country and project basis, under a new EU legislative proposal that is part of a trend towards improving transparency in the extractives sector. Compliance costs will be significant and companies need to start preparing now, as Partner Anthony Patten, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Raquel Dos Santos report. 

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  • Focus: Softening the investment rules in Mongolia

    23 April 2013

    Foreign investment in Mongolia fell away dramatically after the Mongolian Government last year introduced laws regulating foreign investment into strategically important business areas as well as investment by state-owned entities. Now the Government has introduced amendments which soften some of those restrictions in an effort to again encourage inbound capital. Lawyer Anthony Lepere looks at the amendments and their significance to foreign investors.

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  • Focus: Workplace Relations

    19 April 2013

    We report on the clarification of when an 'arrangement' could meet the transfer of business test; changes to the Fair Work legislation; under what circumstances a termination payment is a genuine redundancy payment; issues when seeking to stay a reinstatement order; and policy requirements for avoiding vicarious liability for an employee's unlawful sexual harassment.

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  • Focus: US Supreme Court reins in scope of Alien Tort Claims Act

    19 April 2013

    In the much-awaited decision of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, the US Supreme Court has determined that the Alien Tort Claims Act cannot be used to bring claims for alleged violations of customary international law where the relevant conduct occurs outside the US. The court remained silent on the question of whether corporations can be held liable for breaches of customary international law under the statute. Partner Louise Jenkins, Senior Associate Dora Banyasz and Lawyer Freya Dinshaw report. 

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  • Audio: Recent developments in Myanmar

    9 April 2013

    The fast pace of reform continues in Myanmar, creating significant opportunities for foreign investors. Partner Marae Ciantar spoke to BRR Media about the recent and upcoming developments in the oil & gas and telecommunications sectors, and what investors can do to prepare.

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  • Focus: Regulating interactive gambling

    2 April 2013

    In response to a final report into Australia's interactive gambling legislation, the Federal Government has pinpointed harm minimisation and consumer protection as a necessary first step before further reforms can be considered. Partner Ian McGill, Senior Associate Robert Munoz and Lawyer Matthew Tracey examine the scope of the report's recommendations.

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  • Focus: Full Court clarifies online content delivery

    28 March 2013

    A unanimous decision of the Full Federal Court means that online simulcasts of radio programs are not 'broadcasts', meaning traditional radio broadcasters will need to obtain separate licences from, and pay additional royalties to, copyright owners to transmit radio programs on the internet. Partners Ian McGill and Miriam Stiel and Senior Associate Nathan Shepherd report on the case and its ramifications.

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