Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, University of New South Wales
Unlocking IP research projectNew models for sharing and trading intellectual property
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Australian Research Council

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(principal industry supporter)

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Baker & McKenzie
(founding sponsor)

IBM Australia

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Linux Australia




Technology Creating Commons’

This position is being advertised late January 2006,
applications due 17 February.


A research team led by Professor Graham Greenleaf (co-director of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), and the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at UNSW) has an ARC Linkage Grant for a project entitled “Unlocking IP: Expanding public rights and the public domain in Australian copyright” (LP0562485). This three-year multi-disciplinary project is based within the Faculty of Law at UNSW. There are two APA(I) PhD research positions; the second is the subject of this document. The successful candidate must enrol in the PhD in early 2006.

(See requirements below for details of the research focus.)

Although copyright law and practice is usually seen as concerning private (proprietary) rights in works, public rights and the public domain are of vital importance to both innovation and democracy. The expression ‘the tragedy of the commons’ has summarised the assumption that private property rights were necessary for efficient or even sustainable, resource management. More recent research suggests that under certain circumstances, public or common property regimes are sustainable and some resources cannot be allocated efficiently by markets, and are better shared by institutional arrangements based on commons.

Finding ways to expand the creation and use of public rights, to enhance innovative and public discourse, particularly in the Australian context, is at the heart of research project.

There are four main topics of the proposed research (the last two of which are the focus of this APAI’s work):
  • Analysing public rights – theory and taxonomy
  • Licences involving public rights – consistency, simplicity, effectiveness, implications
  • Finding works with public rights more effectively
  • Incentives and requirements to expand public use rights
There is a background paper with more detail at:

The participants in this project include many of Australia’s leading academic researchers in intellectual property law; industry partners in the software, IT, educational licensing and content field; and authors of the key local licences in this field. The successful applicant will spend some of their time working with these participants.


Applicants for this position must:


    • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen;
    • hold a relevant degree in information science or IT preferably with first class honours, or with other indications of capacity to work at equivalent level, such as at least second class honours and/or significant research experience in industry;
    • not have completed a PhD or its equivalent


    • have some knowledge of law, in particular intellectual property or copyright, although this is advantageous but not essential;


The award will be provided for three years
  • An annual, tax-free stipend of $26,000 will be provided each year.
  • Other allowances including relocation expenses and thesis allowance will be payable. The student may also receive some financial support for research travels and conference presentation.
  • The APAI recipient will be exempted from HECS charges (this is not part of the ARC package, it is under the Research Training Scheme).
Proposed supervisors include Professor Graham Greenleaf from UNSW, co-director of AustLII. Industry advisors with experience in software platforms for commons-based production, resource discovery and licensing, and in the business models which support the key transactions in this domain will be available for support and collaboration. See also the background paper for the other relevant investigators.


The successful applicant must:
  • write a thesis in an area relating to the theme of ‘Technology Creating Commons’. This will involve an analysis of the current and proposed technical measures which will most effectively support the creation and sustainability of copyright commons (including open content, software and standards) in the context of Australian law, culture and business practices. Areas for examination will include incentives and mechanisms to create commons, discovery mechanisms for resource identification and location, and their inter-relationships.
  • commence full-time study in a UNSW Law or IT PhD Program in Session 1, 2006. (Please contact us if you are only able to start session 2.)


Interested persons should read the background material and contact:

David Vaile (Unlocking IP project manager)
Executive Director,
Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, UNSW
Sydney NSW 2052
Tel: 02-9385 3589, Fax: 9385 1778,
Email: d.vaile [at]

Applications should be received by 17 February 2006 and must be accompanied by the “Australian Postgraduate Award Industry Application Form” attached to this electronic document or at

About UNSW

UNSW Law Faculty is one of the pre-eminent Law Faculties in Australia with over 2000 students enrolled each semester in 9 major programs in the Law School involving more than 20 Intellectual Property, IT and Communications specialist courses, as well as significant research activity. < >

About the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre (CyberLPC)

The CyberLPC at UNSW provides a focus for research, public interest advocacy and education on issues of law and policy relating to digital transactions in cyberspace. The Centre's work covers intellectual property in digital artefacts, e-commerce, government services by Internet, PKI and encryption, Internet governance, privacy and access to information in digital records, to name only a few. < >

About the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)

AustLII is a joint facility of the Faculties of Law at UNSW and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia and is one of the world’s largest providers of free access to legal information. Its policy agenda is to improve access to justice through better access to legal information. Its search engine and other tools have been adopted by other free access law providers around the world. < >

(For details about other participants and research partners in this project, see the background paper mentioned above. This is version 14 of this document. For the latest version of this document see )

The University of New South Wales   UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre