On 2 September 2011, Justices Gummow and Bell of the High Court of Australia refused Telstra special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd [2010] FCAFC 149.1

In order to appeal the Full Federal Court's decision, Telstra needed special leave from the High Court. The refusal to grant this leave does not act as a precedent but it does suggest that the High Court saw no reason to consider further the issues raised.

Where does this leave copyright in databases? The decision of the trial judge (affirmed by the Full Federal Court) is that copyright will not subsist in a database that is computer generated or one which is compiled by human beings that follow strict rules about the content of the database.

As we discussed in our Focus Paper "Australia: Copyright in Race Fields and Sporting Fixture Lists"2, this could have consequences for the wagering sector where the assertion of copyright in race fields and sporting fixtures remains a live issue. Indeed, the refusal of the High Court to hear the appeal in this matter will strengthen the resolve of wagering operators conducting business in Australia to resist claims that copyright subsists in race fields and sporting fixture lists.


1 Telstra had been unsuccessful in the Full Federal Court where it had appealed a decision of the trial judge. We covered the trial judgment in more detail in our Focus Paper at http://www.addisonslawyers.com.au/documents/doc-113-copyright.pdf.

2 See http://www.addisonslawyers.com.au/documents/doc-109-copyright.pdf.

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