Copyright, the Public Interest and Content Restrictions

24 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2003

See all articles by Owen Morgan

Owen Morgan

University of Melbourne - Law School


The ownership and control of copyright are critical to the exploitation of films, sound recordings, broadcasts and other facets of the entertainment industry. However, owners of copyright should be concerned as to the extent to which their investment is protected. An issue exists as to whether the content of works should be a factor in determining whether copyright subsists. From the perspective of the content of films, this article discusses three lines of authority from three different jurisdictions that bear on the issue of the content of restrictions in copyright. The alternative approaches are: (1) that the courts may refuse to enforce copyright; (2) that copyright exists in all works but the courts may limit the remedies available because of a work's content; and (3) that copyright exists in a work irrespective of its content and all the remedies are available to a plaintiff. The article focuses on whether the public interest justifies the courts in refusing to enforce copyright.

Keywords: copyright, film, broadcast, entertainment

JEL Classification: K1, K11, K19

Suggested Citation

Morgan, Owen, Copyright, the Public Interest and Content Restrictions. Available at SSRN: or

Owen Morgan (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010

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