The Australian Federal Court’s recent decision in Universal Music v Palmer, in which Mr Palmer was ordered to pay AU$1.5 million for his unauthorised use of the song We’re Not Gonna Take It, reaffirms that the Court is prepared to award significant financial remedies to intellectual property owners whose rights are infringed.

Key takeaways

  • The $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in additional damages awarded against Mr Palmer reaffirms that the Court will award additional damages in an amount appropriate to punish and deter serious infringements of intellectual property, even where that award dwarfs the actual loss suffered by the rights owner and the amount of compensatory damages awarded.
  • A party’s response to allegations of copyright infringement and their conduct after the original infringement, including the manner in which they conduct their defence to the proceedings, have critical implications for the assessment of additional damages.
  • Damages on the basis of the “user principle”, or hypothetical licence fee, are available for copyright infringement in Australia, even when the parties would not have agreed on an actual licence. This appears to resolve any lingering uncertainty on this issue following the 2007 Full Court decision in Aristocrat.

Click here to read our full analysis of the important aspects of this decision on our website.

Sue Gilchrist
Sue Gilchrist
Head of IP - Australia, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5221
Rebekah Gay
Rebekah Gay
Partner, Joint Global Head of IP, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5242
Aaron Hayward
Aaron Hayward
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5739